From February 1 to 2, 2014, Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas (UCACI) hosted the “Arkansas Chinese Teachers Workshop” in Conway. All the Chinese teachers in Arkansas, including Hanban teachers and local teachers, joined together to discuss issues in Chinese teaching.
Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang, Director of UCACI, gave new year greetings and welcome remarks to all the participants. Then he invited Mrs. Sherrie Ray-Trevino, Executive Director of Arkansas Foreign Language Teachers Association, to give a keynote speech on “Common Core and Foreign Language Education in Arkansas”. This is the first year of the implementation of Common Core in Arkansas, and Chinese teachers had a heated discussion on how to cope with new challenges. Then, Dr. Lucy Xiaohong Lu, Deputy Director of UCACI, introduced the programs of UCACI in 2014 to all the teachers, such as Chinese Bridge–Proficiency Competition, HSK and YCT, Chinese Bridge-Summer Camp for American High School Students, Confucius Institute Day, etc. Next, four local Chinese teachers shared their experiences about Chinese programs in their schools and their own teaching practice. In the afternoon discussion panel, teachers were divided into groups to discuss topics on classroom management, teaching and cultural activities, etc. Later, group coordinators summarized and reported the discussions to all the participants. During the panel discussions, teachers brought out their questions and shared their views. By doing so, all the participants learned a lot from each other.
On the second day workshop, UCACI invited Dr. Jia Zhu, UCA faculty to give an introduction on the master’s and doctor’s programs on second language acquisition in the United States. This introduction was helpful to Chinese teachers who are planning to further their study after two-year teaching in Arkansas. Another session was an introduction on American tax by Mrs. Hong Li, a CPA in Arkansas. All the information was closely related to the work and life of Chinese teachers in the U.S. and was well received.
The annual Arkansas Chinese Teachers Workshop is held around the time of Chinese New Year, and it provides a valuable opportunity for all the Chinese teachers to learn from and communicate with each other.