Newsletter: “Teaching Chinese Earns Me More Respect”—Aslan, Champion of First National Chinese Language Teaching Competition in Pakistan

[Source] [Time]    2018-11-26 16:10:54 

“Please read after me: grapes, grapes. Your pronunciation must be accurate. The tone is very important in Mandarin. If you get the tone wrong, the meaning may be totally changed. For example, mai in the third tone means ‘buy’. But if you pronounce it in the fourth tone, it will become ‘sell’...” This was Aslan, a young Pakistani Chinese teacher, in class. He was holding a bunch of grapes and kept correcting his students’ pronunciation.

On June 17th, the First National Chinese Language Teaching Competition in Pakistan was held at the Confucius Institute in Islamabad, with 10 young teachers attending the final competition. To participate in the contest, Aslan travelled more than 2,000 kilometers to Islamabad from Gwadar, a small town near the southwestern border of Pakistan.

On the platform, Aslan said with fluent Chinese: “This class is very important. I have some special gifts for you. If you can correctly say the names of these gifts in Chinese, you can have them.” These expectant students watched him deliberately taking out apples, bananas, oranges, grapes and other fruits from a box. Immediately, the class began bustling with excitement, and students raised their hands and vied for a chance to speak.

After class, Aslan said that a relaxed and lively learning atmosphere and well-designed course content could facilitate learning and lead to a good result. “Many Pakistanis want to learn Chinese but they often think it is difficult to learn Chinese, and this puts a lot of people off. So it is of vital importance to help them overcome fears and become interested and confident.”

In organizing this competition, the Confucius Institute in Islamabad invited 15 experienced Chinese teachers as judges and formulated scoring rules on five aspects: general performance, teaching objectives, teaching procedures, teaching characteristics and teaching effects. According to Zhang Daojian, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute in Islamabad, the objective of this competition was to inspire local Chinese teachers to improve their skills in teaching Chinese and further promote the localization of Chinese teachers.

After an intense competition, Aslan scored higher in all aspects and won the championship. He told the journalist excitedly that this award was an affirmation of his teaching ability and methods and he would “continue in this direction” in the field of Chinese teaching.

In 2012, Aslan studied at Zhejiang Normal University, majoring in International Economics and Trade. At that time, he desired to engage himself in business in his homeland after graduation and achieve something in this field.

“During my stay in China, I met a great many Pakistan students who were studying in China. Although they had received some training in the Chinese language before they went to China, they still could not communicate naturally in Chinese after arriving in China. Therefore, I decided to change my major and study International Education of Chinese Language, hoping to help more people to improve their Chinese when I returned to Pakistan.

In 2016, Aslan was admitted into East China Normal University, working for a Master’s degree of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages. After graduation in August 2018, he successfully passed the recruitment examination organized by Hanban and became a professional Chinese teacher at the Confucius Institute in Islamabad.

With the development of Gwadar port and its increasing demand for foreign language speakers, Pakistan National University of Modern Languages, where the Confucius Institute of Islamabad is located, has set up a branch school in Gwadar, offering English and Chinese majors. Shortly after his return, Aslan was sent to the branch school in Gwadar to teach Chinese. At first, he was worried about the living and schooling conditions in the Gwadar region. However, feeling that he should work where Chinese teachers were needed, he readily accepted the assignment.

“Teaching Chinese earns me more respect than any other job does.” said Aslan.

At present, the branch school in Gwadar has enrolled in its Chinese class 25 students, including civil servants, businessmen, workers and young students. Given the construction and development of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, especially substantial changes to the region brought by the development of Gwadar port, many local people have realized that learning Chinese well means better jobs and possibilities of getting out of poverty.

“At present, a great many companies require Chinese proficiency when they recruit employees. Employees with Chinese proficiency will get a better position and a higher income.” More students are expected to sign up next semester, according to Aslan.

(Story by Ji Wei, Jiang Chao, Xinhua News Agency, Islamabad, November 21st)

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