Chinese Joint Performance Held at South Park Elementary School in Memphis, America

[Source]    Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis [Time]    2014-04-14 16:09:40 

On the morning of February 19, 2014, Chinese language teachers Li Shilin and Zhang Lei held a Chinese Joint Performance at South Park Elementary School in Memphis where they were teaching. More than 400 teachers and students took part in, thus having a great impact on the school. This event was strongly supported by the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis. Prof. Yang Yiping, Deputy Director of the Confucius Institute, and Ms. Riki Hamilton, assistant to the Director, attended the event. Moreover, several Chinese language teachers participated in as guest performers or staff members.

At 9:45 a.m. right before the official opening of the event, the school already prepared well: a cluster of balloons was hung right above the stage, which created a joyful atmosphere for the activity; two strings of red lanterns were hung on either side of the stage, which was full of Chinese characteristics; a few colorful balloons were scattered on the rear of the stage, which reinforced the rich colors of the balloons above the stage; students in front sat on the floor and at back on chairs. Students led by their teachers remained quiet and everything went on smoothly.

The first performance was If You Are Happy given by Carrie Corner from the University of Memphis. Being simple and rhythmic, this song attracted students present to clap hands, pat shoulders and stamp feet along with the music, which greatly heated the atmosphere. After the song, Carrie shared with the students her Chinese learning experience and her trip to China, and also encouraged them to continue their study of Chinese language.

What followed were performances given by teachers from the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis, including Chinese calligraphy, Erhu (a traditional Chinese musical instrument), and Tai Chi performances, all of which were warmly welcomed by teachers and students of the school. During his calligraphy performance, Chinese language teacher Wei Pengcheng briefly introduced the knowledge about Chinese characters to and interacted with students by asking them to guess the meanings of Chinese characters. Mr. Zhang Hua gave a wonderful Erhu solo performance, and then he imitated different animals’ voices with Erhu to let students guess, which greatly stimulated the students’ passion for participation. Another Chinese teacher Ms. Chen Yuanxin played Tai Chi. Her elegant postures and superb skills, to the music of distinct Chinese features, impressed people present a lot.

The teachers’ performances were interspersed with those given by three Chinese classes of the school. Children from the kindergarten sang a few children’s songs, among which the Well-behaved Little Rabbit brought joy to everyone. Their vivid facial expressions, lovely actions and standard pronunciation won the praise of Chinese language teachers. First and second graders performed Two Tigers. They wore yellow ties and tiger headwear, looking like little tigers. As for the performance given by fourth and fifth graders, first two students rapped the Chinese number song with one beating the drum and the other singing, then the whole class sang the Chinese New Year song Gong Xi Gong Xi (Congratulations) together. At the end of the song, students cupped their hands (the traditional Chinese way of greeting) to wish everyone a Happy New Year, which brought the event to a successful ending.

During the event, the principal of the school had an in-depth exchange with Prof. Yang from the Confucius Institute. Several school teachers expressed their gratitude to the teachers who organized this event and said that they felt this kind of activity was very meaningful. After the performance, the principal promised that more efforts would be made in the future to turn the Chinese language course from an interest-oriented one to a regular one.

Carrie, a student from the University of Memphis, making interactions with students of the elementary school

Children who played the Two Tigers

By Li Shilin and Zhang Lei