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3rd Summer Chinese Teacher Institute in Atlanta

The Confucius Institute in Atlanta hosted a Summer Institute for Chinese Teachers at Emory University on August 4 and 5. This is the third of such training institutes organized by the CI in Atlanta since its founding in March 2008. The two-day training program attracted more than 90 Chinese teachers from the State of Georgia and metro Atlanta.

The Summer Institute for Chinese Language Teachers, supported with funding from the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban, aimed at raising standards of Chinese language instruction among K-12 teachers and facilitating teacher professional development. The Institute offered a multifaceted program, combining theoretical training with hands-on activities to enable participants to apply pedagogical knowledge and practical skills acquired at the workshops to classroom instruction.

Expert teachers from Nanjing University and Sparta School District in New Jersey were invited to conduct the training. Professor Lu Weiyi, a veteran teacher in Teaching of Chinese to Foreigner Learners at Nanjing University, offered workshops on teaching pronunciation and writing skills. Using real world examples from her former students’ writing and learning experience, Professor Lu discussed various strategies to enhance student interest and performance in learning Chinese language. Mr. Leonard Zeng, an experienced educational technologist, shared innovative ideas and effective techniques to incorporate web-based resources, new emerging technologies, and social media into the Chinese language classroom. He highlighted various language resource websites such as goChinese, wikispaces, voki, Toondoo that teachers could adopt to help students practice and improve their language proficiency. The use of multimedia online resources could also promote a vibrant community for students to engage in their own learning. Mr. Zeng also showed the participants how to use a variety of time-saving digital Chinese language tools such as NJstar and Wenlin to facilitate the preparation of teaching materials.

In addition to pedagogy and language teaching methodology, the Institute also helped develop cultural competence among the participants. Professor Lu discussed the history of Chinese knots and papercutting in China’s social and cultural tradition and taught the participants how to make Chinese knots and simple yet attractive papercuts. Participants at the workshop were given free arts and crafts tools to practice through hands-on training.

A Chinese Teaching Materials Exhibition was held concurrently with the Teacher Institute. The Exhibition displayed a rich assortment of textbooks and cultural materials newly developed and published in China. Participants at the Institute jammed the Exhibition Hall and received free textbooks and teaching tools donated by the Confucius Institute Headquarters.

The Summer Chinese Teacher Institute was planned with Chinese teachers’ career development in mind. Participants at the workshops earned one unit of Continuing Education credit awarded by Emory Lifelong Learning Center that they could use to fulfill in-service training requirement and boost their professional credentials. The Summer Institute was warmly received by the participants. “It was a gem-packed program,” said Wang Fan, Principal of Morning Star Chinese School in Atlanta, “I’ve learned a great deal and can directly incorporate the skills into classroom practice.”