Newsletter: The Teachers that Cannot Be “Taken Away”

[Source] [Time]    2018-06-14 09:08:09 

“Excuse me, are you a teacher in our institute?”

“Yes, I am a teacher in the language institute.”

“May I have your surname?”


“Nice to meet you, this is my business card.”


At Luyanzi College Bweyogerere Campus, a teaching point of Confucius Institute of Mekerere University in Uganda, students are reciting a text in a scenario simulation on the stage.

Since March this year, 35 young teachers from different middle schools of Uganda have been participating in a nine-month closed training in Luyanzi. After the training session, they will be able to teach Chinese in their schools. This is a brand new teaching mode called “Uganda Local Teacher Incubation Project”, aiming to train a group of Chinese teachers who cannot be “taken away”.

Hilda, a 23-year-old trainee, is a teacher of Engejo High School which is 40 kilometers away from Uganda’s capital Kampala. She said: “When I got the notification for the Chinese teacher selection, I signed up for it without hesitation. I believe learning Chinese will enhance my competitiveness at work.”

Another participant Justus, a teacher of Swahili, comes from Kabale Trinity Middle School located over 400 kilometers to the east of Kampala. He said: “The hardest part of learning Chinese is the writing of Chinese characters, the use of tones and quantities. However, I found it getting more and more interesting after understanding its rules.”

In the spare time, these future Chinese teachers like to play ping-pong. There was only one trainee in the class who can play ping-pong initially, but now over 20 people can play it.

After learning about the rules of ping-pong and practicing how to play it, Alan felt that the spirit of playing ping-pong was similar to the “never-say-die” spirit of Chinese people. She said "The Chinese people have confidence and hope for the future. They will neither be complacent and self-satisfied, nor will they give up."

Qian Mingmin, from Zhejiang Normal University, is a teacher in Chinese Language training class. She mainly teaches Chinese grammar and vocabulary.

She explained that during the first month, classes were arranged both in the morning and afternoon. However, it was found that many trainees cannot accept such cramming teaching method. Qian said, “To solve this problem, we discussed with domestic experts and decided to adopt a new teaching model-- Information Internalization, which adjusts the teaching plan after 3 p.m. into after-school tutoring including assistance with learners’ homework and answers to the questions that interest them. ”

It is learnt that “Uganda Local Teacher Incubation Project” was initially proposed by the Ministry of Education of Uganda and co-established by Hanban. This project aims at innovating the methods of training local Chinese language teachers through three phrases. Each phrase is divided into four stages of teaching and assessment. The first and second stage include Chinese comprehensive learning, listening, speaking, and writing, as well as the introduction to Chinese history, culture and national conditions. The last two stages add other courses consist of Chinese professional knowledge, teaching skills and teaching methods. After finishing these courses, these trainees are required to take HSK Level IV. At the end of the training, the total number of trainees is expected to reach 100.

Hong Yonghong, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute of Makerere University, said each year Hanban will sent about 20 teachers to the Institute which has only one local Chinese language teacher. It is far from enough to support Chinese teaching in the whole country.

Teaching one to fish, as the Chinese saying goes, is better than giving him fish. Hong Yonghong said, “The innovative mode of the project has enhanced the training effectiveness for local Chinese language teachers, which could compensate for the lack of Chinese teachers and help to cultivate the local teaching faculties."

Qian Mingmin said, “The trainees cherish the hard-won learning opportunity so much that they study very hard. Many of them begin to study at 6 a.m. and continue to study in the classroom even after 10 p.m.”

At present, the training of local Chinese teachers is one of the important tasks of the Confucius Institute. The Confucius Institute of Makerere University took the lead in conducting a large-scale, centralized and closed training of local Chinese teachers.

“We have strengthened the teaching management and teaching practice to improve the Chinese language competence and teaching ability of local teachers and help them grow as the qualified Chinese teachers. Only in this way can they help more Ugandans to learn Chinese language and experience Chinese culture," said Hong Yonghong.

Oswald Ndoleriire, Ugandan Director of the Confucius Institute of Makerere University, said that the Institute has established partnership with the National Curriculum Development Center of Uganda to promote Chinese teaching in Ugandan middle schools. He noted, “Chinese courses will be offered in 100 schools after the completion of the ‘Uganda Local Teacher Incubation Project’.”

“Every local teacher is “a single spark” that ignites passion for learning Chinese and the most solid foundation for the development of Chinese education in Uganda,” said Grace Baguma, Director of the National Curriculum Development Center of Uganda.

(Story by Zhang Gaiping Xinhua News Agency, Kampala, June 10th)

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