Overseas Chinese language learning front and center at Beijing forum
A total of 340 language experts from 32 countries and regions gathered in Beijing on Thursday to discuss the latest progress made in Chinese language teaching and research around the globe.
Taking “International Chinese Language Teaching, Research and Development in the New Era” as its theme, the 1st Peking University World Chinese Forum – part of the three-day 13th International Conference on Chinese Lan- guage Teaching and Research that kicked off on Wednesday – was organized by institutions including the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), The International Society for Chinese Language Teaching (ISCLT) and Peking University.
At the forum, ISCLT Deputy Director Joël Bellassen, also a renowned French Sinologist from the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, shared his research concerning French learners’ motives in studying the Chinese language.
Based on his research, Bellassen put forth the idea that the “previous perception that suggested the motives for French people to learn the Chinese language during the 1970s was political is actually a misunderstanding.”
German Sinologist Andreas Guder from Georg-AugustUniversität Göttingen also weigned in to suggest that overseas Chinese language teaching approaches today should take learners’ motives into account, noting that business and familial exchanges are some of the most common motivations for Germans to learn Chinese.
Guder also mentioned that German middle school students spend three to four hours a week on average learning Chinese.
Nama Didier, an officer from Cameroon’s Ministry of Higher Education who participated in a project in his country to train Chinese language teachers, shared his experiences in localizing Chinese language teaching.
“According to data from Hanban, our country has the largest number of Chinese language learners and teachers in middle schools out of all African countries,” Didier explained.
Didier suggested that local Chinese language teachers and promoters should also focus more on localization efforts concerning textbooks and teaching guidelines about language learning.