Monday, November 30, 2020

Random thoughts: Rentention of Chinese Characters

I am quite happy with the results of my pupils. It sort of validate some of the works I am doing with them. To be honest, before the releasse of PSLE results, I am worried if I "fail" them, and also that I labour for "nothing". This article is about vocabulary. 

Internalizing vocabulary so that rentention is long term

Internalizing vocabulary, required quite a bit of time. First, it need to be taught, quiz, and read aloud. Those can be done in a day or 2. Then we need to use them in context of speaking and writing. Then it need to be repeated through different writing and speaking context.

I need to clear some of the high frequency or sight words. After which, is quiz after quiz, adaptive quiz where they are tested of vocabulary of low accuracy. 

Visualization of characters, need to encassed in a  system, after the random and creative system of learning it. For example, whenver we see a particular part of a word, it will always mean the same thing, that will help you remember the semanatics of the vocabulary. One example is “辶”,got something to do with "actions" or "movement", hence, I said this looks like a scooter, scooter moves you around. Words that contain this “辶” usually have connections to "places" or "movment". Of course, then you have to go through those words again and again, and the skill behind this is for them to make sense of the part of the words and making a story to link it with meaning on their own

Another example, is the part "古”,I told them it looks like a tombstone, I then link it to words like "故事”,story = are about people that have died, even difficult words like “适合”=suitable, which did not have any inking with "death" or "scooter", I simply said you "move around looking for a place to die, why? Because you wanted the most suitable place, to rest in peace.

The “story” does not have to be logical, in fact the more "creative" it is, the easier for it to be remembered. 

After going through it a few times, I give them a few words, and ask them to do the linking themselves. 

Not all pupils need such help in Chinese Characters, it work the best only with the weakest of pupils, becasue the Chinese Characters make no sense to them at all at the first place, and they just look like alien "pictures".  Below are some of my pupils' work, earlier in the year. Towards the end, due to the restriction of time, I simply forced feed it to my weakest pupil. I should have better planning next year. 


  1. Other examples I can think of;

    忍 = to endure hardship = have a dagger stabbed into the heart。
    忍 -上面一把刃插进心中

    Farm = 田 = feed 10 mouths
    口 + 十 = 田

    男 male = requires strength to work in a farm
    田 + 力 = 男

  2. Hi Hyom, I like your 口 plus 十。

    Do you believe that when they come to me, some of them dun even know 田,力,手?

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