On a sunny November Saturday, University lecturers Gao Mingming and Kirsi Wallinheimo from the University of Helsinki held insightful presentations about language teaching. Audience was also greeted by first secretary Gao Yuhang from the Chinese embassy in Finland, with some encouraging words about studying Chinese as a foreign language.
Gao Mingming´s presentation title was “Some Issues concerning teaching Chinese Overseas”. She shed light on the differences between teaching Chinese overseas and teaching Chinese in China for the foreign students, for example in their reasons of studying the language, curriculum and school systems.
Gao also introduced the latest developments in the linguistic research of the Chinese language, which included the new thinking of how the tones should be presented. Chinese tones are not anymore seen as four different tones but more as a system of three heights for the tone; high, middle and low.
The title of Kirsi Wallinheimo’s presentation was “Adding Value in Chinese Language Education in Finland “Challenges and Possibilities in Implementation of the Curriculum in Language Education”, which gave insight into the new curriculum in the perspective of language education.
Wallinheimo crystallized the new curriculum to the three main points: securing the necessary knowledge and skills with the encouragement to learn, learning outside the classroom and using the technology as well as diversity in the learning assessment. She also emphasized the importance of the different methods for different languages, different topics for different ages and how important is learning by doing.
Last, she gave teachers a group task where they had to prepare a lesson for their students by using the new curriculum innovatively. They came up with the most creative ways of teaching, just as a role play including soldiers who give commands to each other, so that students can practice locality words and grammar in a memorable way.