The 19th International Conference on Chinese Language Teaching in Higher Education hosted by the Online Confucius Institute at The Open University was successfully held between 24th- 25th June at the OU’s Milton Keynes campus.
The two-day conference was jointly organised by the British Chinese Language Teaching Society and the Online Confucius Institute at The Open University. The hybrid conference offered both online and in-person attendance, attracting over 100 participants who attended from the UK, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Germany, Israel, Belgium, Switzerland, Russia, the USA and Australia. Amongst them, 35 delegates attended the OU campus in-person despite the travel difficulties caused by a rail strike.
The conference was opened by Regine Hampel, Director of Research in the School of Languages and Applied Languages and attended by the OU Director of the Online Confucius Institute Dr Kan Qian, Chinese Director Professor Hou Yiling and Professor Rosina Marquez-Reiter, Head of the School of Languages and Applied Languages.
The main theme of the conference was "Creativity in Chinese language teaching and learning in challenging times - research and practice", with four keynote speakers giving stimulating talks around this theme. The keynote speaker sessions were as follows:
The conference also featured eight sub-themes including Creativity and Technology, Creativity and Language Teachers, Creativity and Language Teaching, Artificial Intelligence Technology and Teaching, Linguistics of Chinese as a Foreign Language, Creativity in Different Classrooms, Teacher Development and Curriculum Creativity. 34 researchers and practitioners presented on these topics with in-person and online delegates actively participating in the interactive Q&A sessions. Finally there were ten poster presentations. The full programme with the abstracts and the best poster presentations can be viewed here.
The conference came to a successful end with Dr Kan giving a closing speech to thank all the delegates and the organising committee. She also thanked the International Society for Chinese Language Teaching, the China Affairs Committee of the British Universities under the UK-China Association and Cypress Books for their sponsorship of the conference.
Dr Shi Lijing, Chair of the British Chinese Language Teaching Society said, "This is the first time we have used a 'mixed online and offline' model to organise such a large-scale academic event. Thank you all for your input, help, support and participation! A conference is like a multitude of rivers of ideas meeting at cross-purposes and each running lively towards their own goals, may this short exchange give everyone inspiration and be creative in your teaching."
The conference was well received by delegates. Dr Wang Liang, Head of Chinese Language Programme at Queen's University said, "It was really great to be able to resume the annual offline conference after two years and to innovatively use a combination of online and offline methods!". Dr. Xiang Hua, Director of the East Asian Languages Programme and Director of the Confucius Institute at the London School of Economics, said, "This annual conference is the first BCLTS online and offline conference, fully reflecting the technological power of the host university, the Open University, and the academic enthusiasm of Chinese language teachers and researchers across the UK! We warmly celebrate the success of the annual conference and hope to meet again in the coming year!”. Chen Zhiqiong, who used to tutor at OU and is now a Chinese language teacher at the University of Warwick Language Centre said "I felt particularly happy to attend this conference, besides the academic exchange, coming back to OU campus, meeting familiar faces, made me feel warm and special."