martedì 20 maggio 2014

Learning while teaching - the Confucius Institute win-win

(People's Daily Online,

(People's Daily Online) - Beijing, May 20 - Twenty eighth-grade students in Goodrich Middle School bound into the classroom to study Chinese. The classroom in Lincoln, Nebraska is packed full of Chinese elements, with a piece of Chinese calligraphy hanging on the wall, reading "Small streams converge into a river".

The topic of the lesson is "What color do you like". Students quickly learn to use the word "like" in Chinese and can learn by analogy. A girl whose Chinese name is Ge Tianya explains to a journalist from People's Daily: "I like to learn Chinese, because I want to give myself more opportunities in the future." "I like to learn Chinese, because it is very challenging, " says Avery, 13, with a look of determination on his face, "My parents are proud that I study Chinese." Goodrich Middle School is a teaching center of Lincoln University Confucius Institute in Nebraska. "It's incredible - in the early years we had only 300 students when the Confucius Institutes was established in 2007," said John Kiel, Secretary of Nebraska State, in his interview with People's Daily. "But now we have ten thousand!" Keil explains that the establishment of the Confucius Institute has been of profound significance to Sino-US links, and over time the positive impact on friendship between Chinese and American people will be increasingly apparent and the ties will grow more solid. "Mutual understanding helps us enhance cooperation and aim for a win-win situation. The world will be more peaceful and the dreams of ordinary people will come true. The seeds sown by the Confucius Institute will offer a rich harvest." Dave Heineman, governor of Nebraska believes that the Confucius Institute acts as a valuable resource in improving communication and creating positive international relations, and brings far-reaching benefits to both sides. In 2004, the United States established the first Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland. To date, the United States has the largest numbers of CIs in the world-- 100 Confucius Institutes and 356 Confucius Classrooms, according to the official Hanban website.

The rapid development of the Confucius Institute in the United States demonstrates the urgent desire of young American people to have an objective knowledge and understanding of China. According to John Kiel, the United States is a young country while China has a long history. In the current international situation, Americans need to learn more about Chinese history and culture. And the Confucius Institute provides an ideal channel to meet this demand.

Through nearly 10 years of development, the positive significance of the Confucius Institute has won increasing recognition from the American people. That first Confucius Institute in the USA at the University of Maryland (CIM) was founded on November 17, 2004. Rebecca McGinnis has witnessed the establishment and the development of the Confucius Institute in the University of Maryland. "I have personally watched the first Confucius Institute in the United States develop from blueprint to reality, from classroom to institute." McGinnis believes that the activities of the Confucius Institute help to improve the development of Sino-US mutual understanding as well as contributing to a more peaceful world. 

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