Books - AQA GCSE Chinese

AQA GCSE Chinese – Textbook 1 is the first part of a new two-part series and is aimed at students with some prior knowledge of Chinese: in order to begin this book, students should have a knowledge of about 200 words, and should be able to write 50-100 characters. This course is aligned to the new specification of Mandarin Chinese GCSE and is written with the requirements of non-heritage learners in mind. The course covers all four skills, and is designed to increase the confidence and skills of learners. This course aims to provide everything students need to master the language; it is complete with interactive activities, cultural insight and detailed grammar explanations. A workbook and online portal accompany the textbook, giving opportunity for extra practice and enabling teachers to track students’ progress.

Everything you need in one course

AQA GCSE Chinese – Textbook 1 combines a modern communicative pedagogy with thorough grammatical explanations. It includes activities which cover all four skills, as well as activities which focus on study skills. Topics are revisited throughout the book, making sure that students have many opportunities to consolidate their learning. Wherever possible, activities are grounded in real-life situations which students are likely to encounter when they interact with other Chinese speakers.

Pinyin supporting text

Pinyin supporting text is written underneath characters to aid the student with pronunciation. Pinyin is gradually removed throughout the book, as the student’s knowledge of vocabulary increases. This ensures that the student is supported at all stages and is encouraged to focus on characters when reading. Rarer characters, such as names, are always supported with pinyin.

Writing characters

AQA GCSE Chinese – Textbook 1 systematically introduces students to 176 common Chinese characters. After completing this book, students will be able to write between 225-300 characters from memory and recognise 450-500 characters, depending on the students’ initial knowledge. Extra character practice is provided in the workbook. Special sections are also devoted to improving handwriting and study skills for memorising characters.

In-depth explanations on grammar and word use

Chinese grammar is thoroughly explained using non-technical language. The book introduces important
grammar points such as modal verbs, conjunctions and verbal complements; the book also includes notes on details of word usage, such as knowing when to use 老 and 旧. Common phrases in everyday conversation are introduced in two sections in each unit, entitled ‘Language in Action.’

Cultural knowledge

Going beyond well-known cultural icons such as pandas and chopsticks, AQA GCSE Chinese – Textbook 1 contains a wealth of information on Chinese culture, both ancient and modern. Our approach helps the student appreciate the diversity of the Chinese speaking world. Cultural sections include both famous masterpieces such as Journey to the West and lesser-known culture such as the ‘guess fingers’ game.

A global perspective

Students get good exposure to a variety of places where Chinese is spoken. Local elements from Shanghai, Xi’an and Taipei are integrated into the background of each activity to help students understand the diversity and different perspectives of the Chinese speaking world. A brief section introduces students to tips for recognising traditional characters that they may encounter outside of Mainland China.

Differentiated approach

This course facilitates a differentiated classroom by presenting a wide range of activity types, from word recognition to creative writing. Activities are categorised into three levels, marked by an icon (see below). The first level of activity introduces a new topic or structure, allowing for plenty of repetition; the second level encourages fluency and flexibility with the language; the third level helps students work on either creative or analytical skills while learning Chinese. Each unit’s ‘Putting it together’ section contains the most challenging activities: these require students to combine their new knowledge from this unit with previous knowledge. For students who require extra practice, the workbook has plenty of opportunity for consolidating knowledge in a less challenging way.

Written for the new GCSE specification and approved by AQA.

Subject content under the new GCSE specification is categorised into topics which fall across three broader themes. In order for teachers and students to ensure that they have covered these themes successfully, we have provided a GCSE Themes Finder section which shows the relevant units that cover each theme. Some themes will be further covered in the forthcoming AQA GCSE Chinese – Textbook 2.