9th National Chinese Language Conference held in Chicago, the US
On April 28th, local time, the grand opening of the 9th National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC), jointly organized by Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), Asia Society and College Board, was held in Chicago, which was attended by over 1,300 delegates, including education officials, university presidents and school principals, teachers and personnel in higher education as well as representatives of international organizations and professional groups from 48 states and the Washington D.C. in the US and a number of other countries. This marks the second time for Chicago to host this Chinese language teaching symposium of the largest scale in the US after eight years. At the event, students from local primary and secondary schools performed splendid Chinese dances and songs to celebrate the great achievements of Chinese language teaching in Chicago.
Deputy Mayor of Chicago Steven Koch speaking at the event
Addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy Mayor of Chicago Steven Koch said that currently the number of Chinese-learning students at public primary and secondary schools in Chicago has already risen to 13,000 and learning the Chinese language has brought life-changing opportunities to these students.
Ms. Josette Sheeran, President and CEO of Asia Society, speaking at the event
Echoing Mr. Koch’s remarks, Ms. Josette Sheeran, President and CEO of Asia Society, shared her opinions with the delegates and made a special mention of Jack Ma (Ma Yun), the founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group. Several years ago, when she was consulting Jack for who should be selected to present an award to him, Jack gave a very frank answer that since foreign languages changed his life, he hoped that the presenter of his award should be a teacher of foreign languages.
Despite the fact that learning foreign languages can offer life-changing opportunities and the Chinese language fever is always on the increase in the US, Ms. Josette Sheeran also noticed that some students and their parents were not confident in learning the Chinese language. They also hold the view that only very smart students could learn Chinese well or only those who do business and have frequent contact with Chinese people need to learn Chinese.
Mr. David Coleman, President and CEO of the College Board, speaking at the event
In this regard, Mr. David Coleman, President and CEO of the College Board, expressed his hopes that US students could face the challenges so as to experience the joy of accomplishment brought by the challenges. He also encouraged Chinese language teachers in the US to provide students with more learning materials.
Mdm. Xu Lin, Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters and Director General of Hanban, speaking at the event
Also addressing the event, Mdm. Xu Lin, Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters and Director General of Hanban, stated that by the end of 2015, a total of 500 Confucius Institutes and 1,000 Confucius Classrooms at elementary and secondary schools had been established in 135 countries worldwide. In the US, 109 Confucius Institutes and 348 Confucius Classrooms have been established and the number of Chinese language teachers and volunteers dispatched from China amounts to 3,200. The Chinese language teaching in the US have made great achievements and currently the number of primary and secondary school students learning Chinese has reached 400,000, which is exactly the outcome of collaboration among Hanban, College Board and Asia Society.
However, Mr. David Coleman argued that such a number was not big enough. Ms. Josette Sheeran also pointed out that how to help US students get rid of their fear of difficulty in learning Chinese and enable them to better experience the joy in learning Chinese is not only a major task for all Chinese language teachers but also an issue to be explored by all educational delegates at this conference from across the US.
Elementary school students in Chicago performing Chinese dances for over 1,000 delegates at the conference
Secondary school students in Chicago singing the Chinese songs Shepherd Song and Alamuhan
As the annual academic event of the largest scale and with the most extensive influence for the Chinese language teaching sector in the US, the National Chinese Language Conference aims to enhance exchanges between Chinese language teaching institutions and their teachers across the US and facilitate the development of the Chinese language teaching in the US. With “Ambassadorship in Action” as its theme, this year’s conference will host four plenary sessions and more than 80 breakout sessions on such issues as teachers, teaching materials and teaching methodologies. The four plenary sessions are “Ambassadorship in Action”, “Telling China’s Story”, “Chinese Food as Cultural Ambassador” and “From Student of Mandarin to a Lifetime of Ambassadorship”, receiving broad attention from delegates at the conference. During the conference, such events as the exhibition of Chinese language teaching resources and visiting schools with featured Chinese language programs in Chicago will also be held.
Source of Images: CRI Online