Li Qian (Germany): “When they told me “I like your class,” I felt an intense happiness, which is surely a lifelong remembrance”.
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.
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.
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.
Published in Confucius Institute Magazine
Magazine 07. Volume II. March 2010.