1.1. Research Content
The Chinese Language published by SISA Publishing House is among the series of texts specific to senior high school students, which is designated by the Ministry of Education, Science & Technology of South Korea. It consists of Chinese Language I and Chinese Language II. Its feature is that each unit has a special part for culture so as to focus on Chinese culture for learners. This series of textbooks is also what the author has used for her teaching in the senior high school of Dongjak District in South Korea. Since the ESL teaching of senior high schools in South Korea is designed for learners starting from zero with limited lessons, no specialized cultural courses are set. Teachers can only expound on cultural content involved in the cultural column parts of each lesson when teaching language points. Taking the case of Dongjak senior high school, no Chinese courses are set in the first year of high school. Though there are elective Chinese courses in the second and third years, each week has just two lessons with each lasting for 50 minutes.
This paper has a deep research on compilation of cultural programs in both Chinese Language I and the Chinese Language II. These cultural programs are organized as well. According to actual teaching of cultural programs in the textbooks and recording of students’ feedback, the author analyzes advantages and disadvantages of the layout of the textbooks and makes recommendations, hoping to provide a reference to compilation of cultural content in the Chinese textbooks at the elementary level for senior high schools in South Korea.
1.2. Research Significance
1) Know more about students’ cultural requirements, and provide a reference for the compilation of cultural items in textbooks.
Through the investigation and analysis of cultural items and cultural teaching in the textbooks, we should have a further understanding of Chinese culture that students are really concerned about and what they truly want to learn about. Our teaching should be student-centered and starts from students’ interests to make them have a desire to learn Chinese, further promote the smooth proceeding of Chinese class and also provide a reference for the compilation of cultural items in textbooks.
2) Increase emotional connection with students, and arouse their learning motivation.
In the teaching of Chinese culture, students will ask questions to their teachers when there is anything they don’t understand or they want to further know more about it. The process of asking is also a process of communication, which can increase the emotional connection between students and their teachers. Moreover, some of the content in Chinese culture can be done by students themselves. For example, it has mentioned diabolo and shuttlecock kicking when introducing Chinese colorful daily life. Students can experience these funny activities themselves so that they will have a strong desire for learning Chinese.
3) Better spread Chinese culture.
Due to some objective reasons like political systems and international political standpoints, many foreigners do not understand China but have some prejudice and stereotype point about it. Bad impressions about China from some South Koreans may lead to same view from the people who are around them and vice versa. In South Korean Chinese teaching system, the senior high school stage is the first step to systematically learn Chinese, so it’s very important to introduce Chinese culture in this stage. Importance should be attached to how to introduce Chinese culture in a more accurate and systematic way in the Chinese learning, make students have a correct understanding of China and establish an objective comment on China through the full knowledge of Chinese culture, thus making people around them have an objective understanding of China.
2. Literature Review
Lu Jianji (1990) classifies Chinese textbooks into 2 categories: the first is based on cultural programs, and its contents center on the cultural programs; the second is primarily language form-based and closely related to the cultural programs. Both the two categories are relatively suited to beginners at the elementary level. In addition, he also mentions the key to compile cultural programs is texts. It’s important to supply annotations for the implicit culture in the texts and make sure that’s reflected in corresponding exercises (Lu, 1990).
Zhang Yong (2005) considers that both students and teachers should pay attention to similarities and differences between native language culture and target language culture and make appropriate comparison and analysis (Zhang, 2005). Meanwhile, guiding students to make a comparison culturally should be taken into consideration in compiling cultural textbooks. Han (2006) finds in her teaching that some cultural content is somewhat remote from China’s social life, which has an impact on students’ study efficiency. To improve the effect of culture teaching, cultural content selected into textbooks has to be fully connected with real life.
Whether textbooks provide appropriate and effective cultural materials directly affects the learners’ study interest, especially for the beginners at their first stage. Zhao Hongbo (2005) reckons that sources of textbooks maybe pictures, newspapers, magazines, music or films. It not only enables the textbooks to be beautifully illustrated, but also digs the connecting point between students’ interests and Chinese culture (Zhao, 2005). To sum up, the scholars are of the opinion that textbooks should be provided with contents of advancing with the times as well as rich and vivid materials in the design of cultural textbooks, and also drive students to make a comparison culturally.
