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
UCACI Hold Board Meeting and Participate in Round-Table Conference of Confucius Institutes in Partnership with ECNU
From December 10 to 11, 2013, the University of Central Arkansas delegates, Dr. Wendy Lucas, UCA Associate Provost, Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang, Director of UCA Confucius Institute (UCACI), Dr. Lucy Xiaohong Lu, Deputy Director of UCACI, attended the UCACI Board Meeting and the Round-Table Conference together with ECNU counterparts in Shanghai.
At the Board Meeting, Dr. Wendy Lucas gave an introduction of UCA strategic planning and the support to UCACI. Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang then gave an annual report and an introduction of the plan for future development of UCACI. UCA delegates and ECNU counterparts exchanged the ideas on the major projects to be conducted in 2014. Dr. Youqun Ren, Vice President of ECNU expressed his strong support to UCACI.
At the Round-Table Conference of Confucius Institutes in Partnership with East China Normal University (ECNU), delegates from 8 Confucius Institutes from America and Europe introduced their featured projects and program respectively. They also had discussion on topics like the “Confucius China Study Plan”, Confucius Institute and “MOOC”, the implement of Young Leaders Program, “1+1” cooperation program of master degree education, etc. Participants also shared ideas on how ECNU can provide better support to the education, cultural and academic exchanges of each Confucius Institute.
During the conference, delegates participated in the cultural activities. They visited a traditional water town in the suburb of Shanghai, watched the Kunqu opera The Peony Pavilion. They were greatly impressed by the achievement of the artists in preserving and developing traditional Chinese culture.
The 8th Confucius Institute Conference was held in Beijing from December 7th to December 8th, 2013. Over 2,000 participants attended the conference, including host university presidents and representatives from 440 Confucius Institutes in over 110 countries and the Chinese partner universities. The University of Central Arkansas delegates, Dr. Wendy Lucas, UCA Associate Provost, Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang, Director of UCA Confucius Institute (UCACI), and Dr. Lucy Xiaohong Lu, Deputy Director of UCACI, attended the Conference.
Madam Liu Yandong, Chinese State Councilor and Chair of the Council of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, delivered a keynote speech at the conference. She extended warm welcome to the delegated from all over the world. She spoke highly of the development of the Confucius Institute with the cooperation between Chinese and foreign partners, which made great contribution to meeting the Chinese learning demand of foreign people and strengthen the friendship between Chinese and foreign people.
At the conference panels, delegates engaged in active discussion in topics such as the development and certification of Chinese teachers, brand cultural activities with special features, Confucius Institute and MOOC, etc.
The annual conference is a grand gala of the Confucius Institutes around the globe. Having been successfully held for seven times, it aims to foster close cooperation and exchange by drawing on the past experience, and advance the development of the Confucius Institutes in a rapid and sound manner.
November 19, 2013, Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas (UCACI) participated in the World Fest of the UCA International Education Week.
This International Education Week was hosted by UCA International Engagement, and the World Fest was one of the main activities. At the station of UCACI, photos of previous Chinese cultural activities and programs were shown on exhibition boards, such as Chinese Bridge Competition, Chinese Culture Club, Chinese Immersion Program in Shanghai, etc. Besides the photo exhibition, various other Chinese cultural exhibits, such as tea set, bamboo slip, Beijing opera mask, Chinese musical instrument, go, Chinese chess, Chinese games, palace lantern, Chinese knots, etc. Participants also got flyers of the Chinese activities, Chinese language programs, Confucius Institute Scholarships, HSK and other detailed information from UCACI staff. Meanwhile, participants could get a Chinese name and have it written in Chinese calligraphy. This activity was very popular and attracted many people.
As an important part of World Fest, an International Students Fashion Show attracted a lot audience. Organized by UCACI, Chinese students showed the clothes of Han Dynasty, Uyghur and Tibetan ethnic groups, etc. They also dressed up to give a wonderful Tai Chi performance, which not only showed the dynamic beauty of the clothes, but the oriental charm of Taiji. The Chinese fashion show won a great applause.
By participating in the World Fest, UCACI displayed Chinese cultures to the UCA community, and also promoted Chinese courses and programs. This will get more students involved in the Chinese activities and Chinese courses in the coming semester.
From November 15 to 17, fourteen UCACI Chinese Teachers participated in the Professional Development Program for Chinese Teachers in the U.S. organized by Hanban at Memphis.
On the night of the 15, all teachers participated in the communication meeting to exchange thoughts about teaching and living in the U.S. The opening ceremony was held on the morning of the 16. After that, teachers were divided into four groups (pre-K, elementary level, junior high school level, and senior high school level) to attend the lectures given by teaching specialist. The lectures focused on classroom management, teaching techniques, classroom activities. After the lectures, teachers had the chance to further communicate with the specialists. On the morning of the 17, two writers of two Chinese textbooks, Mrs Lirong Cheng (Tiandi Xiongmao) and Mrs. Wanqian Lin (Chinese Treasure Chest ) gave introductions and examples on how to use the textbooks they composed respectively. At the end of the training, Dr. Hsiang-te Kung, Director of the Confucius Institute at University of Memphis invited teachers to visit the Confucius Institute at University of Memphis.
This Professional Development Program provided all Chinese teachers a valuable opportunity to communicate with each other, solute their questions, and learn from specialists, which received favorable response from all participants.
November 2, 2013, Confucius Institute at UCA (UCACI) hosted an activity on Chinese Food Culture: Dumpling at the Faulkner County Library, Conway. This activity was the third and last one in the series activities of Exploring Chinese Culture in collaboration with the Faulkner County Library. Over twenty people from local community participated in the activity.
The first part of the activity was a short introduction on Chinese dumplings given by UCACI Chinese instructor. The first part was about what is dumpling and popular recipes. The second part was about the history of dumplings and when Chinese people make and eat dumplings. The third part was how to make dumplings. UCACI staff demonstrated the process of making dumplings starting from making the dough and filling to folding the wrap. From the introduction and demonstration participants had a basic understanding about Chinese dumplings and how to make them.
The second part was hands-on activity instructed by UCACI staff. Participants were divided into two groups to experience the full procedure of dumpling-making from preparing the dough, rolling the wrap, to folding the wrap and boiling the dumplings. From elementary school children to senior people, participants all took part in wholeheartedly and enjoyed the process of making dumplings. Later, they had a taste of dumplings made by themselves, which they thought to be very delicious. Some participants were quite inquisitive about different styles of folding the wraps as well as combinations of fillings. Some of them even made some extra dumplings to take home, planning to share them with family members or friends.
Careful preparation and enthusiastic participation from local community made this activity a huge success. Many participants expressed their hope to have more activities on Chinese food in the future. At the end of the activity, Mrs. Nancy, staff at Faulkner County Library, said that this Adventure in Chinese Culture activity series opened a window for local people to know China and Chinese people’s life, which also enriched the cultural life of the local community.
UCACI will continue the partnership with the Faulkner County Library to host such activities in the next spring.