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International Conference on Teaching Chinese Language and Culture

PhD student Linda Li presented at the 13th New York International Conference on Teaching Chinese Language and Culture 2-3 May 2015

Attending the 13th New York International Conference on
Teaching Chinese Language and Culture 2-3 May 2015


Linda Li

I am a PhD student at the Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication, completing research on China's language policy and practice with a focus on Confucius institute. My supervisor Professor Li Wei and I submitted an abstract to the 13th New York International Conference on Teaching Chinese Language and Culture to give a presentation, which was subsequently accepted. On the 2nd of May 2015, I attended the conference and delivered a presentation in Pace University, New York, where the conference was held. Thanks to the Department for its kind financial support which, though moderate in amount, did help to make the trip and my attendance at the conference possible.

The conference drew about 250 participants from the USA and abroad, with four consecutive sections, each with six parallel panels which consisted of four speakers. The topics of the sessions covered widely from the Pedagogy and Curriculum Design for Chinese Language Teaching, Chinese Linguistic Structures and Teaching Chinese as Second Language, Utilizing Technologies for Enhancing Chinese Teaching Effectiveness to Assessment and Standards.

It was a very good conference and my presentation attracted quite a lot of interest from the attendants, especially those from Confucius institutes. The topic of my presentation is How Chinese is taught in Confucius Institute Classrooms, which was based on part of the ethnographic research I have carried out for my PhD study, on the Chinese language policies in Confucius Institute classrooms in the UK. Through classroom observations, questionnaire surveys with the students, and interviews with teachers and students, the study intended to find out how effectively the international Chinese language policy is implemented at the classroom level, in the two selected Confucius Institutes in the framework of language management. One important area I have examined was the teachers, both locally employed and those seconded from China by Hanban, including their behaviours in class, their perceptions on students, their teaching methods and approaches, which are all factors to successful classroom teaching.  The findings showed that Chinese educational culture has impacts on the beliefs; perceptions, as well as the behaviour of the teachers seconded from China and affect their teaching performance in the classroom. On the other hand, most local teachers of Chinese seem to have adapted to the British environment, which leads to noticeable changes in their beliefs and classroom behaviour, even though they are ‘Chinese’ and were educated in China. The findings also have great relevance to Chinese language teachers' education and teachers training programmes. There were other colleagues at the conference who had done similar research projects on teacher education and we found the conference an excellent opportunity to share our experiences and knowledge.

The conference also provided me with an opportunity to talk to the colleagues working at the Confucius institutes worldwide, which enabled me to collect more information about what is happening in their Confucius Institutes, and in turn will definitely help with my PhD research. The conference was also a good opportunity to liaise with colleagues in the States and worldwide and to learn more about their teaching practice first hand.