With respect to reaches on Chinese textbooks of senior high schools in South Korea, Shen Yixi (2011) analyzes by comparison compilation style and contents of 6 kinds of Chinese textbooks from senior high schools in South Korea, and also analyzes their advantages and disadvantages according to the principle of compilation (Shen, 2011). Instead of an analysis focusing on cultural content, the author simply conducts an analysis of some cultural elements and relevant cultural pictures.
Jin Duijun (2013) has studied cultural content of the Chinese Language published in 2002-2003 (Jin, 2013). He mainly researches the cultural column parts in the textbook and culture elements from texts according to cultural content criteria prescribed by the 7th educational course syllabus of the Ministry of Education of South Korea (The Ministry of Education (South Korea), 2009). He states that the textbooks have the advantage that cultural teaching is attached great importance and the system of cultural teaching has been established, and they also have the disadvantage of dated information and imbalanced content distribution.
Wang Kang (2014) has contrasted 4 versions of textbooks of the Chinese Language I for senior high school students in South Korea (Wang, 2014). According to the 7th revised syllabus regarding culture part of South Korea, he has studied the compilation of cultural elements in vocabularies, texts and cultural column part, and pointed out existing problems and reasons.
By taking the Chinese Language I published in 2002 by Zhengjin Publishing House as the research object, Zheng (2016) has had an elaborate analysis of vocabularies, grammars, cultures and functions involved in the textbook. She also offers reasonable advice for improvement in terms of these problems.
Piao Xuanshi (2017) researches the cultural column part in the 5 versions of the Chinese Language I published in 2014 from three aspects, i.e. cultural content, relevant cultural materials and homework design in the culture part (Piao, 2017). He also discusses the layout design of culture part in the Chinese textbooks of South Korean senior high schools, and puts forward his proposals in terms of existing problems.
3. Compilation of Cultural Programs in the Chinese Language
3.1. An Overview of the Chinese Language
The Chinese Language is divided into two volumes with a total of 23 units: the Chinese Language I and the Chinese Language II. Component parts in texts of the Chinese Language I and the Chinese Language II are almost the same. Part 1 is a leading part; Part 2 and Part 3 include 2 dialogues and texts; Part 4 is about listening practice; Part 5 is about speaking practice; Part 6 is about a comprehensive practice of listening and speaking; Part 7 is about a practice of Chinese writing; content of Part 8 has different types for each unit, including small games, songs and culture introduction in general; Part 9 is specially designed for culture column and related to contents of textbooks; Part 10 is also an introduction to culture but with settled contents on China’s cities and minority nationalities; Part 10 appears every 3 units. The Chinese Language II also includes an instruction to a Chinese movie called “Lost On Journey”.
3.2. Selection of Cultural Vocabularies in the Chinese Language
3.2.1. Classification of Cultural Vocabularies
As for classification of cultural vocabularies, this paper adopts the theory of “four-level cultural structure” universally accepted by the academic circles, that is, material culture vocabularies, system culture vocabularies, behavior culture vocabularies and mental culture vocabularies. Based on the method of quartering and according to the difference of cultural meaning contained in vocabularies in textbooks, the author has classified the cultural vocabularies into 6 groups as below: political and economic terms, eating and clothing terms, communicative and idiomatic terms, sightseeing and tourism terms, festivals and folk customs terms and literature and art terms.
1) Political and economic terms: 中华人民共和国(the People’s Republic of China), 计划生育(birth control), 毛泽东(Mao Zedong), etc.
2) Eating and clothing terms: 麻婆豆腐(Mapo Tofu), 火锅(hot pot), 旗袍(Cheongsam), etc.
3) Communicative and idiomatic terms: 恭喜发财(May you be happy and prosperous), 一路平安(Have a pleasant trip), 拍马屁(lick one’s boots), etc.
