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【祝贺】北京对外汉语人俱乐部会员赵岩接受《环球时报》英文版专访

(2010-11-25 10:00:04)
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分类: 会员风采

【祝贺】北京对外汉语人俱乐部会员赵岩接受《环球时报》英文版专访

讲述他在国外的青葱岁月,讲述他回国后的心路历程~~

另:老赵那张照片像知青了~

 

Building a language pyramid

  • Source: Global Times
  • [08:14 November 23 2010]
  • Comments



Zhao Yan (fifth from left) and his Egyptian students. Photo: Courtesy of Zhao Yan

By Liu Meng

Zhao Yan, 28, is building on his two years' experience teaching in Egypt by running a culture media company in Beijing, aiming to promote exchange between the two countries.

"I love that land and want to strengthen my ties with Egypt," he said.

Zhao's Egypt experience begins at Suez Canal University in Ismailia working as a volunteer in 2007 with China National Office, an agency that teaches Chinese as a foreign language.

After graduating from Heilongjiang University in 2005, he had been at a loss as to his future. It was not until he read a well-known quote by Che Guevara - I set foot on a road longer than my memory, and what accompanies me is the loneliness of a pilgrim - did he decide to go abroad and see the world.

"Che traveled through Latin America in his 20s. I also wanted to step out and see different countries," he said.

Zhao attributes his ability to quickly adapt to Egypt to his one year of hard living in Mongolia, which was his first teaching experience abroad.

"I went with another man and woman to Mongolia to teach Chinese in 2006. I remembered that there was neither a bed nor a door in the three rooms we lived in, and the lady burst into tears the first day we arrived. One night after class, we were robbed on the way back home," he said. "After that year, I don't think there is any difficulty I can't overcome."

Teaching tones

Zhao said that Egyptians' kindness to Chinese people and his students' enthusiasm for learning Chinese were beyond his expectations. He said that in recent years, there have been more students applying to learn Chinese at the university than spots available, which are about 200 every year.

Due to the difference in Arabic and Chinese writing systems, elementary-level classes pose a real challenge for Egyptian students.

"At the beginning, many students write Chinese characters from right to left out of habit from Arabic," he said. "A complicated character is just like a picture to them."

Zhao also explained how students from different countries grapple with the tonal element of Chinese in different ways. Egyptian students tend to pronounce everything in a falling tone, while Mongolian students handle the falling-rising tone well but not the rising one.

"When teaching them the four tones, I feel like I'm leading a band. The classroom is filled with happiness and laughter," Zhao said.

For more advanced students, Zhao introduced them to simple but popular Chinese songs and gave them the lyrics in phonetic pinyin to practice.

One day as Zhao was walking he heard a very famous Chinese song "Lanhuacao" coming from a shop, which really surprised him. He later found out that the owner was uncle of one of his students.

"My student brought the song I taught to his uncle's shop," he said. "I was proud and really touched."

Super students

The best thing for Zhao is to see his students improve. Hoda, a girl he taught at Suez Canal University, won the "Mandarin Star" Chinese Speaking Competition For International Students in Beijing this year.

As a devout Muslim, she didn't want to participate in the "talent show" portion of the competition, which is generally made up of singing or dancing. 

In order to help her have a more competitive edge, Zhao wrote an article for her based on the true story of Bai Fangli, who donated 350,000 yuan ($52,710) to fund more than 300 students from poor families to go to school, all of which he earned driving a pedicab in Tianjin.

"Hoda's performance moved the audience to tears," said Zhao. "I was her first Chinese teacher in Egypt and taught her for two years. Seeing her tremendous improvement, I am so satisfied."

Zhao sees working as a volunteer Chinese teacher is a bridge connecting China with the rest of the world.

"Walking on the street, kids ask me to do Kung fu, or ask why I don't have a waist-length pigtail like men in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), I realized the significance of promoting our culture," he said.

Zhao's company is now coproducing a China-themed program with an Egyptian TV station.

"The Arabic language show invites Egyptians to China, and takes them to famous scenic spots such as Beijing hutongs, or invites them to try famous dishes like Peking roast Duck," he said. "It mixes Chinese culture with familiar faces. I am sure it will be popular in Egypt."

 

http://life.globaltimes.cn/life/2010-11/595654.html

 

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