Conclusion of the Jiale Zhongwen Chinese for Families project

In 2024 the students in our Chinese Text Creation class will complete their final year after which the Jiale Zhongwen Chinese for Families project will conclude. Many thanks and much love to everyone who has been part of this journey. For those who are interested, the blogs, photos and videos below are a brief record of and reflection on this 17 year project.

Chinese: A great language for Australian young people to learn

Jude at the last Chinese Text Creation class in 2019

Jude and Lewis have been regular students at our Chinese for Families classes for a number of years. Many thanks to their grandfather Larry Owens Emeritus Professor of Education from Flinders University  (known to us as Larry) for writing this review of our classes.

I became interested in Chinese language as a result of work commitments over many years in Beijing and Shanghai. As Australia’s biggest trading partner, China is of immense importance to us and a greater understanding of Chinese language and culture is critical to us now and in the future. My oldest grandson, Jude (now 12 years old) was being home-schooled from his reception year and he needed to study a language as a part of his approved Australian curriculum. Fortunately, we found Belinda’s “Chinese for Families” (Jiale Zhongwen) which offered Chinese after school hours and on weekends. Belinda is a highly experienced teacher of Chinese language and she marries together an advanced theoretical knowledge of language learning with highly engaging classroom methodologies. With the help of the “Better Chinese” resources, Belinda and her staff provided an attractive teaching programme so that both my grandsons (the younger one, Lewis, now 8, also joined the classes) really looked forward to the weekly lessons. In fact, both boys have thrived, continually developing their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Jude is progressing through the Hanban official Chinese proficiency examinations, having achieved over 90% in both HSK1 and HSK2 (standardized tests of Chinese language achievement for non-native speakers). Lewis will begin these examinations in 2020. I can certainly recommend Belinda’s Chinese language programmes offered by her “Chinese for Families” classes.

Larry Owens, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Education, Flinders University

Dr Delia Lin , Lecturer at the Centre for Asian Studies, Adelaide University



“Modern Chinese is without doubt the best set of Chinese texts I have used over the past 16 years teaching Chinese as a Second Language at Australian universities. It is one of the few texts which explain Chinese grammar from a functional perspective in such a way that makes sense to English speaking learners. The text shows a clear progression in terms of vocabulary and grammar learning. The language used in the dialogues is up to date, natural and colloquial. The topics are interesting, making it easy to create additional materials and classroom activities around them. The online resources are helpful and engaging. I would highly recommend Modern Chinese to any institution which teaches Chinese as a Second Language. We will definitely continue to use Modern Chinese and I hope to see more and more Australian universities using it.”

Alexander Spriggs, Second Year student Adelaide University 

I love these books for the following reasons:

-The books are well laid out.

-They have colourful comics that are inviting and fun.

-The grammar is very well explained and user friendly. It makes me want to study Chinese grammar.

-It is easy for teachers to use as they don’t have to set extra homework outside the books as with other text books. Students can simply open up the book and start studying.

-The books gradually get more difficult and don’t introduce things too quickly. They cleverly build on previously learnt grammar structures and vocabulary allowing students to be reminded of things previously learnt.

 I wish they would make third year books for this series because they are the best books I have used.”

Bradley Wall, Second Year Adelaide University

“I like using the Modern Chinese book series because it helps me to assimilate with the Chinese language discourse. The books are easy to use with clear and simple explanations on the structure of the language and they provide a decent and practical selection of vocabulary to learn. The book series started by introducing me to expressing myself in the Chinese language, but now as I approach the end of Modern Chinese 1B, I see that I have slowly been learning more and more about how to think and create meaning within Chinese, much to the standard of a native speaker of Modern Chinese.”

Modern Chinese has been the First Year and Second Year Chinese core text at the Centre for Asian Studies at Adelaide University since 2013.

Discovering Chinese Pro, independent learning and the flipped classroom

Independent learning means shifting the responsibility for the learning process from the teacher to the students. The teacher’s role becomes that of coach and facilitator. Students can make learning choices and progress at different paces but this all occurs within the framework set up by the teacher.

In the flipped classroom students can learn content online and class time can be spent on more challenging activities developing deeper understanding and proficiency. The teacher can spend more time giving personalised help to individual students. As active participants in the learning process, students can also influence the learning direction (with the teacher’s guidance) and teachers can set up tasks which connect with students’ lives.

Discovering Chinese Pro is ideal for promoting learner independence and a flipped classroom model. The core content for each topic is clearly presented in each unit and students can interact with the program to hear, read, write and record themselves, while the teacher can monitor their progress online and respond to each student individually. The program provides immediate feedback for listening and reading tasks which makes it much more practical for teachers to provide genuine differentiated instruction both in and out of the classroom.

Jiongzhou Ford is keenly interested in innovative teaching practice and has a particular interest in independent learning. She adopted Discovering Chinese Pro as the core resource for her students because of the greatly increased opportunities it offers for students to take ownership of their own learning. It also opened up many new and exciting teaching possibilities.

When nearing the end of a unit on days dates (on both the lunar and Gregorian calendars), Jiongzhou moved the focus to Chinese New Year. Even though the students were at beginner level, with Discovering Chinese Pro school accounts, they could still access materials in the higher volumes and Jiongzhou selected and adapted the language from Festivals unit to suit their needs. As one of the students in the class was from an aboriginal community, she made the cross cultural focus between Chinese New Year and NAIDOC Week (Aboriginal Australia’s major festival). The students and teachers worked as a group to adapt the language learnt to describe Chinese New Year to describe NAIDOC Week activities. Students were all highly engaged in the process and produced written work of a high level for beginner students.

Discovering Chinese ProDC-Pro-iPad

DC Pro can be accessed on iPad or online