Confucius Institute News
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Confucius Institute leads Tai Chi demonstration at Ljungstrom Health and Wellness Fair
The Alfred University Confucius Institute and Alfred Tai Chi group sponsored a Tai Chi demonstration Wednesday, Sept. 11, at a Health and Wellness Fair hosted by Ljungstrom in Wellsville.
Ljungstrom is a global technology and innovation leader, specializing in full life-cycle services and solutions for thermal power plants and industrial facilities. The company operates a manufacturing facility on Andover Road in Wellsville. Wednesday's event aimed to encourage a healthy lifestyle by promoting programs and activities that support wellness for all Ljungstrom employees.
The Confucius Institute at Alfred University has provided free Tai Chi classes for University faculty, students and the Alfred community since 2010. Led by Master Guifang Liu, the Tai Chi group meets on weekdays year-round. Many of the participants have mastered the "24 Form", "Swimming Dragon Tai Chi" and other Health Qigong forms. Some have gone on to lead other Tai Chi classes in neighboring communities.
At the Ljungstrom Health and Wellness Fair, the Tai Chi group members performed the Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin, Tai Chi 24 Form, and Swimming Dragon Tai Chi. There were more than 300 participators in this full day event. Performances were well received by the attendees.
"We appreciate Alfred University's Confucius Institute for the great support and thank the Alfred Tai Chi group for giving us such a wonderful demonstration," said Ljungstrom Human Resources Manager Linda Bysiek. "It is a really good chance to let our company's employees know and understand Tai Chi culture."
"Tai Chi is a good way to strengthen our body and let us keep peaceful," commented Tai Chi group member Jazmin Tidrow.
Confucius Institute at Alfred University Hosts 3rd National Conference on Chinese Immersion Programs
On September 28, 2019, the 3rd National Conference on Chinese Immersion Programs was hosted by the Confucius Institute at Alfred University (CIAU). Nearly fifty experts, scholars and Chinese teachers attended the conference, coming from China, Canada and across the U.S. (California, Washington, Utah, Michigan, Maryland, New York, Vermont, Maine, and Washington, D.C.). The theme of this year’s conference was "Qualification, Cooperation and Innovation in Chinese Immersion Instruction".
Distinguished guests attending the opening and closing ceremonies of the conference in Nevins Theater, Powell Center, included Beth Ann Dobie, provost of Alfred University, Xulong Lai, Vice President of China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Nancy Furlong, Director of AU’s Division of Modern Languages, Daisy Wu, Director of CIAU, and Wilfred Huang, former Director of CIAU.
Provost Beth Ann Dobie reviewed the achievements of CIAU in recent years. She spoke highly of the tai chi classes, the guzheng ensemble, and Chinese classes for their roles in promoting mutual cultural understanding while building bridges and friendships. CIAU provides AU students and the community with many opportunities to learn about Chinese culture and language.
Professor Xulong Lai extended his congratulations to the conference participants and his gratitude for the efforts of CIAU. He said that China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) will continue to support the development of CIAU.
Keynote addresses were given by Dr. Guofang Li from the University of British Columbia; Dr. Juefei Wang, Professor Emeritus, University of Vermont, and Program Director of the Freeman Foundation; Dr. Wenying Zhou from Michigan State University; and Dr. Chan Lü from the University of Washington.
Dr. Li talked about "Culturally Relevant Chinese Immersion Teaching". Her address defined the concept of "culture" in immersion teaching and put forward the relevant principles of cultural teaching and its application in Chinese immersion teaching. She pointed out that Chinese teachers need to present appropriate Chinese elements and stories to American Chinese learners.
Dr. Wang’s topic was "Chinese Language Instruction in the United States: Conditions and Challenges". He began by discussing characteristics of the American educational system, reviewed the history of American foreign language teaching, and pointed out the two major challenges to Chinese teaching: educational funding and the level of faculty. He noted that the Confucius Institute and Chinese teachers should know the challenges, look for areas of improvement, and strive to make changes.
Dr. Lü gave a speech entitled "Academic Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension in a Chinese Immersion Program”. She shared data on Chinese immersion teaching in America and explained the Chinese vocabulary in combination with the characteristics of Chinese phonetic vocabulary and grammar.
In the afternoon, the attendees conducted in-depth and enthusiastic discussions on immersion Chinese teaching theory, classroom management, and cultural exchange. Several Chinese teachers shared their experiences regarding Chinese pedagogics and classroom management, music and games, and mind maps. For example, Eric Chipman from the Confucius Institute at the University of Utah introduced principles and specific teaching methods for combining listening, speaking, reading and writing with purposeful Chinese teaching. Yi Zhang, a Chinese teacher from the North Syracuse School District, talked about how to apply mind maps to Chinese immersion classes.
