On April 19, UCA Confucius Institute gave a Chinese calligraphy class at the Faulkner County Library. Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang, Director of UCACI, taught the participants basic knowledge of Chinese calligraphy. And participants practiced one Chinese character "yong", which means "forever" and contains eight basic strokes of Chinese character.
April 7th, 2014, invited by UCA Confucius Institute (UCACI), Professor Hua Zhang from the College of Education at Hangzhou Normal University gave an academic lecture on the “Curriculum Reform in China” at UCA.
The lecture was held at UCA College of Education. Faculty and graduate students at the College of Education attended the lecture. Professor Zhang focused on the historic legacies, current debates, and future directions of China’s curriculum reform. The report aroused great interests among attendees. During the discussion session, participants asked various questions, stated their views Chinese curriculum reform and education, and listened to Professor Zhang’s replies.
After the lecture, accompanied by Dr. Zhuang, Director of UCACI, Professor Zhang visited UCA campus and Confucius Institute.
2014 Chinese Bridge - Chinese Proficiency Competition for Arkansas High School and College Students Successfully Held at UCACI
April 5th, 2014, Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas (UCACI) successfully hosted the 2014 Chinese Bridge - Chinese Proficiency Competition for Arkansas High School and College Students.
Eight contestants selected from UCA and five school districts in Arkansas participated in the contest. Merrick Fagan from the University of Central Arkansas won the first prize in the college students group. Grand Reed from the Cabot High School won the first prize in the high school students group. They will compete in the Chinese Bridge – Chinese Competition for students in the American Southern States to be held at Dallas on April 27th. From there they will have the chance to be recommended to participate in the final competition in China in July 2014.
The competition began at 2pm. Dr. Bailey, Chair of Department of the World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Dr. Jia Zhu from the same department, Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang, Director of UCACI, and Dr. Lucy Xiaohong Lu, Deputy Director of UCACI worked as judges. Dr. Zhuang gave an opening remark. The competition was divided into three parts: Chinese speech, Chinese cultural knowledge and Chinese Culture talent show. The topic of the speech is “Me and Chinese”, and contestants shared the reasons and experience of learning Chinese, expressing their interests in Chinese learning and love for Chinese culture. In the talent show round, contestants performed Chinese songs, Chinese calligraphy and painting, and played Chinese traditional instrument Guzheng. The wonderful talents won applauses from the audiences, who were from UCA, school districts, as well as local community. At the end of the competition, Chinese teachers and parents of the contestants joined the judges and contestants to take a group photo, recording this special experience.
On March 29, 2014, UCA Confucius Institute hosted a Peking Opera Culture activity at the Faulkner County Library. This is the first activity of the "Adventure in Chinese Culture" series activity hosted by UCACI in collaboration with the Faulkner County Library.
Participants learned some basic knowledge on Peking Opera, and did a great job painting their own Peking Opera masks.
Professor Minsheng Huang from College of Resources and Environmental Science, ECNU, Attends the “Leaders of The World” International Leadership Program at UCA
March 3 to 7, 2014, University of Central Arkansas (UCA) organized the “Leaders of The World” International Leadership Program, and UCA Confucius Institute (UCACI) was the co-sponsor (co-organizer) of the program. Invited by UCA, Professor Minsheng Huang from East China Normal University (ECNU) attended the program and delivered a key-note speech on pollution control in China and his research.
At the“Water & Wastewater Management” panel in the morning of March 4th, Professor Huang gave a speech on pollution control in China and his research. He first introduced the pollution problems in China and means and progress China has made in solving those problems. The he focused on his research topic “Wastewater treatment, aquatic environment quality assessment and eco-remediation”. Dr. Ben Cash from UCA Biology Department gave high praise to the speech. The speech also aroused great interests among attendees from over 10 countries and regions, who engaged in active discussions with Professor Huang.
On March 6, Professor Huang attended the lecture by Brad Lacy, President of Conway Chamber of Commerce. He conversed with Mr. Lacy with topics like Conway’s urban planning and public administration. In the afternoon, Professor Huang visited the Conway Sanitation Department of Conway Corporation. He had in-depth discussion with the staff. Later, he also inspected the water quality of Arkansas river.
During the “Leaders of The World” International Leadership Program, accompanied by Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang, Director of UCACI, Professor Huang visited Clinton Library, Clinton Center, and Clinton Institute, and he also had meeting with Chinese students at UCACI conference room.
On February 25, 2014, Pinnacle Brass, the University of Central Arkansas’ resident faculty quintet, performed music from its recent tour of China in the Snow Fine Arts Recital Hall. This showcase performance was co-sponsored by UCA Confucius Institute (UCACI).
The group, made up of UCA brass faculty Larry Jones (trumpet), Brent Shires (horn), Justin Cook (trombone) and Christian Carichner (tuba), as well as trumpet graduate student Eric Liu, spent two weeks in December touring several cities and universities in China. They performed at several concerts and taught master classes at East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai and Anhui Normal University in Wuhu. At ECNU, the partner university of UCA, they were featured as the soloists with the ECNU Symphony Orchestra. They also hosted several panel discussions.
The program of the showcase included the music from the tour to China. The performances were interspersed with comments and narrative as well as images from their tour to China. Brent Shires, assistant professor of horn, gave special thanks to UCACI for the support of this showcase and also help during their tour. The audiences were impressed by the talented performance as well as their stories of the trip in China.
On February 14, 2014, Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas (UCACI) hosted “Experience Chinese Culture—Lantern Festival Celebration” at Fuller Middle School and Cabot High school, and also co-organized the Lantern Festival Celebration at the Wildwood Park for the Art, Little Rock.
