Publication Details

Gao, X. (2017). Chinese as a foreign language: cultural components in an Australian classroom. Chinese Language Globalization Studies, 9 37-47.


Culture and language are intertwined with each other. Understanding the target language culture has long been one of the central goals of foreign language teaching and learning. However, there remains considerable scope for exploring how to integrate cultural components into second language teaching practice. This paper first reinforces the role of culture in foreign language education and language pedagogy in the international arena. It focuses on Chinese language education and the cultural components in Chinese as a foreign language class in Australia. Surveys with Chinese teachers and their students in Australian schools and universities show that the explicit explanation of cultural elements embedded in linguistic units is an effective way to enhance adult learners' awareness of cultural differences, to motivate them to continue their study, and to strengthen their mastery of lexicon and pragmatic components. Social activities and interactions reflecting cultural characteristics are most favored by school learners. This paper suggests that international Chinese language teachers should integrate culturally-embedded tasks into their teaching. Comparisons of Chinese with students' native language as well as cultural components need to be included in the curriculum of international Chinese teacher training programs.