China-NZ centre to promote region-wide teaching of Mandarin
Wellington: A new China-New Zealand joint linguistics research centre is set to boost the teaching of Chinese language around the Asia-Pacific region, academics said last Wednesday. The Joint Research Centre in Applied Linguistics run by Massey University and Beijing Language and Culture University, to be based in Auckland, will connect New Zealandbased language and linguistics researchers with counterparts in Beijing to exchange ideas and explore the best ways to teach Mandarin and train teachers.
“It will be a platform for teacher training and innovative online learning methods and will provide plenty of opportunities for post-grad and staff exchanges,” Michael Li, Chinese language lecturer at Massey, said in a statement. The centre’s inaugural co-director Cynthia White said that with growing trade between China and New Zealand, more and more people realised the importance of learning Mandarin. “In recent years, the number of secondary schools offering Chinese language courses has increased significantly, so there will be a greater demand for Chinese language teacher training in the near future,” Ms White said in the statement. Part of the centre’s work would be to host teaching and research seminars for the Chinese language teaching community in New Zealand, and to develop high-quality distance and online courses. The two universities will sign an agreement next week to open the centre early next year. Scholars from the Beijing Language and Culture University will be in New Zealand for a two-day conference this week on the topic of distance teaching, and the spread and globalisation of the Chinese language. Xinhua