Teachers of Mandarin Chinese meet in Tartu

On 2-3 March, an international symposium on practical and methodological issues of teaching Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language will be held at the UT College of Foreign Languages and Cultures.

The symposium has two main topics: the impact of native linguistic patterns and cultural habits on teaching Chinese as a foreign language, and applying new practical methods in classroom teaching in order to advance the effectiveness of obtaining practical language skills. The main speakers and instructors in the symposium are Professor Chin-Chin Tseng from the National Taiwan Normal University and Professor Yea-Fen Chen from the Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, U.S.A. Among the speakers are also teachers of Mandarin Chinese from Estonian and Lithuanian universities and high schools.

The symposium is supported by the Taipei Mission in the Republic of Latvia who is a long term supporter of teaching Mandarin Chinese at the College. A co-organiser and supporter of the symposium is the UT Asian Centre.

Associate Professor Märt Läänemets, one of the initiators and main organisers of the symposium said that in recent years learning Chinese has gained popularity over the world, Estonia and the other Baltic countries being no exception. But the training of Chinese teachers has still plenty of room for development. “Although the governments and related institutions of both the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan offer training courses with scholarships to the local teachers, it is not a commodity we can use regularly. Therefore, to have such a practical symposium here to exchange experiences is a great step forward,” added Läänemets. According to him, it is especially important to keep advancing special training methods, and to create textbooks and teaching materials in the language of the target groups, for using English as mediator inevitably creates an additional filter in the learning process.

On both days, the conference starts at 10 am at Jakobi 2, room 114. Everyone interested is welcome to join. Within the program of the conference, at 5 pm on Friday, the 2nd of March, a poster exhibition Chinese and Mandarin Studies at the University of Tartu and a collection of ink paintings titled Sah-Sah by the Estonian artist Virge Loo will be opened at the College’s library (Lossi 3-213).

The conference program is available here: www.maailmakeeled.ut.ee/teaching-mandarin-in-the-baltics/program

Additional information:
Kätlin Lehiste katlin.lehiste@ut.ee
Mart Tšernjuk mart.tsernjuk@ut.ee