CIM Annual Event – Seminar on Innovation in Chinese Language Education

15 speakers, 55 participants, 10 countries.

5 months ago, Confucius Institute Maastricht started the planning for its annual event: a professional conference for educators to learn more about exciting advancements in the field of international Chinese education. The event was to be held in the historical city of Maastricht for Chinese language teachers from Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and any other nearby countries.

Of course, in March, the spread of COVID-19 moved education and all events online. This was certainly a challenge to the event planning, but it also posed a lot of opportunities. What if moving the event online meant that people from around the world could attend the conference? What if the move to online education due to COVID-19 represented an important topic to discuss? Full of possibilities, the event planning team came together and worked for months to create and plan SICLE: the Seminar on Innovation in Chinese Language Education.

On July 10th at 13:00 Central European Time, 55 participants from 5 continents joined our BlueJeans conference room for an afternoon of knowledge and idea sharing.

The event opened with welcoming addresses from Lili Deng, the Chinese Director of Confucius Institute Maastricht, Mr. Luo Ping of the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands, and Zhang Jian of the DUFE School for International Education. After a warm welcome, three keynote speakers shared their insights on the conference theme. Prof. Wu Yongyi from East China Normal University gave remarks on innovative teaching methods, based on his years of experience setting up Chinese programs in universities around the world. Second, Prof. Tin C. Tsui shared his experiences developing a Chinese textbook for use in Dutch secondary schools as well as how teachers can effectively use written materials to enhance their classes. Finally, Xinxin Wang gave a thoughtful presentation on how to bring the EU Entrepreneurship Competencies Framework into the classroom to inspire students. She was joined by Zuyd researcher Omar Habets who spoke about his research on key competencies for project managers working in a Sino-Dutch context.

After a break which featured a video showcasing charming Maastricht, participants gathered for a talk on the PechaKucha presentation style by Sueli Brodin, an active member of PechaKucha Maastricht. PechaKucha is an exciting and attention-grabbing presentation style that features 20 images displayed for 20 seconds each. All SICLE speakers were invited to a training on PechaKucha to learn how to use the style themselves.

After introducing PechaKucha, participants were split into breakout rooms with each a different theme: transition to online education, cultivating effective educators, and encouraging student motivation. In these rooms moderated by CIM staff, speakers from Slovakia, China, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands, the US, Luxembourg, and South Africa gave (PechaKucha) presentations on their experiences with teaching. Teachers discussed everything from the importance of learning the local language to assist with teaching in a foreign country to how video games can be used to help students learn Chinese in a fun and playful way. The presentations were followed by lively discussions in the breakout rooms that brought together people from different stages in their careers and from different backgrounds. At the conclusion of the group discussions, participants were reunited in the main conference room for summaries of the breakout sessions and closing remarks.

All in all, despite the challenges posed by recent global events as well as the technical difficulties that come naturally with online event hosting, the SICLE event was an informative and meaningful afternoon for all in attendance. Special thanks to all speakers, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, PechaKucha Maastricht, and CIM’s other partners for their continuous support.

New Course Schedule is Now Online!

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