Thanks to our Hanban teacher I’ve just been made aware of Hello China, a terrific set of short video clips which focus on 100 key words that relate to Chinese culture. Each video clip lasts two to three minutes approximately and starts with an introduction to the word in question in Chinese, together with an English translation of the word. This is followed by a commentary in English with Chinese subtitles. More advanced learners of Chinese could pause the video to see if they can pick out the key characters and compare how things are expressed in Chinese and English.
All kinds of cultural topics are covered by the videos, such as:
- Festivals (Chinese New Year, Mid Autumn Festival, Qing Ming etc)
- Chinese inventions (abacus, compass, gunpowder, paper, printing)
- Places (Beijing, Great wall, Three Gorges, Xian)
- Food (Roast duck, dumplings, noodles)
- Dress (Cheongsam, Tang suit)
- People (Confucius, Lao Tzu)
- Animals and birds (Panda, fish, dragon, phoenix)
- Dance, Calligraphy, Feng shui, Beijing opera, Kung Fu, Tai chi
They are easy to integrate into schemes of work based on traditional topics and make for a terrific starter and/or plenary activity – show pupils the video at the start of the lesson and see what they can recall. They could also be used as a springboard for an activity such as making fans or doing some calligraphy.