Chinese Essay Formats

Open to:Grades 2 - 12

Prerequisites:Qualifying verbal or math score; and successfulcompletion ofChinese for Elementary Students, Advanced, Part IV or 4 years of Chinese study for students in grades 2-6, Chinese Language, Intermediate, Part II or 2 years of Chinese study for students in grades 7-12, or placement test.

Course Format:Session Based. See calendar for session dates and application deadlines.

Course Length:12 weeks (Fall, Winter, Early Summer, Mid-Summer)

Course Code: CHEW

Course Description

Description

This course will guide students in the creative delivery of their ideas in written Chinese. Students will begin reviewing vocabulary and grammar, including sentence structure, and then move on to the writing process. Activities include reading articles that require students to synthesize, determine cause and effect, and draw comparisons and conclusions. Students will be encouraged to support their ideas with specific examples. Writing assignments may include a short narrative story, a description, and a persuasive essay. This course is ideal for students with strong speaking skills who desire more practice in their Chinese reading and writing. Students will be separated by grade into two groups: grades 2 – 6 and grades 7 – 12, if enrollment permits.

Materials Required

Students will need a headset with microphone. A microphone with an on/off switch is recommended.

In addition, a textbook must be purchased for this course:

Developing Writing Skills in Chinese, 2nd Edition by Boping Yuan & Kan Qian, Routledge. ISBN-13: 9780415678896.


Optional: Although a Chinese-English dictionary is not required, it may be useful as a personal reference for the duration of this course.

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

The following topics will be covered in the course:

  • Introduction to Narrative Essays
  • Sample Narrative Essay Reading
  • Analyzing and Discussing the Elements of Narrative Essay
  • Introduction to Descriptive Essays
  • Sample Descriptive Essay Reading
  • Analyzing and Discussing the Elements of Descriptive Essay
  • Description of People's Physical Attributes
  • Description of People's Emotional Attributes
  • Description of People's Disposition
  • Description of People's Movements and Actions
  • Description of Places and Weather

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

This course uses an online virtual classroom for discussions with the instructor. The classroom works on standard computers with the Adobe Connect Add-in or Adobe Flash plugin, and also tablets or handhelds that support the Adobe Connect Mobile app. Students who are unable to attend live sessions will need a computer with the Adobe Connect Add-in or Adobe Flash plugin installed to watch recorded meetings. The Adobe Connect Add-in, Adobe Flash plugin, and Adobe Connect Mobile app are available for free download. Students who do not have the Flash plug-in installed or enabled on their browsers will be prompted to download and install the Adobe Connect add-in when accessing the virtual classroom.

Most course lectures may be viewed on mobile devices, but in some cases assignments and quizzes must be completed on a desktop or laptop computer.

04 Dec 2008

You’ve probably heard that tests are a big deal in China, and thus test prep is big business. This applies even to such “un-gameable” forms of tests as free response essay questions. But how do you game the free response portion of an English test?

Well, you memorize a number of essay templates, then just fit your essay answer into one of the templates. All you have to do is plug in a few relevant words and phrases, and with any luck, they’ll all be included in the essay topic.

Curious what these templates might look like? I give you two examples below, taken from an MBA prep course in Shanghai (mistakes preserved):

> Essay Template 1: 优缺点类

> At present, there is no doubt that 主题 plays an increasingly indispensable role in 领域/运用范围. We are all aware that, like everything else, 主题 has both favorable and unfavorable aspects. Generally speaking, the advantages can be listed as follows. First of all, (优点1)… makes people’s everyday life more convenient. In addition, (优点2)… connects its users with the outside world. Most importantly, with a…, (优点3) people’s life will be greatly enriched.

> Nevertheless, it is a pity that every medal has two sides and the disadvantages of 主题 can’t be ignored. To begin with, there will be a danger of (缺点1) spending too much time on it therefore ignoring what you should concentrate on. To make matters worse, (缺点2)主题 is most likely to add to your daily expenses. Worst of all, (缺点3)主题 may plunge you into an unexpected trouble.

> As is known to all, 主题 is neither good nor bad itself. Its effects on people depends, to a large extent, on how 主题 is used. Now that the disadvantages have been put out, they will be paid attention to and eliminated to some degree.

> Essay Template 2: 意义影响类

> We are very glad and excited that our dream of 主题 will come true/ have come true after a long waiting. People throughout the country have been celebrating the coming of 主题 in various ways and they are eager to participate in or experience in … person.

> There is no doubt that 主题 will benefit China and Chinese people in more than one aspect. First of all, 主题 will expose China and Chinese to more domestic and foreign visitors, thus promoting the mutual understanding and friendship between people from different regions and cultures. More importantly, by interacting with people from different regions and cultures, people can learn from each other. Finally, 主题 will undoubtedly promote the development of the national and local economy.

> Now that 主题 is significant to our country and the people, everybody involved should make his effort to contribute something to 主题. With everyone’s involvement and participation, 主题 will be a great success and is bound to benefit the country and the people involved.

Somehow those “generic” topics don’t seem totally generic, do they? The templates above definitely used “topics with Chinese characteristics,” and they should certainly come to no surprise to anyone who’s lived in China in the past year.

Can you imagine grading hundreds of these essays that mostly use the same templates? That would drive me insane.

For those of you that find some morbid amusement in these essay templates like I do, here’s one site that hosts more of them online. There are some slight differences in wording between the ones I have in front of me and that site, but they clearly came from the same source.


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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

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