In the morning, UCACI staff led by Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang, Director of UCACI, hosted a Chinese culture experience activity for over 150 6th and 7th grade students at Fuller Middle School together with the Hanban Chinese teacher at this school. The first session is the interactive performance. Miss Wei Wei, UCACI teacher first introduced the customs of Lantern Festival, and then UCA exchange student from China gave a wonderful Taichi performance. After that, six students from Fuller Middle School came onto stage to display the Shadow Puppet Play. The shadow puppets on display were four figures from the Chinese classic novel The Journey to the West. They are Monk Tang and his three followers. With the instruction of UCACI teacher, the students successfully pulled the strings to demonstrate some vivid movements. Then all the Chinese learners at Fuller Middle School sang a Chinese song called Twelve Zodiac Animals. The last performance was the Chinese traditional dress show. Six American students showcased the dresses for Han Dynasty, the Tibetan, and the Uyghur. After the performances, four stations-- the Chinese calligraphy, tea ceremony, paper-cutting, and culture exhibits-- were set up for students to experience: at the calligraphy table, Dr. Zhuang wrote students’ Chinese name with brush on colorful paper; at the tea table, teachers explained Chinese tea culture and made tea for them to taste; at the paper-cutting table, students cut Chinese characters “春”and “囍” meaning “spring” and “double happiness”. Besides, students also kicked Jianzi, learned Taichi, appreciated Chinese cultural exhibits like Peking opera masks, traditional musical instruments, bamboo books, Chinese knots, etc. The one hour activity showcased Chinese culture in different ways.
In the afternoon, similar activity was held at Cabot High School for all the students in foreign languages programs. The principals and foreign language teachers at the school also came to observe the activity. Assistant Principal Mr. Michael Byrd said that such activity was not only good for students who were learning Chinese, but also beneficial for students in other foreign language programs in that it could broaden their horizon.
In the evening, UCACI set up an exhibition station in the Lantern Festival Celebration at the Wildwood Park to display Chinese culture. The annual Lantern Festival Celebration attracted 5,500 people this year with focus on multi-cultures from Asia, Europe, to Latin America. As the representative of Asian culture, UCACI’s station attracted many participants with various exhibits like Chinese knots, paper-cutting, traditional musical instruments, bamboo books, Peking Opera mask, lanterns, etc. People engaged in activities like paper-cutting and calligraphy writing. They also showed great interests in learning some simple Chinese and taking pictures with Peking Opera marks on or holding the Panda mascot. As this year’s Lantern Festival was on the same day with western Valentine’s Day, many couples and kids had their names written on a piece of heart-shaped paper, and said “I love you ” in Chinese to their loved ones. This activity was very popular and became a highlight of the night. Many participants expressed that this was the first time for them to come so close to Chinese culture in which they were very interested.
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.
New Year Greetings from UCA President Tom Courtway
On January 31st, 2013, Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas (UCACI) held the Chinese New Year Reception at Brewer-Hegeman Conference Center, which was decorated with Chinese knots, red lanterns, New Year scrolls, and colorful balloons. Over 150 Chinese and American faculty, staff, and students at UCA, as well as people from local communities were invited to celebrate the Chinese Spring Festival.
Accompanied with Chinese New Year music, the New Year Reception started with a slide show to review UCACI in 2013, showing the major programs and activities UCACI has done in 2013. It was followed by an exciting lion dance performed by the American students from Central High School in Little Rock. UCA President Tom Courtway and Provost Steven Runge gave new year greetings to the audience. They both expressed their thanks to UCACI for its contributions to academic and cultural diversity on campus, and they wished all the Chinese faculty and students a happy Chinese New Year. Mr. Michael Rowland from Arkansas Department of Education spoke highly of the productive work of UCACI in the Teach Chinese in Arkansas program. Mr. Robert Moore, Assistant Superintendent in Rogers School District, commended the Chinese program in his school district and thanked the Hanban Chinese teacher in his school district for his excellent work. Mrs. Nancy Allen, Director of Faulkner County Library (Conway) spoke of the cooperation with UCACI and she thanked UCACI for enriching the cultural life of the local community. Then Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang, Director of UCACI, Dr. Lucy Xiaohong Lu, Deputy Director of UCACI and other Chinese teachers wished everyone a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year.
The second part of the Reception was New Year Feast with various delicious Chinese food and wonderful performances. American and Chinese students worked together on artistic performances with ancient and modern, Chinese and Western elements: the Fashion Show displayed the glamorous traditional Chinese costumes and ethnic minority groups’ clothes; the Chinese song by American students showed the progress they have made in learning Chinese; the beautiful melody of the string trio by music-majored exchange students from East China Normal University (ECNU) enchanted the audience; the shadow puppy adapted from Chinese classic literature The Journey to the West was an eye-opener to American audience. Besides, there was Taichi performance, opera, Uyghur dance, Han Dynasty’s dance, etc. The reception concluded with a song sung by all the Hanban Chinese teachers.
On January 26th, UCACI worked with Chinese Scholars and Students Association at UCA and other universities in Arkansas to host the Chinese New Year Celebration Gala in Little Rock. Over 300 people from local community and Chinese community attended the Gala. They were greatly impressed by the string trio and singing presented by exchange students from ECNU.
By hosting the Chinese New Year Reception, UCACI took this opportunity to extend its thanks to all the people for their continuous support and help. Also, the reception provided a great opportunity to bring Chinese culture to American people, which strengthened the connections between UCACI, the university, and the local community.
UCA students singing a Chinese song