Li Qian: “My golden autumn trip in Germany”

Li Qian (Germany): “When they told me “I like your class,” I felt an intense happiness, which is surely a lifelong remembrance”.

Currently there are over 4,000 Chinese language teachers and volunteers teaching Chinese in Confucius Institutes, primary and secondary schools and universities throughout the world. While spreading Chinese language and culture, these cultural envoys personally experienced exchanges and interactions with different teaching practices and other cultures. The column of Teachers’ Voices is a channel where Chinese language teachers and volunteers can share their teaching experience with each other. There will also be a collection of stories on their unique experiences in foreign lands these cultural envoys can share with our readers.

Li Qian, Volunteer Chinese Teacher at Auguste-Viktoria Gymnasium, Germany

The October sun shines on the Mosel Valley, a striking­ly beautiful picture. On the train heading from Bonn to Trier, the passengers, Ger­mans or foreigners, are all fascinated by the gorgeous landscape and amazed at the spectacle of nature. My trip in Ger­many started here.

The Auguste-Viktoria-Gymnasium, where I work, is one of the best middle schools in Trier. It is less than one year since the students there began learning Chinese, so the school employs quiz­zes and colorful flashcards as the main teaching methods to stimulate students’ interest in Chinese. As a Chinese teacher, my job is to introduce the background of Chinese culture in order to help them better understand China. The students always show great interest and take ac­tive part in the class.

Lovable students always add joy to my life on this foreign land.
Lovable students always add joy to my life on this foreign land.

I also teach students from Chinese families. These students are much younger and more active. It is almost impossible to keep them quiet during the class. Therefore, I conduct the class through lively activities. After they fin­ish required exercises, I let them play games, which are related to Chinese lan­guage and suitable for their age, so that they can learn Chinese in a relaxed and entertaining atmosphere. For instance, I ask the students to “open” a store of their own and decide the store’s name, the commodities and the prices themselves. They are both owners and customers

at other students’ shops. The teacher is a Chinese customer so the shop “own­ers” will have to promote their goods to the Chinese customer in Chinese. The student, with the largest earnings, is the winner. I was surprised at their creativity. A student designed a lamp store called Lichtgeist, meaning “light spirit,” and pro­moted to his class­mates his imaginary lamps in the shapes of spirits. I took the chance to teach them the frequently used expressions of bargaining. The stu­dents can remember these expressions more easily in the environment of games. They like the games and feel rather free in such an atmosphere. The games have also brought us closer. When they told me “I like your class,” I felt an intense happiness, which is surely a lifelong re­membrance.

As a volunteer Chinese teacher, my job is not limited to imparting knowledge of the language; it is also my responsibility to propagate Chinese culture and help the world understand China through my own actions.

Almost all the volunteer Chinese teachers have other duties besides regu­lar classes – giving lectures on China or making comments in German teachers’ classes on China. From the questions that the German teachers and students raise, I can see their enthusiasm and eagerness to know the whole picture of China. However, their knowledge of China is very limited due to the unbal­anced media reports about China. When I take time to explain the actual situation, they attentively lis­ten and then discuss their questions with me. After my lec­tures, many students say they would like to visit China and see how different the real China is from their imagination.

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In Trier live many overseas Chinese. Since the Confucius Institute at Trier University was established, the Chinese learning resources have been further expanded and the teaching of Chinese language has a bright future. As a volun­teer Chinese teacher, I enjoy the colorful experience and it is here that I begin the journey of my future professional life.


Confucius Institute Magazine 7

Published in Confucius Institute Magazine
Magazine 07. Volume II. March 2010.

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