Establishing Routines for Writing Chinese Characters
Establishing a specific step by step routine for writing Chinese characters has paid dividends with our learners, to ensure that discipline in writing is maximised and maintained each time students write new Chinese characters during lesson time.
Follow these recommended steps to get your students on their way to writing Chinese characters beautifully!
a) Write the English meaning once at the top of the page.
b) Starting from the left handside, write the Chinese character in a grid of four squares, followed by the pinyin beneath it. Eventually, the page should look like this:
c) While students are writing, play relaxing Chinese traditional music to remind them that they must take their time and go slowly when writing in order to maintain precision. We recommend this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbcnQCHpdmE
In no time at all, even students you might perceive are incapable of writing beautiful Chinese characters, end up writing them just as neat as the example above - even students as young as seven or eight years old. Come visit us and see for yourself!
In any case, before you teach students to write any Chinese character, it is critical that you teach them what the 田字格 is and what it is for. In addition, teaching the students the difference between writing Chinese with a brush and writing with a pen or pencil is just as important as the KaiTi (楷体) font on computers can mislead students to think that Chinese characters are 'drawn' rather than written. This can even be to the point where students ‘colour in' their strokes or underline them with a ruler!
In terms of stroke order, it is worth showing them also that when they learned English, they were taught stroke order as well, see the example here:
We are not saying that what we do is the perfect formula but this method has worked very well for us so far. Why don't you give it a try and let us know how you get on?