4) Sightseeing and tourism terms: 北京(Beijing), 天安门(Tiananmen), 西安(Xi’an), 兵马俑(terra-cotta warriors), etc.
5) Festivals and folk customs terms: 春节(the Spring Festival), 红包(red packet), 清明(Qingming Festival), 粽子(Zongzi), 月饼(mooncake), etc.
6) Literature and art terms: 书法(calligraphy), 太极拳(tai chi), 《三国演义》(Romance of the Three Kingdoms), etc.
3.2.2. Classification and Distribution Proportion of Cultural Vocabularies in the Chinese Language
We can see from Table 1 and Figure 1 that the eating and clothing terms and the festivals and folk customs terms account for the first two largest proportion and the political and economic terms and the sightseeing and tourism terms account for a smaller proportion in the Chinese Language I.
Compared with the Chinese Language I, the distribution proportion of various cultural vocabularies in the Chinese Language II is quite different (Figure 2). There are no political and economic terms, while the sightseeing and tourism terms account for almost a half, which indicates that cultural content in the Chinese Language II tends to introduce the sightseeing and tourism in China
Table 1. Cultural vocabularies and their classification in the Chinese Language I.
Figure 1. Distribution proportion of different cultural vocabularies in the Chinese Language I.
Figure 2. Distribution proportion of different cultural vocabularies in the Chinese Language II.
such as some famous attractions. Not only do raise the students’ interest, but also these contents provide useful information for learners who have a fancy for travelling.
From Table 1 and Table 2, it can be seen that the cultural vocabularies in the two volumes of the Chinese Language account for only a small number, of which the political and economic terms account for the least number, and the sightseeing and tourism terms and the festivals and folk customs terms account for the largest number. As a result, the two textbooks are oriented toward the senior high school students totally from scratch. And too many cultural vocabularies in the textbooks will increase their burden. Meanwhile, Chinese culture is too broad and obscure for beginners who have limited proficiency in Chinese. Therefore, the cultural vocabularies in the textbooks are mostly about explicit
Table 2. Cultural vocabularies in the Chinese Language II and their classification.
culture and closely related to daily routine and folk customs. Most of cultural vocabularies listed above appear in the cultural column part, namely Part 8, Part 9 and Part 10. The cultural column part mainly has contents of texts extended. For example, the students learn the sentence structure of “我喜欢…(运动)” (I like playing … (sports) from the text part, and then the part following will introduce the sports Chinese people like most. If the students learn numbers, the part following will introduce China’s number culture and similar pronunciation with different numbers. Part 10 often introduces China’s cities and minority culture, which adds interesting element to the class. That is why the sightseeing and tourism terms account for a large number.
3.3. Classification of Cultural Programs
The eighth revised edition of educational course syllabus in 2009 has a classification of the cultural programs as follows:
1) Programs relevant to everyday culture of Chinese people, which are helpful for understanding and expressions in communicative activities so that communicative activities are conducted smoothly.
a) Language culture: greetings, address people, etiquette in language, introduction, numbers, etc.
b) Interests and hobbies: sports, dance, music, reading, travelling, computer games, etc.
c) Family and school life: family ties, friends, teacher-student relationship, extracurricular activities, etc.
d) Food, clothing, shelter and transportation: dining, clothing, live, means of transportation, etc.
2) Social culture status and cultural heritage in China, which is indirectly related to communication and can attract the students’ attention and arouses their learning interests.
a) Socioculture: politics, economy, society, history, geography, system, traffic, minority, population, currency, language policy, etc.
b) Cultural heritage: historical sites, festivals, day of commemoration, commemorative activities, etc.
c) Art and culture: traditional culture, drama, music, film, fine arts, literature, etc.
3.4. Selection of Cultural Programs in the Chinese Language
According to the classification of cultural programs and relevant requirements in the eighth senior high school Chinese language course syllabus, the paper has a classification and arrangement of cultural programs in the Chinese Language. For ease of description, Part 1 to Part 8 are collectively called texts part, and Part 9 and Part 10 are collectively called cultural column part. In the following, a contrast is made to reflect how the texts part and the cultural column part embody requirements of the syllabus.
