Chinese language education in colleges and universities in the United States has a history of more than a century and can be broken down into four stages: the Grammar-Translation Period, the Audio-Lingual Period, the Transitioning Period, and the Proficiency-Level Period. Each period was driven by a pedagogy that reflected the evolving socio-political relationship between the United States and China, and the trends in Chinese language education are towards a more communicative and holistic pedagogy.
This multimedia essay will briefly illustrate each period against the social background that affects Chinese language education and the factors that reflect pedagogy in each period. The former is reflected in factors such as the political relationship between the two nations, trends in economic development and cultural communication, and the programs and organizations that promote the pedagogy of the period, whereas the latter is reflected in classroom instruction, textbooks and teachers. This essay will illustrate the historical development based on the above aspects.