The creation of an active learning context for a Chinese class

Mr Weiming Liu & Dr Ann Devitt


Research suggests that coteaching contains two dimensions. The first dimension shows that two or more people teach together to meet students’ needs. This dimension demonstrates a process of transmission of knowledge from coteachers to students and points out coteachers’ joint responsibility for students’ learning. The second dimension indicates that coteachers share valuable ideas with each other and help each other to deliver successful coteaching sessions. This dimension emphasises the importance of coteachers’ collaboration during their preparation for coteaching and their implementation of coteaching. A beginners’ Chinese course was organised at a School of Education in an Irish University. The current qualitative research study focused on the coteaching sessions which accounted for about 20% of the Chinese classroom activities. Students were divided into groups and required to conduct coteaching in turn in the form of revision. Coteachers shared leadership and responsibilities within coteaching groups. Included in the data sources in the current study were students’ weekly reflective journals and final group reports. This study explores the impact of coteaching on the process of students’ language learning, in particular whether coteaching can encourage students to take responsibility for their learning and the learning of others, and if it can help to increase their level of subject knowledge.

Keywords: Coteaching, Chinese Language, Learner Autonomy, the ZPD

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