3.4.1. Selection of Cultural Programs in the Chinese Language I
From Table 3, there are 10 items relating to everyday culture and only 2 items relating to socioculture in the texts part of the Chinese Language I. In terms of contents of texts, traditional culture, drama, music, film and fine arts in the social culture life are not involved. In terms of cultural background, there are 9 items without clear differentiation of cultural background, 3 items belonging to China and 1 item belonging to South Korea.
There are 7 items relating to socioculture and 6 items relating to everyday
Table 3. Table of cultural programs types and cultural background distribution in texts part of the Chinese Language I.
culture in the cultural programs in the cultural column part of the Chinese Language I (Table 4). In terms of cultural content, such cultural subclasses as greetings, asking about something and seeing a doctor appearing in the Chinese Language I also appear frequently in the Chinese Language II. Compared with the texts part of the Chinese Language I, there is a major reversal in the proportions of socioculture terms and everyday culture terms in the cultural column part, which is determined by learners’ Chinese proficiency level at the stage. As the key points of exams, contents of the texts part are the knowledge learners must master. Therefore, importance should be attached to the most basic and practical language programs reflecting living needs, such as “greetings, self-introduction, asking directions, and buying stuff” in everyday culture. For beginner, this kind of language knowledge is the most important, so the cultural programs in the texts part are mainly about everyday cultural programs, which conforms to the scientific principle of compiling teaching materials. In the cultural column of the Chinese Language I appear many socioculture programs. These cultural programs clearly reflect China’s national features, and seem more abstract than everyday culture programs. From the above table, it can be observed that the author also selects population, currency, sports, and festivals which are prone to explicit culture, and that there are 8 items that are well combined with the text
Table 4. Table of content and classification of cultural column part in the Chinese Language I.
contents, accounting for 77% of all the items. Such cultural selection helps students understand contents of the texts and also helps stimulate students’ interest in learning. However, there also exists content that hasn’t been combined with the texts. For example, title of Lesson 11 is “Take care of yourself”, while the cultural column part introduces China’s festivals with local features such as Hainan International Coconut Festival and Harbin International Ice Snow Sculpture Festival. The culture column of Lesson 12 still introduces Chinese festivals. The festivals are introduced in two consecutive lessons, and it is inevitable that people will feel repetitive despite the difference of festival types.
3.4.2. Selection of Cultural Programs in the Chinese Language II
There are 8 items relating to everyday culture, only 1 item relating to socioculture and 1 item falling into both the two classes in the cultural programs in the texts part of the Chinese Language II (Table 5). In terms of cultural content, such cultural subclasses as greetings, asking about something and seeing a doctor appearing in the Chinese Language I also appear frequently in the Chinese Language II. In terms of cultural background, there are 4 items without clear differentiation of cultural background, 4 items belonging to China and only 1 item belonging to South Korea.
Compared to the Chinese Language I, the Chinese Language II has more units that differentiate culture background. Moreover, contents concerning comparisons between Chinese culture and South Korean culture are arranged with the learners’ Chinese proficiency improved. For example, dialogues in the first text of Lesson 6 unfolds centering on “Is the Bund far away from here?” with its background set in Shanghai, China; and the second text introduces subways in Seoul, South Korea. The texts without clear differentiation of cultural background have a universality. All-purpose cultural background makes a foreign culture less strange, which weakens the strangeness of learners and suitable for learners from the scratch. The texts differentiating cultural background are more targeted and it is beneficial for the beginners to study deeply.
There are 3 items relating to everyday culture, 5 items relating to socioculture and 2 items falling into both the two classes in the cultural column part of the Chinese Language II (Table 6). In terms of subclass, the contents are rich, involving China’s food, literature, art, film and national policies. In terms of combination with the text parts, there are 4 items without relevance and 6 items with relevance.
