Chinese Books Approaching Younger Generation in the West
—— Sidelights on Bohunt School in Britain Receiving Book Donation from China Publishing Group

[Source]    Guangming Daily [Time]    2017-03-31 16:33:29 

Cecilia Lindqvist, a leading Swedish sinologist giving a lecture on “the Beauty of Chinese Characters” in Bohunt School at the invitation of China Publishing Group

[Going-global of Chinese culture• the Series of London Book Fair]

Bohunt School is a first rate state secondary school in Hampshire, Britain. In 2015, BBC invited five teachers from China to Bohunt School for a month of “Chinese-style education”. During this experiment, BBC produced a three-episode documentary named Are Our Kids Tough Enough, which aroused heated discussion and reflection between the two countries on the differences of British and Chinese education. Bohunt School then rose to fame in Britain and drew attention in China.

What people do not know well is that the story between Bohunt and China goes beyond the documentary. Bohunt School has become a “business card” of Chinese language education in Britain because of its long history of Chinese language education and its large scale of students studying Chinese. Some domestic institutes and departments in China have also kept providing Chinese language teaching support for Bohunt School with teachers and readings. On Mar, 13th, China Publishing Group (CPG) presented a valuable donation of a batch of books to Bohunt School as London Book Fair was being held. Taking the opportunity, the journalist conducted interviews in the school, where these British youngsters’ affection for Chinese language and culture was felt and the influence of the going-global strategy of Chinese culture upon the young generations in the UK was observed.

Neil Strowger, Headmaster at Bohunt School told with great proud the journalist that the Chinese language teaching in the School now has a history of more than 20 years. 6 years ago, the School decided to greatly expand the scale of Chinese language teaching and make “immersion Chinese teaching” as its characteristics. Presently, the total number of students in Bohunt School is 1680, and the number of students learning Chinese reaches 450, which is expected to reach 1000 next year.

As for the “immersion Chinese teaching”, Zeng Bin, a Chinese language teacher who has worked in Bohunt School for two years, explained to the journalist that this teaching method is not merely more intensified in terms of Chinese teaching than those in average British schools, but more importantly it allows students to immerse themselves in a Chinese language environment. He said that students learning Chinese in this school have art and other courses taught in Chinese, apart from 5 Chinese language classes a week.

Since 2016, as one of the implementers of “Going-global” Strategy of Chinese culture, CPG has begun to support Chinese language teaching in Bohunt School, donating books for the first time and setting up Chinese special shelves. On Mar. 13th, taking the opportunity of participating in this year's London Book Fair, CPG once again came to Bohunt School and brought a total of 16 kinds of books including more updated Chinese language teaching materials, reference books, children's books, and Chinese books on history and culture etc.

Dr. Morton, Chairman of “Bohunt Education Trust”, the administrative department of Bohunt School, extended his heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the “generosity” of the Chinese book enterprise in the book donation ceremony on Mar. 13th. He highlighted the importance of Chinese teaching for Bohunt School and the significance for the future of the students. He said that the greatest achievements Bohunt School made in the past 25-year development was its Chinese teaching program. He expressed that it was important to teach Chinese to the younger generation in the UK. As a traditional trading power, in order to boost the economic exchanges with China, it is necessary for the UK to train British kids to master Chinese and know China well. “Our trade with China can’t be well promoted only by means of translation.”

Neil Strowger, Headmaster of Bohunt School expressed that Bohunt School was the first in the UK to introduce “immersion Chinese teaching”. Among the five schools in the education group to which Bohunt School belongs, three of them took Chinese as the most important foreign language in their foreign language education. He said that the books donated by CPG would greatly help the students in Bohunt School both in learning Chinese and in understanding Chinese culture.

Jiang Jun, Vice President of CPG presented the book list to Neil Strowger, Headmaster of Bohunt School. In his speech, Mr. Jiang hoped that CPG would have the deeper and more frequent exchange and cooperation with Bohunt School in the future.

He expressed that he expected the emergence of a number of Sinologists from the students of Bohunt School in a few years. Jiang Jun talked about the importance of the Chinese book entering British schools: “The long impact of books can define a generation. Like seeds sown in people’s heart, good books exert a far-reaching influence, and this is the value of Chinese publications’ going global.”

During the interview, the school specially arranged two students – Freya and John to be the “guides” for the journalist. Both of them have learned Chinese for three years. Freya said she chose to learn Chinese out of her love for Chinese culture.

Freya has not been to China yet, but she said that she will visit China with some of her classmates under a school program this October. They will have a short stay at Chinese families, experiencing the country and learning Chinese. John has a different purpose of learning Chinese from Freya’s. He said that what motivated him to learn Chinese was his expectation to work in China or in British enterprises doing business with China. Although he is just a middle school student, John knows that Chinese will be his competitive edge in future job market.

(Story and photos by Lin Weiguang, Guangming Daily, Mar. 17th. 2017, Page 9)


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