Growing naturally from our vision for cultivating effective communicators, the teaching approach at New Century is an integrated one: grammar, vocabulary-building, speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills are all taught in each lesson. While students can choose to focus on one or more of these areas in particular, New Century’s specialty is to help learners develop practical communication skills. Therefore even from the first day of class, students start building vocabulary while learning to hear and produce the sounds of Chinese.
New Century’s curriculum and teaching methods are also tailored for students from western countries. Unlike most Chinese universities and language institutes New Century offers the individual attention afforded by small class sizes and the New Century teachers offer more support and encouragement in areas where westerners traditionally struggle (especially Chinese characters and tones). Our primary aim is not for students to pass a test, but rather to help them to communicate effectively in the Chinese language and to understand Chinese culture.
At New Century beginning students start by studying our own Chinese Language Foundations curriculum. During this stage of learning the pinyin system is used to establish a solid foundation for pronunciation and tones. Students also begin the building of practical vocabulary and receive an introduction to Chinese characters.
Once this foundation has been laid, students transition to appropriate textbook and CD sets. Guidance is offered to help students clarify their language learning goals. Depending upon student goals, most learners choose either the Chinese Made Easier textbook series or the New Practical Chinese Reader textbook series. Both tracks prioritize practical oral communication, though the New Practical Chinese Reader track places more emphasis on the reading and writing of Chinese characters.
After completing the intermediate level books in one of these textbook series, advanced students can choose from a variety of study materials and subjects. Included in these subjects are social issues, business, medicine, counseling, development and relief, and Chinese culture and pop culture. Our focus is to equip students to be able to communicate effectively in the Chinese sphere of their choice, and we are able to adapt our teaching and curriculum to help learners reach these goals.