The former president James Earl Carter sending a congratulatory letter
On April 16, local time, the 8th National Chinese Language Conference of America co-hosted by Confucius Institutes Headquarters (Hanban), the College Board of America and the Asia Society opened in Atlanta. The former president James Earl Carter sent a congratulatory letter to the conference and praised the sponsors for their efforts to promote communication between Chinese and American students. Xu Lin, Director General of Hanban also expressed her appreciation of Chinese language teaching’s further development in the US.
There were rounds of applause and laughter at the opening ceremony of the 8th National Chinese Language Conference.
The Chinese Allegro that was created by American youngsters, the song Foreigner Style drew cheers of thousands of spectators there. Their performances embodied the great glamor of Chinese culture, and also reflected achievements of hardworking Chinese language teachers in America.
Robyn Stringfellow who called herself “Professor Bingbing” came from Texas. She said, “I am teaching Chinese in Meggins Middle School of Austin in Texas. The course has been opened for five or six years, the number of students increasing from barely over 30 in the beginning to about 200 now”.
Proficient at English, French, German and Spanish, this American girl sold out all her belongings after graduating from college and headed for Beijing Language and Culture University to learn Chinese, in order to be a diplomat. Five years later when she returned, she became the only Chinese language teacher in the local school. Her Chinese language class was awarded as one of the three American Confucius Model Classrooms this year. She said happily that this prize would bring more teaching resources for her Chinese language class and better facilitate her students’ Chinese learning.
The former president James Earl Carter, who had dedicated epoch-making contributions in the history of Sino-American relationship, sent a congratulatory letter, and Professor Liu Yawei, Director of China Affairs Department of the Carter Center read it out. He said in the letter, “The education program of the Asia Society and the College Board is for the purpose of deepening American and Chinese students’ knowing and understanding of the world, and cultivating them into cosmopolites. Their efforts are all the more important to me, because it was Deng Xiaoping and me who opened the window of mutual understanding towards each other’s culture for our students”.
Director General of Hanban Xu Lin felt delighted at the continuous improvement made in Chinese language teaching in the US. “This year, we concentrated more on teaching quality than in the past, especially the immersion education which becomes more and more popular. Many states in America are developing immersion education programs recently.”
The so-called “immersion education” refers to teaching other courses in Chinese. In this way, students’ understanding of Chinese does not rest upon linguistic dimension alone, but expands to other disciplines. Madam Xu Lin thought that this way of education would have profound and far-reaching effects. “When students of this generation grow up in the future, they will make great impact on the Sino-American relationship.”
Xu Lin also introduced that, during this National Chinese Language Conference, more than 1,200 participants including officials from education departments of state governments in the US, principals of elementary and secondary schools, university presidents, Chinese language education experts and teachers would hold nearly a hundred seminars. They would discuss over teachers, teaching materials and pedagogy, and promote communication and cooperation between educational circles of America and China. Meanwhile, Confucius Institutes Headquarters would hold a series of activities like Chinese language teaching resource exhibition.
International Online News/ Reporter: Lv Xiaohong
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