After the presentation sessions, Dr. Wenying Zhou gave a workshop entitled, "Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling". She believes that the most effective gateway to language acquisition is through fun. The key to fun is that the language elements taught are not only easy to understand, but also very interesting. She demonstrated the concept of "Total Physical Response" and its application, giving conference participants an opportunity to practice their storytelling skills.
In the evening, a concert, East Meets West, was held in Miller Theater. The guests, experts and teachers who attended the conference and many AU teachers and students came to the concert, as well as people living in surrounding communities.
Provost Beth Ann Dobie welcomed the audience to the program.
A Tai Chi fan performance kicked off the concert. Teachers and students from Geneva City School District performed the Chinese children's songs, Looking for a Friend and Counting Ducks. David Fuller from the guzheng class played a solo, Evening Songs on the Fishing Boat, followed by Swordsman from the AU Guzheng Ensemble. The lovely China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) Dance Troupe performed Why Are the Flowers So Red and Oriental Jasmine. AU Chinese students read a traditional Chinese poem, Drinking Wine. Famous folk music artists from New York City, Tao Chen and Li Liu, played a traditional guqin and bamboo flute piece, Flowing Waters. Tao Chen also delighted the audience with fascinating facts about the Chinese bamboo flute and a bit of history regarding New Song of the Herdsmen and Trace of Bamboo. Jialin Fang, a volunteer with CIAU, served as accompanist for him and for a violin duet arranged by Daisy Wu played by two Alfred-Almond Central School students, Candy Zhou and Isabel Metz. The AU Chorus’s renditions of Scarborough Fair, Usuli Boat Song and The Youth Dance brought the concert to a climax. The wonderful performances invoked enthusiastic applause, showing the harmony between Chinese and American music, as well as the appreciation of Chinese and American people for one another.
Alfred University Guzheng Ensemble performs at National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Three students comprising Alfred University’s Guzheng Ensemble performed before more than 200 guests on Sept. 14 during the 2019 Confucius Institute U.S. Center National Honors Gala.
The Guzheng Ensemble, under the direction of Daisy Wu, visiting professor of music and director of the Confucius Institute at Alfred University, performed at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Guzheng is a traditional Chinese stringed instrument. Members of the Ensemble who performed at the Gala were students David Fuller, Ty Heyden and Nellie Dennis. Fuller, an accounting major from Groton, NY, and Dennis, a psychology major from Buffalo, are seniors; Heyden, a sophomore from Mount Shasta, CA, is an art and design major.
Each year, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center celebrates the global education and cross-cultural exchange between the United States and China. The National Honors Gala will recognize the achievements and contributions of 10 outstanding Confucius Institute students from around the United States.
Guests at the Sept. 14 performance included distinguished academic and business leaders, educators, public officials, diplomats, media representatives, and artists. The Guzheng Ensemble, the only musical program that evening, was warmly received by the audience, Wu related.
"Our team's efforts have been well rewarded. I believe this trip was an excellent experience for all of our Guzheng Ensemble students, and their experiences can inspire other students," she said. "Alfred University is culturally diverse and student-centered. We are very proud of our Confucius Institute program. It has been serving our university community for 11 years to advance this mission and cherish the value of promoting global awareness, diversity, and creativity."
Alfred University is one of a very few colleges in the United States with a special curriculum in music education focused on Chinese musical instruments. In collaboration with the Confucius Institute at Alfred University, Alfred University's Division of Performing Arts has since 2010 offered a credit-bearing course, "Music of Guzheng," taught by Wu. In response to students' enthusiasm for guzheng, the University founded the Guzheng Ensemble in 2011 with Wu as its Artistic Director. Since then, more than two hundred Alfred University students have learned to play guzheng, and about 100 students have joined the Guzheng Ensemble.
Alfred University is the first U.S. college to offer the opportunity for students to learn guzheng and perform in a guzheng ensemble for credit. Sponsored by the Confucius Institute at Alfred University, the Guzheng Ensemble has given many successful concerts, not only on campus, but also at other cultural exchange events in the U.S. and even in China, where the group made its international debut in 2014. Alfred University's Guzheng Ensemble enjoys a great reputation. In 2014, the Ensemble participated in the Global Confucius Institute Chinese New Year Gala and won the third-place prize. In 2016 and 2019, the ensemble won Gold Medals at the New York Chinese Musical Instrument International Competition in New York City.