4. Deficiencies of Layout of Cultural Programs in the Chinese Language
After the text edit has been completed, the paper is ready for the template. Duplicate the template file by using the Save As command, and use the naming convention prescribed by your journal for the name of your paper. In this newly created file, highlight all of the contents and import your prepared text file. You are now ready to style your paper.
Table 5. Table of cultural programs types and cultural background distribution in texts part of the Chinese Language II.
Table 6. Table of content and classification of cultural column part in the Chinese Language II.
4.1. Existing Problems
1) Space of the cultural column is short and content introduction is too brief.
The cultural column part consists of Part 9 “I’m a Chinese expert” and Part 10“Have a rest”. But only Part 9 appears in each unit and will change with contents of the texts. Part 10 appears every three units, and its content is often simple, just introducing China’s cities and minority nationalities which are unrelated to contents of the texts. Although Part 8 “Take it easily” in the texts part will introduce the cultural knowledge, only three lessons in the Chinese Language I are about introduction of cultural knowledge. Therefore, Part 8 is categorized into the texts part. The cultural column part of each unit only takes up 1 to 3 pages, of which only 1 page thereof is related to the contents of texts. There are only several pictures and three sentences of word description, which leads to a simplicity of introduction to cultural content and is disadvantageous for the students to understand cultural content.
2) There is an overlap between the cultural programs of the Chinese Language I and the Chinese Language II.
As the advanced version of the Chinese Language I, the Chinese Language II should cover rich content by following a principle of gradual improvement from the easier to the more advanced. However, the author finds in the teaching that there is an overlap between the two volumes regarding language knowledge and cultural programs in some units. For example, the cultural programs in the texts of Lesson 7 “How can I go to the subway?” in the Chinese Language I and Lesson 6 “Is the Bund far away from here?” in the Chinese Language II are about going out and transportation. There are four lessons starting with “How can I go to …” and ending with “By subway.”, and exist similar conversations in texts and overlapped cultural programs.
3) Old fashioned cultural content.
The author has heard in the teaching process that many students regard contents of the cultural column part as dated. For instance, the cultural column in Lesson 2 “Be there or be square” of the Chinese Language II describes “three major items” Chinese families wish to possess most in different eras (they are watch, sewing machine and bicycle in the 1970s, fridge, TV and washing machine in the 1980s, air conditioning, computer and motorbike in 1990s, and house, car and flight ticket in the 21st century). These contents have a sense of history to even Chinese students, let alone South Korean students. Moreover, these contents have little to do with the texts and cannot arouse students’ study interest.
4) A lack of comparison between Sino-South Korean cultures.
The cultural column part in both the two volumes of the Chinese Language introduces Chinese culture with little comparison between China and South Korea. The only comparison between China and South Korea appears in the texts of Lesson 6 of the Chinese Language II: the background of one dialogue is set in China, and the other short passage in South Korea. There is no extra compassion between Sino-South Korean cultures beyond that.
4.2. Reason Analysis
4.2.1. Objective Reasons
First of all, textbooks are a major source for students to learn Chinese, but they cannot fully demonstrate cultural programs stated by the course syllabus because of limitation of lesson hour, lesson type and students’ proficiency level. The Chinese Language mainly focuses on the study of grammatical knowledge. Some cultural programs are included in the texts, and the other part has been optionally selected into the cultural column. However, the space of cultural column is so short that the introduction to cultural content textbooks have present is too simple and brief.
Secondly, cultural content serves for verbal communications, so they should be interesting instead of being too simple or too incomprehensible. Cultural content covers basic cultural knowledge that students have to know, such as nation, interests and hobbies and means of transportation. But there is also certain basic everyday culture that some students are uninterested in. Some culture contents we haven’t got acquainted with are seldom selected or aren’t introduced in the textbooks.
Thirdly, Chinese textbooks for senior high schools in South Korea are compiled according to the course syllabus, and it often takes several years from promulgation of the syllabus, compilation of textbooks to review. Besides, contents of textbooks shall not be replaced frequently in a short time after publishment. That’s why some up-to-date cultural elements fail to fall into the textbooks quickly.
