Over­seas Chi­nese language learn­ing front and cen­ter at Beijing fo­rum

Global Times US Edition - - LIFE - By Huang Tingt­ing

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.

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