2016, Year of Embracing Chinese
The year of 2016 will come to an end and the Learning Chinese page has witnessed a wonderful year together with Chinese language teachers across the globe, overseas Chinese language learners and international students in China. At the festive time of ringing out the old year and ringing in the New Year, let us share their precious memories of embracing Chinese and draw a full period for 2016.
Chinese language teachers: experiencing new teaching methods overseas
In June 2016, Chen Xuemei, a girl from Fujian Province, came to Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona as a volunteer Chinese language teacher. As more people of younger age starting to learn Chinese overseas, the conventional Chinese language teaching model, which works well for adult students, does not adjust to these overseas students. The biggest reward for Chen in 2016 was to take challenges presented by the immersive Chinese teaching method. She explained that immersive teaching is to teach all subjects in Chinese so as to create a pure learning atmosphere for the target language. “It’s also a kind of learning for me.” she said, “ Since there are no prescribed textbooks, I have to spend a lot of time designing the class, organizing activities, making cute teaching aids myself and playing interesting games with my students so that they can learn Chinese while having fun.”
Looking forward to the New Year, Chen hopes to further mobilize her creativity to better stimulate students’ interest in Chinese in 2017. In June next year, she will complete her teaching in the US. After returning to China, she will continue to engage in Chinese language teaching. “I hope my teaching experience in the US can help with my work in the future.” said Chen
Confucius Institute students: learning Chinese makes us feel closer to China.
In the immersive Chinese class of Confucius Institute at Alfred University, each classroom has a Chinese wall, which is covered with Chinese character cards, paper-cuts, the twelve Chinese Zodiac, the Chinese national flag and a map of China. It turns out that the Chinese teachers there copied the classroom arrangement of primary schools in China. Besides the Chinese wall in the classroom, students have their own “exclusive” seats with their Chinese names on them. Such classrooms can make the local kids immersed in a pure Chinese environment, so that they can get close to Chinese since childhood. In the class, the kids sing Chinese children’s songs, read mathematical formulas in Chinese and can accurately tell the names of scenic spots and historical sites in China. Learning in such classrooms, no wonder so many kids are eager to visit China when they grow up.
Learning Chinese is not only the new interest of kids overseas, but also a new trend for many adults abroad. With the expansion of exchange fields between China and the West, more and more civil servants in New Zealand began to learn the Chinese language to facilitate their work. In 2016, civil servants of New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Defense, Cabinet Office and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment successively participated in the Chinese language training organized by Confucius Institute at Victoria University. It is learnt that New Zealand police officers are going to take Chinese language courses in 2017. Among those governmental officials, Madam Celia Wade–Brown, Mayor of Wellington is the most high-profile one. “It would make me closer to the Chinese people if I could make some simple exchanges,” she said. Although Major Celia has passed the HSK level 2 test this summer, she is not satisfied and wants to take it to another level. She has started to prepare for the HSK level 3 test.
International students in China: “reading” China by traveling
Abbas, an overseas student from Pakistan, prefers others to call him by his Chinese name--- Xiao Bei. Xiao Bei has gained a lot from his one-year-long Chinese study in Beijing Language and Culture University. In particular, his trips around China let him experience local customs and folk culture. In 2016, Xiao Bei has travelled many places, including Guangdong, He’nan, Tianjin, Ningxia and Xinjiang.
In his trip to He’nan, Xiao Bei had a very deep impression of the local dialect. “That was my first time to hear the local people speaking their dialect. It was really interesting, but difficult to follow. Fortunately, the local people would explain everything to me with much patience,” he said with a smile, “For example, ‘zhong bu zhong’ in He’nan dialect means ‘hao bu hao’ in Mandarin Chinese (which means “Is it ok?”). ” Xiao Bei also tried traveling alone this year. During his journey, he often talks with unfamiliar faces in the local area. “I can sense the hospitality of the Chinese people. They have helped me a lot and often compliment me for my spoken Chinese. But I still need to study harder in Chinese,” he continued while showing his traveling pictures taken by the local people. In 2017, he plans to visit Shanghai and Hangzhou.
Wu Tian, a Cambodian student from China University of Geosciences, also “reads” China through diverse practical activities and many friends. In July 2016, he participated in the international summer camp “Retrace Maritime Silk Road”, visiting local museums and enterprises in 6 cities, including Ningbo, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Quanzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and witnessing the status quo of Chinese cities along the Maritime Silk Road. Wu said: “I came to China not only to study, but also travel a great distance. Therefore, I need to learn more about China through traveling and practice, and I will continuously work hard at Chinese.” Until now, Wu has traveled 18 provinces and regions in China, leaving memorable memories and making lots of Chinese friends in each place. Wu likes to take pictures during traveling and post them on WeChat with Chinese captions. He expressed that in 2017, he hopes to finish his Master’s thesis, successfully graduate from the university, pass the HSK level 6 test and travel to Harbin, Macau and other places.
In 2016, Chinese language teachers have enriched their teaching experience. Overseas Chinese language learners and foreign students in China have made great progress in Chinese learning. Having embraced Chinese in 2016, we hope all Chinese language teachers and learners will make new progress and better achievements in 2017.