The following is my quick-and-dirty translation of part of the English syllabus for Chinese High Schools commissioned by the State Education Commission of China (now Department of Education) and published by People's Education Press in 1993. All textbooks used in Chinese high schools are supposed to be written in compliance with the syllabus, and the English test in each year's college entrance exam is written on the basis of this syllabus.
A foreign language is an important tool for academic study, for obtaining information and for international communication... Foreign language is listed as one of the required school subjects for Chinese high schools. English is a widely used language and is also the most commonly taught language for the subject.
The goals for English language teaching in high schools are
a. to reinforce and extend the students' basic knowledge of English,
b. develop their skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, so that they have the basic proficiency in using the language both orally and in its written form, with an emphasis on reading,
c. to help the students develop the skills they need to further study the language independently and lay a solid foundation for further developing their proficiency in the language,
d. to expose the students to patriotism, socialism and moral/idiological education in the process,
e. to help the students increase their knowledge of the countries where the language is used, and
f. to help develop the students' intellectual abilities such as thinking, observation, attention, memory, imagination and association.
1. Class Hours for the English Subject:
High School Year 1: 5 hours x 34 weeks =170 hours
High School Year 2: 4 hours x 34 weeks =136 hours
High School Year 3: 5 hours x 24 weeks = 120 hours
The students are expected to be able to
a. understand classroom instructions and explanations of new language phenomena through the use of the language they have already learned,
b. understand the instructor's summary or retelling of the texts and the questions about the texts,
c. understand others in conversations about daily life spoken at a slow than normal speed and with occasional requests for repeating.
d. understand stories or discourse on familiar subjects that have no new words or with new words explained, spoken at a speed no faster than 110 words a minute, with a comprehension rate of no less than 70 percent...
The students are expected to be able to
a. ask and answer questions about the texts,
b. with some preparation, retell a text with some coherence,
c. carry out conversations using the words and expressions listed in "Daily Communication Expressions" on topics such as greeting, request, suggestion, invitation,
d. use simple languages for description and narration about topics such as one's own experience, family, class, school, a place, a person; use more than 6 sentences in connected speech, with occasional pauses and repetitions, to express oneself in a clear and fluent way.
a. can understand the materials that are slightly less difficult than the texts learned with a unknown-word rate of less than 3%,
b. can read and understand texts about people, events, culture, humanities, and popular science that have a unknown-word rate of less than 3%, at a reading speed of 60 words per minute, with a comprehension rate no less than 70%,
c. can read and understand simple technical writings such as letters, invitations, notices, notes, instructions, tables, diagrams, figures, and symbols,
d. can understand logical structure of a text regarding the order of events, time, and space,
e. can see the author's attitudes, views, and implications,
f. can infer the implied meaning based on the known facts.
a. can write with correct format, connection, letter space and punctuations legibly and fluently,
b. can take dictation on texts without unknown words, at a speed of 120 words per minute,
c. can answer questions about and retell the learned texts in written form,
d. can write simple letters, notes, and notices, fill out personal data forms with no serious problems in format, language, and style.
e. can make sentences; can write a passage of 80-100 words within 30 minutes that is clear in meaning and with no serious grammatical errors.
a) can use the International Phonetic Alphabet and basic phonological rules to pronounce new words,
b) can read texts aloud with correct pronunciation and intonation.
a) have a productive vocabulary of 1200 words and a receptive vocabulary of 2000 and a certain amount of expressions and idioms,
b) can use the phonological/orthographic rules to spell and remember words,
c) can use the morphological rules learned to judge and remember the meaning and part of speech of derivational and compound words,
d) can tell, by using the context, the meaning and part of speech of words with multiple meanings or more than one part of speech.
The students should have a good command of the grammatical rules listed in the Table of the Grammatical Rules.
To achieve the goals and objectives listed above, the following should be included in high school English instruction:
a) everyday communication expressions (see Appendix A),
b) pronunciation (see Appendix B),
c) vocabulary (see Appendix C),
d) grammar (see Appendix D).
E. Instructional Guidelines (detailed explanations of the guidelines are omitted)
1. Follow sound pedagogical principles and integrate idiological education in language teaching...
2. Focus on the development of the students' communicative competence...
3. Give due attention to all four skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) with an emphasis on reading...
4. Use English wherever possible; Use Chinese only when absolutely necessary...
5. Consider cultural factors in language teaching...
6. Students should be encouraged to take an active role in learning, but with the teacher's guidance...
7. Make an effective use of both classroom hours and extracurriculum activities...
8. Use visual aids and technology to create a desirable learning environment...
F. Examination and Test
Exams and tests are effective means for measuring the students' achievement, obtaining feedbacks about instruction and improving instruction. Both the students' knowledge about English and their abilities to use English in communication should be tested. Testing should be done in both written and oral formats. A regional test can be given at the end of the second year. The English test for the college entrance exam should be written in accordance to the objectives listed above.
Appendix A: Daily Expressions in Communication (9-21)* (* only the first two categories of expressions are listed below)
1. Greetings a Good morning/afternoon/evening.
How are you?
Fine, thank you, and you?
Very well, thank you.
b Best wishes/regards to...
Please give me regards/best wishes/love to...
Say hello to...
Please remember me to...
2. Introductions a This is Mr/Mrs/Miss/Comrade...
May I introduce you to...?
I'd like you to meet...
b How do you do?
Nice/Glad/pleased to see/meet you.
Nice meeting you, Mr/Mrs/Miss...
c My name is ...
I'm a (student, teacher, etc).
d I'm Chinese. Appendix B: Pronunciation Chart (22-23) Appendix C: Vocabulary List (24-119) Appendix D: A List of Grammatical Items (120)