In both China and the United States, social issues are a very real part of everyday conversations. Ranging from racism to holidays, ticket scalpers to college entrance exams, Chinese students and their American study abroad roommates engage in a variety of discussions on social problems and phenomenon in the contexts of both China and the United States.
Social Issues 1: 种族歧视 Racial Discrimination
Background Information Racism is undoubtedly a sensitive topic. However, this issue is very important in both the United States and China. While the United States is often characterized by its cultural and racial diversity, China is also extremely diverse (the Chinese...
Social Issues 2: 高考 College Entrance Exams
Background Information The college application process can be very different for Chinese and American students. The Gaokao is China’s national college entrance exam and is administered once a year. Whereas many college admission boards in the United States take...
Additional conversations on the topic that do not contain additional notes or information, which can be used as further examples of how people talk about these concepts in Chinese. Social Issues 1 相信不相信 Ida: 所以oh所以你们，那你你是信基督教吗还是你没有相信。 Elisa: 我没有相信因为我的父亲是，爸爸是犹太人然后妈妈。...
Task 1 Sharing Personal Experiences Task (Racial Discrimination)
Students will be able to familiarize themselves with the vocabulary and topics related to issues concerning social equality. This task could be used as a warm-up task at the beginning of this module. Suggested time for this task: 8-10 minutes.
Listen/Read the dialogues between Ted and 韩 (Social Issue 6 dialogue). In groups of 3-4, summarize the key terms of their discussion. Discuss what you’ve experienced, learned, heard of, or read about about social inequality.
Discussion questions: What are Ted and 韩 talking about? What does “歧视” mean? Is our society/country an equal society in the past/now? What aspects of our society are not equal? What has changed through the years? What do you hope our society can improve on in the future?
Directions in Chinese:
- 你认为我们的社会平等吗？我们的社会哪些方面还不够平等？你经历过/听过/知道哪些不平等的现象？现在跟以前比，有了什么变化？ 你希望我们的社会以后会有什么变化？
Sample answers for instructors:
Task 2 Sharing Personal Experience Task & Comparing Task (Gaokao)
Students will be able to familiarize themselves with vocabulary and topics related to issues concerning education. Students will also be able to distinguish the differences of college application between China and the US. This task could be used as a warm-up task at the beginning of this module, such as used with Task 1 or by itself. Suggested time for this task: 8-10 minutes.
Listen/Read the dialogues between Ted and 韩 (Social Issue 7 dialogue). In groups of 3-4, summarize the key terms of their discussion. Discuss what you’ve learned, heard of, or read about about Gaokao in China, and your own experience when you applied for college.
Discussion questions: What are Ted and 韩 talking about in this dialogue? Have you heard about Gaokao in China? What do you know about it? What was your college application like? Share your thoughts and story with your group. Use the table below to help with your group discussions.
Directions in Chinese:
2.1 听/读Ted和韩 (Social Issue 7 dialogue)的对话，他们在讨论什么问题？你听说过“高考”吗？你对高考有什么了解？
Task 3 Project and Creative Task (Social Issues 1 & 2: social equality & higher education)
Students will be able to evaluate and analyze specific issues related to ethnic inequality in higher education in the US. Students will also be able to cooperate with group members, and practice reading, writing and speaking skills upon completing this task. This task could be divided into two class hours, for instance, first using it as a main activity of a regular class to practice reading skills, and then as a homework assignment to prepare for group presentations. Suggested time for this task: 45 min for the reading for the first class + 100 min for presentation or assigned as homework + 8-10 min per group presentation in the following class.
3.1 Reading comprehension and discussions (45 min, may only use this article partially)
Read this article: “他们离开中国追逐美国梦，如今为何反对教育平权”
Simplified character version: They Left China to Chase the American Dream. Now They’re Fighting Affirmative Action. (New York Times)
Traditional character version:They Left China to Chase the American Dream. Now They’re Fighting Affirmative Action. (New York Times)
In groups of 3-4, summarize the main point of this article in the flowing chart below
Directions in Chinese: 阅读文章，“他们离开中国追逐美国梦，如今为何反对教育平权”。三到四人一组，完成下面的图表
3.3 Presentation task (100 min in class or assigned as homework)
Now you’ve learned more about social equality and higher education in both China and the US, present as a group concerning the following issues. In your opinion, what is the most striking education inequality problems today in either China/USA? First define the problem you’d like to discuss and then introduce how the problem began in history, and how it evolved. Then give at least two examples to illustrate why this problem is serious. Use the examples from the dialogues/readings/personal experiences. Finally, summarize your presentation and provide solutions to this problem, and how our society can improve in the future
Directions in Chinese: