Irish Institute for Chinese Studies (IICS) at UCD and UCD Confucius Institute (CII) for Ireland co-hosted a successful Chinese Teaching Workshop on June 17, 2017.
Two well-known professors in Chinese teaching from the U.K. were invited as guest speakers at the workshop: Professor Boping Yuan, world renowned applied linguist, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies of University of Cambridge; Professor Lianyi Song, distinguished Chinese teaching expert, Department of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia of SOAS, University of London and Chairperson of the British Chinese Language Teaching Society. The event attracted over 40 participants from students of the postgraduate programmes in Teaching Chinese Language and Culture offered by UCD IICS, local Chinese teachers, teachers of the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland and members of The Irish Association of Chinese Teaching (IACT).
Professor Yuan’s topic focused on Chinese teaching with the perspective of interfaces in second language acquisition of Chinese. He analyzed the significant differences in motivations, process and learning outcomes among mother tongue learners and second language learners. He emphasized the distinctive characteristics of Chinese grammar in the connections between syntax, semantics and interfaces as main obstacles for leaners of Chinese as a second language; it is also a tricky part in learning and teaching Chinese as a second language.
From different perspectives, Professor Song compared the ancient and unique Chinese language with the English language as a branch of the Germanic languages. Many examples cited in his lecture were mostly common but long overlooked, especially the similarities or even sameness between the two languages with regard to pronunciation, part of speech, spelling and grammar. This comparative approach aimed to encourage international Chinese teachers to inspire learners of Chinese to link their mother tongue with Chinese, which would overcome the difficulties in the process of second language acquisition with building up more confidence and efficiency for learners.
The workshop led to highly positive response from the audience who asked many questions during heated discussions. The participants remarked after the workshop that they benefited so much in just a few hours. They were grateful to the two professors for sharing their invaluable teaching experience and theories. They also thanked the two hosting Institutes for organizing such a top quality Chinese teaching workshop in the interest of local teachers of Chinese language and culture.