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Concept-Based Instruction in a Higher Chinese classroom

Subject Higher Chinese
Level: Year 4
Topic Loyalty
Macro-concept System
Enduring Understanding 1) Loyalty forms the basis of any civilised and humane system of morals.

2) “Loyalty” can only be seen as a virtue if the object of loyalty is good.

Essential Questions 1)Does modern society continue to value loyalty?

2) What is “loyalty” as a virtue?

3) Is there a need for a moral basis to “loyalty”?

Curricular or Pedagogical Focus / Lens Concept-Based Instruction


Students are required to learn about Yue Fei and “Man Jiang Hong” Poem that he wrote. Through discussing the essential questions, the students will re-define the notion of loyalty in modern context.

Grouping by Readiness

Students were told to fill up the Google Form to indicate their prior knowledge on Yue Fei, a general in Song dynasty. Based on the content knowledge, they formed into groups of 5. I assigned the group leader role to students with more prior knowledge. This was the arrangement based on the understanding that there were 5 scholars from China in this class, while the rest were either not familiar with Yue Fei or had never heard of him, causing a huge difference in understanding. In this way, the group leaders acted as “mini” experts in the group and could facilitate the group discussion.

Prior Lesson

I instructed the students to read the text on Yue Fei and “Man Jiang Hong” poem that he wrote. In order to have a rich classroom discussion, the students must know the basics from the text, i.e. that Yue Fei was a general in Song dynasty and his spirit of loyalty and patriotism is embedded in his actions as well as in his poem “Man Jiang Hong”.

Lesson Hook

I asked students to think and define loyalty in modern context. To wider their perspective on the definition of loyalty, I gave a few examples of loyalty as a virtue and loyalty as a vice.

Using ISIS as example, I posed a question to the students “How is loyalty to extremists in the name of religion, a misplaced/ mistaken loyalty?” Using Kamikaze as an example, I asked the students to think, “Who should we be loyal to? The country? The government?”

Using another example, Fukushima 50, a group of men who risked their lives to battle Japan’s nuclear meltdown, I asked the students to think, “how is loyalty defined by Fukushima 50 different from Kamikaze?”

On a broader perspective, examples of Turia Pitt (loyalty to love) and Khaled Asaad (loyalty to one’s faith) are also discussed in class.

Then, I linked it to today’s discussion on the concept of loyalty and provided the essential questions for students to choose for discussion as below:

1)Does modern society continue to value loyalty?

2) What is “loyalty” as a virtue?

3) Is there a need for a moral basis to “loyalty”?

Choosing based on interest

In assigned groups (based on learner’s profile), students chose an essential question to discuss. The decision is based on interest. In groups, the students typed their discussion on Google documents and posted a link to Edmodo (a social learning platform). They are required to provide examples to support their viewpoints. Discussions are made online via Google docs and every group is given time to present. After presenting, the student audience asked questions to the presenters for clarification.


I ended the lesson by concluding the main learning points that were brought out from the discussion. Loyalty is seen as a virtue but people might be loyal to unworthy or even inhumane cause or vice versa. To judge whether one is loyal is guided by our moral compass and it could be relative. True loyalty should be a moral commitment to the well being of humankind and for the greater good.

Follow-up Activity

The students completed a self-reflection on Google document as a takeaway. The self-reflection was “In not more than 50 words, describe what is loyalty to you in your context.”

Posted by:Ms Tan Yen Chuan


Centre for Pedagogical Research and Learning (RGS PeRL)

Raffles Girls’ School

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