January - February
2019 Chinese New Year Gala at AU Knight Club
On February 8th, the Confucius Institute at Alfred University hosted its annual Chinese New Year Gala in the Knight Club. More than 300 people from Alfred University and surrounding communities attended the gala to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Pig.
Dragon Dance presented by AU students kicked off the Spring Festival Celebration at 5 p.m. After that, Meghan Dwyer, the assistant to AU Provost Dr. Rick Stephens, gave welcome remarks. She warmly extended her congratulations to Daisy Wu as the new director of CIAU as well as her best wishes to the guests for the coming year.
The Alfred Tai Chi class brought performances of Swimming Dragon and Swimming Dragon Fan. Afterward, folk dancer Haiqiu Ma displayed Chinese “Younger” dance. Also an 11-year-old boy amazed everyone with his Shaolin Kung Fu skills.
The highlight was the three Lucky Raffles inspired by a traditional Chinese New Year Red Envelope custom. Six winners received lucky money to start the new year off well.
The gala show ended with a classical Chinese song, “Usuli Boat Song” by AU Chorus. After the show, everyone enjoyed the bountiful and delicious Chinese food prepared by AU AVI.
The entertaining performance, delicious cuisine, and joyous atmosphere were enjoyed by all.
2019 Tai Chi Demonstration in Wellsville
On Feb. 2nd, Guifang Liu and Alfred Tai Chi group were invited to give a Tai Chi demonstration class at the David A. Howe Public Library in nearby Wellsville. This was one of the exciting 2019 spring festival activities supported by CIAU. More than 40 people participated in the Tai Chi class, including members from Theresa's Tai Chi class. Their demonstration was well received and informed residents bout Tai Chi.
Chinese Culture at the Hornell Public Library
On the afternoon of Feb. 19th, there was a celebration of Chinese culture in Hornell, a community close to Alfred. The Chinese Director of CIAU, Dr. Jijun Yu, led a team to visit Hornell Public Library at the invitation of Margaret Potter who is in charge of the children's department at the library.
The library was beautifully decorated with lanterns and Chinese knots since the event happened to fall on the Chinese Lantern Festival. The audience warmed up by dancing with the folk dancer Ma. The young kids and their parents greatly enjoyed demonstrations of traditional dresses, cheongsam (Qipao) and Han Chinese dress (Hanfu). Afterward, everyone got involved in traditional Chinese papercutting. The young kids were amazed to find themselves making paper cutting artworks 春, which means “spring”. And finally, everyone learned to speak Chinese in groups. The highlight was the demonstration of the traditional Chinese New Year Red Envelope. The young kids were so excited to receive red envelopes with Chinese coins inside to enrich their collections.
The event ended with warm greetings and goodbyes in Chinese after two lovely hours. The participants were very grateful for the beautiful program.
The meeting consisted of three sessions. After Prof. Jijun Yu, Chinese Director of CIAU, gave an overall review of CIAU’s work during the past six months, the teachers from the four school districts reported and shared their teaching, cultural presentations, and community service. All the teachers showed their patience, teamwork, and specific teaching strategies both inside and outside the classroom. Prof. Daisy Wu, Director of CIAU, concluded the morning session by talking about the upcoming work plan for 2019.
In the afternoon, two workshops were hosted by Ms. Wang and Ms. Zhang, focusing on those challenging aspects in classroom management, teaching methods, and multicultural communications for the teachers. Everyone was actively involved in sharing their successful experience, which helped each other in their daily teaching and life.
In the evening, Daisy Wu and Prof. Yu interviewed the teachers. They asked the teachers about their difficulties, and encouraged them work together for a better new year.
Bishop Kearney High School
This was the first time for the school to celebrate the Chinese New Year. It took two days to celebrate the festival. On February 5th, 11 Chinese class students threw a Chinese New Year party. They enjoyed fun games in the Chinese classroom, including fun ping-pong, chopsticks game, number guessing, paper-cutting, calligraphy, shuttlecock kicking competition, Chinese culture trivia, lucky draw and other activities. Those who completed 6 activities were awarded a package of spicy dry tofu and a red envelope (with Chinese knot inside). The principal and some teachers also participated in the games. The game judges were five Chinese international students from the school. Both the Chinese and American teachers and students celebrated the 2019 Spring Festival together in a festive atmosphere.
