How The Chairman’s Bao Solves Teachers’ Problem of Finding Authentic Chinese Reading Materials
Dr Hughes is Professor of Chinese and Deputy Head of the Department of Foreign Languages and International Programs at the United States Air Force Academy. She has been using The Chairman’s Bao for Chinese language instruction for around eight years. We asked Dr Hughes about the challenges she faces as a Chinese language instructor, and how The Chairman’s Bao helps to overcome those challenges and improve efficiency in the language classroom.
When you first learned about The Chairman’s Bao, what did you like about it that made you interested?
A colleague of mine, who is a Professor of Political Science at USAFA, introduced me to The Chairman’s Bao. I liked the authenticity and up-to-date materials – all the materials are based on current news articles.
What challenges do Chinese language instructors currently encounter that using TCB helps to solve?
- The availability of authentic Chinese reading materials — especially finding the appropriate levels for students;
- Increasing students’ motivation to read – constantly trying to gather interesting, short reading materials for students;
- Finding appropriate reading materials for Chinese heritage language learners;
- The availability of suitable materials for advanced and beginner language learners;
- The ability to assign additional listening and reading materials to students as homework.
What do you consider to be the top features and benefits of using TCB?
I honestly liked all the elements about the program, particularly the following features:
- Authenticity and relevance – all the materials are based on current news articles;
- Various categories to choose from;
- Filtering by HSK level – great for both instructors and students to choose the appropriate learning materials;
- Grading and testing systems for instructors – a big plus;
- Self-study friendly for students – very handy for motivated learners;
- Vocabulary and grammar lists – very helpful;
- Perfect preparation materials for the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT);
- Very responsive and accommodating staff from TCB!
In what ways do you integrate TCB into your daily work in the classroom?
We integrate TCB materials into all 2nd, 3rd and 4th year Chinese courses to learn about Chinese culture, society, and traditions. I intend to use TCB as the main platform to offer an advanced course on Chinese military studies, with a focus on the Chinese Air Force, Space Force, AF academies, and other related topics.
In a nutshell, how has TCB improved the efficiency of the language teaching process?
Using TCB has increased the motivation for students to practice reading and listening.
Additionally, learners of Chinese heritage now feel that they’ve found a good place to practice reading comprehension.
Any other comments to share?
Other language departments wish they had their own version of TCB. Spanish and French are excited about Newsdle [TCB’s sister site].