4.2.2. Subjective Reasons
Different writers have different styles with respect to selection of cultural programs, presentation form of cultural content and relevant introduction. Chinese textbooks for senior high schools are written by South Koreans, and their understanding of some Chinese culture may be a little different from ours. Cultural content they expect to show their students has much to do with their own understanding of culture. There may appear that the writers opt to omit those parts Chinese teachers in China consider attaching great importance to.
5. Suggestions of Compiling Cultural Programs in Chinese Textbooks
5.1. Based on the Principle of Course Syllabus
Educational course syllabus is not only the basis for textbook compilation and teachers’ teaching, but also a significant standard to test students’ academic performances and teachers’ teaching abilities. Compilation of textbooks must follow the basic teaching goals stated by the syllabus and determine the place of cultural programs in the textbooks. Most Chinese learners in South Korean general senior high schools are zero-based. In the face of these zero-based learners, the teaching goals are to comprehend culture relating to Chinese people’s daily life, have a knowledge of China’s basic situation and correctly understand the difference between two cultures. Therefore, everyday cultural programs account for a large part in the textbooks, especially China’s basic, traditional and modern everyday cultural programs. All of these reserves of cultural knowledge will help students master more language knowledge and understand what they’ve learned in the process of learning Chinese.
5.2. Based on the Principle of Survey
A survey is conducted to understand needs of textbook users and provide feedback on newly compiled textbooks. Before compiling textbooks, a survey should be made to know about cultural programs in which students are interested and listen to needs of learners. The author observes in the teaching that many students get interested in China’s handicraft culture, martial arts and superstars. However, cultural content such as martial arts and recreation is not included except for one page of cultural content about paper-cut in the two volumes of the Chinese Language.
5.3. Based on the Principle of Relevance
Adding cultural content to textbooks is to allow students to better understand the language knowledge they’ve learned, so the cultural content in textbooks needs to be properly combined with the language knowledge. In the 23 lessons of the Chinese Language, there are 7 lessons on cultural column irrelevant to the texts, which is an extremely high proportion. The space on cultural column is actually short, while irrelevant part accounts for 30%. In fact, the writers can absolutely choose the cultural content relevant to the texts which have more value for learning.
5.4. Based on the Principle of Representativeness
Cultural content introduced in textbooks should be based on contemporary Chinese culture. With the development of times, people’s daily communication behaviors also change due to changes in cultural values. Some communicative behaviors dating back to ancient and modern ages may not be suitable for modern people’s communication, so cultural content introduced in the elementary Chinese textbooks should put emphasis on contemporary culture. For instance, in the cultural column part of Lesson 1 “Long time no see” of the Chinese Language II, the traditional Chinese greeting etiquette is mentioned, that is, making a bow. Even though this cultural program is worthy of an introduction, it is not appropriate for the elementary textbook. That’s because making a bow is not common in the daily greetings of modern Chinese people and rarely used in young people’s socialization.
Under the international environment of increasingly close exchange between China and South Korea, more and more South Koreans start to learn Chinese, and the number of primary and secondary schools offering Chinese courses in South Korea is also rising. During the process of language teaching, learning cultural content can not only assist learners in better understanding of language knowledge and increase of their study interest, but can also allow learners to correctly and objectively understand Chinese culture and cultivate their correct understanding of China.
 Jin, D. J. (2013). Analysis of and Compilation Proposal for Chinese cultural content in Chinese Textbooks for Senior High Schools in South Korea. Master’s Thesis, Shenyang: Shenyang Normal University.
 Piao, X. S. (2017). A Study on Cultural Sections in the Five Mainstream Textbooks of Chinese Language I for Senior High Schools in South Korea. Master’s Thesis, Beijing: Beijing Foreign Studies University.
 Zhang, Y. (2005). A New Exploration of Practices in the Course for Cultures of English-Speaking Countries in Colleges and Universities. Heilongjiang Researches on Higher Education, No. 4, 127-129.