13th New York International Conference on Teaching Chinese held at Pace University

[Source]    the Confucius Institute at Pace University [Time]    2015-06-05 15:18:59 

On May 2nd, 2015, the 13th New York International Conference on Teaching Chinese was held at the Student Union of Pace University in Lower Manhattan of New York. This year’s conference was jointly hosted by the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Greater New York (CLTA-GNY), the Confucius Institute at Pace University, and Nanjing University. Guests attending this conference included Counselor Xu Yongji and Consul Chang Quansheng from the Chinese Consulate-General in New York; Mr. Lu Shuming, President of CLTA-GNY; Ms. Wen-Tsui Pat Lo, Joint President of CLTA-GNY; Dr. Yong Ho, Chinese Language Supervisor at the UN; Mr. Cheng Aimin, Dean of the Institute for International Students, Nanjing University; Mr. Duan Yehui, Dean of the International College for Chinese studies, Nanjing Normal University; Ms. Niu Weihua, Director of the Confucius Institute at Pace University; Dr. Zhu Min, Chinese Director of the Institute; and other around 240 experts and scholars from various countries like the US, China, the UK, and Hungary.

Ms. Wen-Tsui Pat Lo and Ms. Niu Weihua hosted the opening ceremony of this conference. Counselor Mr. Xu Yongji, Director Niu Weihua, CLTA-GNY President Mr. Lu Shuming and Dean Mr. Cheng Aimin delivered their welcoming remarks respectively, expressing their gratitude to the experts and scholars for traveling long distances to attend this conference. In Counselor Xu’s speech, he highly commended the great contributions to the popularization of Chinese language by the Confucius Institutes, and spoke highly of the prominent achievements in the teaching and international promotion of Chinese language by the Confucius Institute at Pace University. He also congratulated the Institute for winning the title of “the 2014 Confucius Institute of the year”. He further expressed his gratitude to the CLTA-GNY for its continuous efforts in promoting this annual conference to be a more international and influential platform for exchange. In the context of the continuing development of Chinese economy and society and closer China-US economic and trade ties, Counselor Xu also outlined the prospects of the promotion of Chinese language. “The strategy of ‘One Road, One Belt’ will bring more extensive opportunities as well as new challenges to the development of Chinese language teaching,” he said, “Chinese language teaching is drawing increasing attention from relevant organizations in the U.S., especially the primary and secondary schools and universities. At the same time, it will become a significant platform for China-US exchanges.”


At the conference

The conference was divided into four sessions, with six panels for each. The experts and scholars attending this conference conducted heated discussions on a variety of themes, such as the development of language corpora, TCSOL (Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages) studies, studies on Chinese linguistics, methodologies and theories of Chinese teaching, international standards for Chinese, cross-cultural communication, studies on designing and compiling teaching materials, and the development and application of online resources. Some renowned experts on Chinese language education chaired the discussions and delivered their keynote speeches, including Ms. Yufen Lee from Cornell University, Dean Cheng Aimin of the Institute for International Students of Nanjing University, Dean Duan Yehui of the International College for Chinese studies of Nanjing Normal University, Zhang Changchun from Haverford and Bryn Mawr College, Dr. George Xinsheng Zhang from Richmond University in London, David Porter from the University of Michigan and Robin Harvey from New York University. In this year’s conference, a total of 97 experts and scholars delivered 79 keynote speeches, which presented the latest updates and research development in Chinese language teaching across the world. These presentations also stimulated the attendees’ enthusiasm in conducting in-depth explorations by discussing their questions with the experts.

During the noon recess, the Confucius Institute at Pace University, as one of the organizers of this year’s conference, made a special presentation of the project “Phoenix Chinese App”, which attracted the attention of the attendees. As an industry leader, this project covers all the key language points from Level I to Level III of HSK tests and presents them through a lively and interactive app. The two directors of the Confucius Institute Ms. Niu Weihua and Ms. Zhu Min, who were also the chief editors of this project, prepared a short documentary to outline the development and characteristics of this project. Thus, the attendees of this conference could learn more about the process of the project by watching this documentary on the screen. At the same time, iPads were distributed to the attendees so that they could try out this app in person. Through their visual and audio experience, the attendees were greatly fascinated by the apps’ scientific and systematic content and its novel and unique form.

In the hope of helping the attendees fully understand the development of Chinese language teaching resources, an exhibition of Chinese language teaching materials was held on the day of the conference, which was participated by several publishing houses in the U.S. and China.


Cultural performance at the conference

Towards the end of the conference, organizers also prepared some splendid cultural performances for the attendees. At six in the afternoon, the one-day conference came to an end. Experts and teachers attending this event all said that this conference greatly inspired them by promoting the sharing of precious teaching experience and knowledge and helping to keep Chinese language teachers updated on the latest development of academic research. They also hoped that they would have more such opportunities to communicate with other Chinese language teachers and discuss issues of Chinese language teaching so that they could learn from each other and make common progress.

As a bridge for cooperation, communication and sharing, this conference not only provided a platform for Chinese language teachers from China and the U.S. to conduct exchange and communication, but also promoted the multi-dimensional and sustainable development of Chinese language teaching through strengthening the horizontal cooperation between the Confucius Institutes in the U.S. and other teaching institutions. Though with a promising future, Chinese language teaching remains an arduous task. Just as Counselor Xu Yongji noted, Chinese language teaching can be greatly promoted by “making concerted efforts to further explore the common features of the way U.S. students learn Chinese, improve teaching efficiency and quality, and expand its depth and width on a global level”.


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