Confucius Institute of URI Hosts Workshop for CSL Teachers

By Claire Golds, student assistant at Confucius Institute of URI

Kingston, R.I., August 28, 2013, — From August 21 to 25, the Confucius Institute of the University of Rhode Island held a teacher training workshop, where 55 teachers of Chinese as a Second Language(CSL) came from all over New England and some other states, living together, eating together, attending lectures, and sharing their stories and experiences with each other. The workshop is sponsored by the Confucius Institute Headquarters, and hosted by the Confucius Institute at University of Rhode Island.
Robin Harvey demos the art of storying-telling in teaching Chinese. (photos by Chi Zhang)

Over these four days there were a number of interesting lectures with information and ideas applicable to teaching Chinese to students of all ages and levels. The lecturers came from various universities, such as New York University, California State University Long Beach, and Zhejiang University, China. On the first day, Prof. Frank Tang and Robin Harvey discussed how to teach Chinese language and culture through story-telling. The lecture included audience interaction where the teachers were split into groups and came up with their own stories to share with their students, including some from Chinese heritage.

The second day’s lectures had a bit heavier subject matter. The morning lecture was taught by Dr Weimin Xu about Chinese philosophy and society, explaining existing cultural issues and how to teach students about the Chinese way of thinking. The afternoon was taught by Professor Lizhen Peng, and centered on modal verbs and polysemy in the Chinese language, a topic which led to much discussion and need for clarification among the teachers.

After a trying day, they got to relax during the late afternoon with a trip to Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown. The next day held more lectures, with the morning and part of the afternoon taught by Professor Jian Wu on communicative skills and teaching vocabulary for Chinese as a foreign language. Later in the afternoon was another grammar lecture by Professor Lizhen Ping on some of the uses and limitations of the Chinese character “了”. The final morning brought two lectures by Professor Tianwei Xie on some useful technology tools for Chinese teachers and students as well as the benefits and dangers of Cloud computing.

The day was closed with URI’s Confucius Institute Director Dr。 Wayne He outlining the wide array of Chinese Programs in the University of Rhode Island, and a representative of Beijing Language and Culture University Press introducing their Chinese language textbooks.

The four-day workshop closed with the awarding of certificates issued by the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban, listing the courses the teachers took. The teachers exchanged goodbyes and contact information as they trickled out the door of URI’s Multi-cultural Center. Every teacher left with something different, whether it was new acquaintances, or new stories to share, or new ideas to try. It was a great experience for all involved.