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2014 Summer Teacher Institute

With funding support from the Confucius Institute Headquarters, the Confucius Institute in Atlanta held the fifth Summer Institute for Chinese teachers in Georgia on July 26 – 27 on Emory campus. A regular feature in the Confucius Institute’s annual programming, the Summer Institute for Chinese teachers provides support to local teachers and helps raise the standards of teaching and learning of Chinese at various levels.

The 2014 Summer Institute was primarily targeted at K-12 and post-secondary Chinese language teachers. It focused on two major areas: advanced knowledge of traditional Chinese culture and practical skills in Chinese language teaching. The workshops were conducted by two master teachers, Professor Jing Kaixuan from the CI’s partner Nanjing University and Mr. Chen Qiang from Enloe Magnet High School, North Carolina. A specialist in traditional Chinese literature and culture, Professor Jing introduced participants to the foundational ideas in the Confucian Classic of Yijing, or the Book of Changes, detailing its origin, interpretations and applications in
scholarly and secular societies over the centuries, and the text’s significance in ancient cosmology and the Confucian tradition. He discussed in particular the Daoist concept of “The great one generates water,” a perception of how the world comes into being and how elements interact with each other to regenerate. In his lecture on traditional literati painting as a genre, Professor Jing explained the genre’s history and evolution, its difference from other genres in Chinese visual arts, and its role as a means of self-expression for the traditional literati.

An experienced and nationally certified K-12 teacher, Mr. Chen addressed a variety of topics of great interest to current and prospective teachers. He discussed ways of obtaining teacher certification, qualifications for a successful teacher, the best practices in kindling student interest in learning Chinese, strategies of classroom management, and application of multimedia teaching tools. The “theme based” methodology was highlighted during the presentations. Mr. Chen explained its pedagogical principles and walked the participants over the steps central to effective thematic instruction.

More than one hundred teachers from Atlanta and the surrounding counties attended the workshops. The participants listened with keen interest and engaged in animated discussions with the master teachers and one another. The training workshops energized the teachers just before the fall semester started in public schools, providing both knowledge and practical tools for effective teaching. Participants found the Institute a great resource for sharpening teaching skills and obtaining professional development. Participants received training certificate issued by the Headquarters and free teaching materials from the Confucius Institute. The annual Summer Institute has become a great draw for local teachers, creating a learning community and platform of exchanges among local Chinese teachers.