Dongdong Chen

Dongdong Chen

Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Producing Podcasts in the Chinese Language Classroom

For my Introductory Chinese II in Spring 2020, I engaged each student to create a Chinese podcast. As required, the podcast must contain (i) an interview of a self-selected partner on one of the two given topics, language learning experience and school life; (ii) an introduction highlighting the purpose of a discussion; and (iii) a conclusion summarizing the observation.
When teaching this course in the past I used to assign students to videotape a student of Chinese about his/her experience with the language. After hearing Dr. Anthony Nicotera’s presentation about his students’ generation of podcasts for a Social Work course at the DH Workshop on December 12, 2019, I became fascinated in podcasting. With some research and further discussion with Dr. Nicotera over the winter break, I decided to try expanding the assignment into a term-long podcasting project in the hopes of developing students’ linguistic competence as well as digital literary techniques.

The main objective of the work was to provide an opportunity for the student to discuss a topic with an interlocutor, either a native speaker, or a language learner. In preparation for such a real-life task, students need to think about what topic to work on, who to invite for the conversation, and how to do the interview. In addition, students must acquire useful vocabulary, and sentence structures to form interesting questions and learn sufficient communication skills to initiate a conversation, carry it over and end it appropriately. More specifically, to conduct an interview in the target language, students not only need to develop and revise their script, but also practice speaking it time and again until they feel comfortable. The course of interaction, repetition, and conversation will enable students to learn to express themselves naturally, and at the same time get to know more about others.

To my delight all students except one with a health problem completed the project, and most of them enjoyed doing the work. Having learnt a great deal throughout the process, I will integrate podcasting into my Chinese classroom in the future. This is because a project like can truly help advance students’ language learning and build their digital skills.

(I am grateful to Brittney Segura, a work-study student at SHU WSOU 89.5 FM, for her expert assistance, without which this project would not have been completed.)