The Educational Delegation of Queensland, Australia Pays a Visit to the Confucius Institute Headquarters

[Source]    Confucius Institute Headquarters [Time]    2019-10-10 08:47:56 

On September 27th, the education delegation from Queensland, Australia visited the Confucius Institute Headquarters and introduced the teaching situation of Confucius Classrooms, showing their strong demand to further develop Chinese language teaching.

The delegation, including principals and vice-principals from 11 primary and secondary schools in Queensland, came to China through the Educators’ Delegation to China program of the Confucius Institute at Queensland University of Technology, and was fully funded by the Ministry of Education of Queensland.

Antoine Barnaart, Director of the Confucius Institute at Queensland University of Technology, delivering a speech

The delegation first visited the Culture Experience Center of the Confucius Institute Headquarters with great interest. And then at the meeting, on behalf of all the members of the delegation, Antoine Barnaart, Director of the Confucius Institute at Queensland University of Technology, thanked the Confucius Institute Headquarters, Jiangsu Education Department, and Jiangsu Normal University for their support.

He spoke highly of the outstanding contributions made by the Confucius Institute and Chinese teaching volunteers for their promotion of Chinese language teaching in Queensland. He also said that the pilot program “Chinese + Vocational Skills” in Queensland University of Technology had been a success, and that 4 Confucius Classrooms and teaching sites will carry out this program within 2 years. Consequently, many high school students can receive professional training of Chinese in tourism, hotel industry and other fields, and get the relative certificates, thus being more competitive in the job market.

Robin Rayner, Executive Principal of Urangan State High School in Queensland, introduced the operation of the Confucius Classroom at Urangan State High School, which was built 7 years ago and is the first Confucius classroom in the remote area of Queensland. Since its establishment, the local students have got opportunities to know about diverse cultures for the first time, thus improving their language competence. As the Chinese teaching center in Northern Brisbane, this Confucius Classroom also has served as a prop for the Chinese language teaching in primary and secondary schools nearby and for the activities of cultural exchanges between China and Australia.

Michael Lobb, Vice Principal of Sunnybank Hills State School, shared a story concerning the “Friendship Program”—a cooperative project with its “sister school” Beijing Primary School. It started with a pair of Australian siblings left for Beijing one after another, and they received a warm welcome from their host families respectively. Afterwards, the siblings welcomed the two Beijing host families in Brisbane. Later on, the children from the three families have become good friends like brothers and sisters, and the two Beijing families have developed good relationships. The mother of the siblings said, “This project is really making a difference, and our life is getting better because of it.” Michael Lobb ended the story with this, “A good friend is a key to brighter future.”

Susan Omar, Head of Special Education Services at Education Queensland, said with excitement: thanks to the support of the Confucius Classroom in Urangan State High School, the students at her school had a chance to learn a foreign language for the first time. Meanwhile, this visit to China refreshed her view toward China once more, making her long to share her wish and thoughts with the Queensland Government. Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms give her the opportunity to help physically-challenged children to see the outside world.

Joanne Wernecke, the representative of 200 small-scaled schools in Queensland, is the only teacher and principal of Maryville State School, a school with only 16 students, and she is responsible for running the school and teaching all the subjects. She said that her active participation in this delegation aims at both learning from and communicate with Chinese fellows and preparing for next year’s teaching of the Chinese language, which will become the first foreign language taught in the school. Antoine Barnaart said jokingly that he couldn’t wait to see how many Chinese language learners there will be at Maryville State School.

The delegation visiting the Culture Experience Center at the Confucius Institute Headquarters

Members of the delegation came from different regions of Queensland. They visited schools in such cities as Nanjing and Xuzhou and interacted with Chinese teachers and students. They also participated in the Confucius Culture Workshop and the China-Australia Principal’s Forum held by Jiangsu Normal University to experience Chinese culture comprehensively.

The principals expressed their hope that, regardless of imbalance and differences in regional development, children should get away from the interference of the outside world, and have an equal chance to learn Chinese. After all, learning Chinese goes a long way to help broaden horizons and enrich experience of Australian students.