On July 16, 2015, "the Fifth Forum on the Cultivation of International Chinese Teachers" was held in Beijing, with the theme of "refined cultivation". More than 100 experts, teachers, and graduates from domestic and international education institutions, colleges, and universities in China, Hong Kong SAR, Taiwan, the UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam participated in the forum.
Vice President of the Open University of China (OUC) Liu Chen and head of Teaching Resources of Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) Yang Jincheng attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches. Liu Chen introduced the achievements of the OUC in the three years since its founding, in particular its exploration of "Internet and education" in the application of “Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages”. In the second decade of its development, the Confucius Institute will continue to leverage its own advantages to explore new methods for the construction of the Confucius Institute by cooperating with global open universities and other distance educational institutions, and provide Chinese language and culture education services and support to overseas Chinese learners and institutions through distance education means. In addition, with the help of information technology, the OUC will continue to build a communication platform for the cause of international Chinese education and its promotion, so as to contribute to the enhancement of China's soft power.
Yang Jincheng introduced Hanban’s recent efforts in the cultivation and training of international Chinese teachers. He pointed out that, in terms of the present development of international Chinese education, it is necessary to discuss "refined cultivation" throughout the whole process of the cultivation and training of international Chinese teachers. He added that, if the "accreditation, accumulation, and transfer system for learning outcomes in national continuing education" project (otherwise known as the credit bank project) undertaken by the OUC can be applied to the training of teachers on a national level, this would be very significant.
The forum consisted of a series of forums with "The cultivation of international Chinese teachers" as a core theme. Since 2011, five such forums have been successfully held, and the theme of each session has been deepened along with the development of international Chinese education. The theme of the first forum was "The cultivation of teachers under the new situation of international Chinese education". The forum discussed the training orientation of and training methods for international Chinese teachers. The second forum further explored key issues, such as standards, methods, and localization in the cultivation of international Chinese teachers, with the theme of "The cultivation of international Chinese teachers". The theme of the third forum was "Diversity, innovation, and reflection", reflecting on the cultivation concept of international Chinese teachers. The theme of this session of the forum was cutting-edge and distinctive. The fourth forum was a small-scale senior seminar, with the theme of "Deepening, optimizing, and strengthening the reform and development of the cultivation of the international Chinese teachers". 30 famous industry experts, scholars, and leaders were invited to attend the forum. They exchanged views on three issues: studying international Chinese educators; localizing the cultivation of international Chinese teachers; and curriculum setting and cultivation methods for international Chinese teachers. On the basis of the preceding four seminars and under the new situation of the continuous development of international Chinese education, the fifth forum adhered to the core theme of the cultivation of teachers, with "Refined cultivation" as its driving inspiration, deeply exploring the problems present in the process of cultivating international Chinese teachers to adapt to the diverse needs of international Chinese teaching for different international Chinese teachers, and promoting the development of international Chinese education.
Echoing the forum’s theme of "Refined cultivation", five scholars from different regions and fields were invited to give related keynote reports. Professor Jiang Liping from Beijing Language and Culture University introduced their experience of training three kinds of teachers (international Chinese educators, overseas teachers to receive training in China, and volunteer teachers) under the Standards for Chinese Teachers for Speakers of Other Languages and proposed a means for the reconstruction of capabilities for international Chinese teachers and the cultivation of international Chinese teachers. Two scholars from Vietnam and the United States put forward their own views on the localized cultivation of international Chinese teachers and corresponding solutions based on the situation in their own countries. In view of the fact that international Chinese teachers in Vietnam are insufficient to meet the increasing demand for Chinese teaching, Professor Ruan Huangying from Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU) gave suggestions on training content and training methods, so as to ensure the sustainable development of Chinese teaching in Vietnam. Taking the Confucius Institute in the United States as an example, Professor Liu Meiru from Portland State University made an in-depth analysis and exploration of the education of international Chinese teachers, including further training, professional development, and a teacher certification model. Her analysis provided food for thought on the professional development of international Chinese teachers and the establishment of a professional training model. Professor Guo Xi from Jinan University made a speech entitled Rethinking the Diversity of Chinese Teaching, which outlined the types of Chinese teaching, discussed the diversity of overseas Chinese teaching in terms of school system, model, students, requirements, teachers, and teaching methods, and then put forward methods to address the diversity of overseas Chinese teaching. Deputy Director of the OUC Credit Bank Management Office (Learning Outcomes Accreditation Centre) Yan Xiaoping introduced "Accreditation, accumulation, and transfer system for learning outcomes in national continuing education" project and shared his ideas about it. Yan Xiaoping mentioned that the credit bank enabled the integration of the learning outcomes of degree and non-degree education, which is particularly significant in the promotion of the cultivation of local Chinese teachers overseas. Four sub-themes were also discussed and studied in this forum: “Studying the sustainable development of international Chinese education”, “Studying the cultivation of international Chinese teachers”, “Studying the objects of international Chinese education”, and “Evaluating the professional development and capabilities of an international Chinese teacher”. The most prominent point put forward by the forum is that the number of research papers on local situations （including the local situations in the overseas countries and the local situations in China）has increased dramatically, accounting for nearly a third of all papers delivered. Several articles studied school-based situations or schools with distinctive features. During the forum, several trends in global Chinese education development came to light through the discussions on the cultivation of international Chinese teachers. Firstly, Chinese international education is seeing a solid, steady rise. Secondly, the cultivation of international Chinese teachers is oriented towards "refined cultivation". Thirdly, the cultivation of international Chinese teachers is being studied in a more profound and refined manner. We are glad to see such a phenomenon.
Based on feedback from the previous forums, this year’s forum set up a new technology application "workshop" for current graduate student and young teachers. The forum organization committee invited the project team from the writing guide for international Chinese textbooks, and introduced the "Writing guide platform for international Chinese textbooks", newly developed by Hanban, a one-stop self-service platform for the teaching and learning of the Chinese language, integrating "compiling, learning, teaching, reading, checking, reviewing, and purchasing", and providing guidance and services for Chinese language teachers and learners around the world. The "MyEChinese Intelligent Teaching Cloud Space" developed by the Chinese Language Centre (CLC) at the OUC integrates a web page, online teaching, and teaching affairs administration into one, providing rich Chinese teaching and learning resources, and resolves a range of problems encountered in the daily teaching process in a friendly and convenient manner. The "E-pen micro-courses" program (using a dot matrix digital pen to record micro-courses) demonstrated by Bell&Horn Education and Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. leverages an e-pen to record digital micro-video courses in a traditional method that is familiar to the teachers i.e. without changing the traditional writing mode and without interrupting their original teaching thought process. The forum not only gave the audience a chance to learn the course; it also allowed them to practice using it onsite. The audience said that the workshop was practical and distinctive.
Inspired by the spirit of "cooperation, service, openness, and sharing", the "Forum on the Cultivation of International Chinese Teachers" provides a public platform for the practitioners, teachers, experts, and scholars of Chinese international education to conduct industry exchanges, academic research, and project cooperation. With the Internet as source of strength, the forum aims to promote the sustainable development of Chinese international education.