On February 6th, we invited the students all over the school to celebrate the New Year in the Chinese classroom. They played three games: pin-pong, shuttlecock, and chopsticks.
Ms. Tao, the Chinese teacher, sent 30 New Year cards for the teachers of the school, when they joined in the Chinese New Year celebration in her classroom.
Geneva City School District
On January 29th, CIAU teacher Ms. Ding, told the story of Chinese animal zodiac to the Chinese Immersion 2nd graders at Geneva North Street School. After they knew that the year 2019 was the Year of the Pig, every student made a pig handcraft. Meanwhile, they also wrote the greetings in Chinese, such as, “Happy New Year”, “May you be happy and Prosperous”, and “Good Luck”.
Before Chinese New Year’s Eve, the students learned about the Chinese legend on what people did to scare away the monster “Nian” to celebrate the new year, by hanging on red lanterns, putting on couplets on doors, making paper-cutting and so on. They also experienced these traditions and every student had a wonderful time.
On February 5th, the Chinese New Year’s Day, Ms. Ding cooked the dumplings by herself for Chinese Immersion 2nd graders. The assistant principal, teachers and students gathered together to celebrate the Chinese New Year in her class. They also learned how to use chopsticks and found it really fun. They loved the dumplings so much. One of the students, Francis asked, “Ding Laoshi, can we eat the dumplings once every week?”
At the same time, Ms. Ding gave lucky money to every student. They were very excited to open their red envelope and find real Chinese money in it. Every student knew that those who received a red envelope are blessed with another safe, peaceful, and lucky year. They show great enthusiasm for the tradition of the Chinese New Year.
On Valentine’s Day, Ms. Ding’s class learned about Chinese Valentine’s Day. They listened to the Legend of Love and were deeply moved by the story of the Cowherd (Niulang) and Girl-weaver (Zhinv). They compared American Valentine’s Day and the Chinese version. Finally, they made Valentine’s gifts to their loved ones, with “I love you” written in Chinese on them.
Since Chinese New Year was coming, on January 25th, Ms. Mengqi Gu told her students the story of Chinese zodiac sign. Students were interested in this story and excited to figure out their own zodiac signs. They also learned how to say the names of the twelve animals in Chinese. To help students remember these words well, Ms. Gu taught her students to sing the song of Chinese zodiac sign and students loved it so much that they sang the song all the time. One of the students even said that he couldn’t stop singing this song because it was just in his head all day.
On February 5th, Ms. Gu told the story of the monster “Nian” and the students were interested in this story. They learned that the monster “Nian” was afraid of three things, which are the color red, loud noises and bright light. After listening to the story, students drew a picture about the story of the monster “Nian” and even made “Fu” to scare “Nian” away.
On February 6th, Ms. Gu received a New Year card from her student Calla, which was made by Calla herself. Calla designed the card with Chinese characters “Happy New Year”, and wrote down her Chinese name at the bottom. Every character she wrote is so clear and neat.
It was on February 7th that the school district held the Chinese New Year Night. Ms. Gu’s students were so excited on that day. They asked her again and again “Is it Chinese New Year tonight?”
At that night, the students came to the auditorium in North Street School to celebrate Chinese New Year together. They wore their red clothes and their pig head bands. They had a lot of fun.
As the Spring Festival was around the corner, Ms. Song decorated the Chinese wall with many lovely pink piggy handcrafts in the middle since it was the year of the pig this year. Everybody could figure out their zodiac animal with a zodiac circle there. And the different colors and shapes of lanterns showed a happy year it would be.
These days our kids loved singing Chinese songs like Gongxi Gongxi (Wish you joy and happiness) when they colored the pictures. Every time they sing and dance with the video, I feel so glad to see that they immerse themselves into the songs.
We had a completely different Valentine’s Day on February 14th this year. In the eyes of kindergarteners, anybody and anything they love will be their Valentines: their parents, friends, teachers, pets, plants, etc. They can show their love by means of words, gifts, and help to their valentines. Some kids said they would be good helpers to their mums when they saw mums cooking. That is really great to have this kind of Valentine’s Day.
January and February are the time for the new year celebration. So Ms. Na Wang made a special teaching design, including watching some videos about the legends of Chinese New Year, some programs for kids in the Spring Festival Gala, introducing some new year food, such as dumplings and noodles, learning to sing Happy New Year in Mandarin, and speaking new year typical Chinese greetings: “Gongxi” (Wish you joy and happiness), “xinnian kuaile” (Happy New Year).
Geneva school district holds a Chinese New Year Celebration annually, and this year’s celebration fell on Feb. 7th, a paws night at North Street School. The principal assistant of NSS, Heather, had us Mandarin teachers get together to discuss how to make preparations for the celebration several times in January. The school district provided such support as the event locations and volunteers, and we Mandarin teachers had to do the rest. With the help of CIAU, we successfully made a 2-hour long celebration, with more than 300 attendees from the school district and the community. Fingerlakes Times, the local media, made a special report on the celebration.
On Feb. 1st, Ms. Zhang taught the Chinese characters about zodiac animals, and the 3rd and 4th graders watched a video about the story of the 12 animals. Ms. Zhang asked the students some questions after they finished watching it. Students showed great interest in it, and discussed the questions actively.
On Feb. 2nd, Ms. Zhang put the Chinese characters on the word walls in 4 different immersion Chinese classrooms. Classroom 102 attracted both students and teachers, who stopped by to figure out their own zodiac animals. The word walls became very popular.
Ms. Zhang decorated her classroom for the Chinese Spring Festival. On the New Year’s Eve, she invited her students to give their best wishes to the Chinese friends in Chinese through a social media application called Wechat. All the students enjoyed their time very much.
On Feb. 7th, Mrs. Zhang led students to perform a program in the school auditorium. The 3rd and 4th graders wore beautiful clothes and sang two songs: “Washing in the morning” and “Happy New Year”. Their lovely performance won applause from the audience.
On Feb. 15th, Ms. Zhang invited the 3rd and 4th graders to play Ping-pong and tasted Chinese dumplings made by herself. All the students were so excited and happy that they all enjoyed the cultural experience a lot. They told Ms. Zhang that they wanted to do it again.
From February 4th to 8th, the two Chinese teachers brought K-6th grade students a different cultural experience in each class, by making pink piggy handcrafts, paper-cutings for window decoration, the Chinese character "spring", painting ink pigs, writing Chinese calligraphy, making red envelopes, tasting Chinese snacks, etc.
On February 13th, the two teachers, with the help of Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Daby and Ms. Wilson, launched a variety of workshops for the Spring Festival cultural experience in high school. The activities included tasting Chinese food, making red envelopes, and playing table tennis, badminton, mahjong, checkers and shuttlecock, chopstick competition, paper-cutting, calligraphy and more.
North Syracuse Central School District
Chinese New Year Month officially began in January. All the students were very excited for this month's colorful activities, which would get them closer to the Chinese traditional culture.
The students also learned about the traditional customs of the animal zodiac and learned more about Chinese culture.
On February 4th, the Chinese New Year's Eve, the 5th and 6th graders of Gillette Road Middle School celebrated Chinese New Year in the gym together, enjoying paper cutting, using chopsticks, doing calligraphy and playing shuttlecock. The event lasted whole day long, with about 200 students and teachers involved. Mrs. Norton, the head of the Chinese program of the North Syracuse School District, and Mr. Leahey, the principal of Gillette Middle School, visited the event and experienced Chinese culture. Through this activity, teachers and students shared the joy of the Spring Festival, the most important holiday in Chinese culture. At the same time, American teachers and students learned more about traditional Chinese festivals and culture.
On February 13th and 15th, the 5th and 6th graders in Roxboro Road Middle School celebrated the Chinese Lantern Festival together. The students learned about the New Year and Lantern Festival customs, showed their Chinese works, and took part in a series of fun activities. They enjoyed red envelopes, chopsticks, sugar-cutting, paper-cutting, lanterns, riddles, face painting, and Chinese calligraphy. We also designed the lucky raffle of the lucky star on the spot. The students as well as some teachers and staff visited and participated in the event. The assistant principal Ms. Costello came to our celebration during her busy schedule, and pushed the celebration to a climax by drawing lucky prizes for the lucky star students.
On February 14th, we were invited by Ms. Green, the teacher of Roxboro Road Elementary School to talk about the Chinese New Year culture to the third graders. After the children learned about the story of the Nian (Year), they made Chinese lanterns. All the children are absorbed in the legendary charm of Chinese culture and the joy of the Chinese New Year.
On January 14th, CIAU teachers Ms. Yun Wang and Ms. Baike Zhang visited North Syracuse School District for a workshop. They talked about how to do the culture and history presentations in social studies classes, focusing on what and how to present. Thanks to their workshop, when we started our culture presentations to the 6th graders in February, the rich teaching contents and lively teaching methods received warm welcome and high praise from both students and teachers.