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Event praised for improving dialogue

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2018-07-23 07:49

Conference provides stage for communication and connections

Qu Yingpu (center left), China Daily's deputy editor-in-chief, hands the hosting rights for the 2019 assembly to Zhuo Chao, deputy director of the publicity department of the Hangzhou Committee of the Communist Party of China. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

The 2018 TESOL China Assembly in Shanghai, intended to strengthen dialogue in English education and exchanges between China and the rest of the world, concluded on Sunday, winning great acclaim from leading education experts and other participants.

The event gathered the latest concepts and practices in the field of English-language education from across the world and offered contributions and wisdom from frontline Chinese teachers and educators to the world, experts said.

The event, which had the theme "English Education in China: Striding into a New Era", was attended by more than 1,800 English teachers and experts from home and abroad.

It was hosted by the TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) International Association, an organization in the United States that is committed to promoting excellence in English-language teaching, China Daily and Shanghai International Studies University.

At the closing ceremony on Sunday, Christopher Powers, executive director at the association, said, "By focusing on cultivating students' intercultural communication capabilities, the assembly itself serves as a stage for communication and connection to bridge language, cultural and geographical divides."

Next year, the assembly will be held in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, which hosted the G20 Summit in 2016 and will host the 2022 Asian Games.

"The high-end and highly international TESOL China Assembly tallies with the positioning and industrial development of Hangzhou," said Zhuo Chao, deputy director of the publicity department of the Hangzhou Committee of the Communist Party of China.

"We anticipate that more people skilled in the English language will choose Hangzhou as a work destination to promote the development of local English education, elevate the city's image regarding internationalization and help realize the goal of becoming a world-class cultural city with its own characteristics and charm."

The closing ceremony included a declaration to better spread the event's achievements and provide sustainable action to inject impetus into English education in China in the new era.

During the assembly, nearly 100 activities covering 15 topics - including English education and whole-person development, education policy, information-based foreign language teaching and teacher training and development - were held in various forms, such as keynote speeches, seminars, workshops and classroom teaching demonstrations.

Experts said it was a historic breakthrough that such a large-scale TESOL assembly was held in China.

"Teachers brought together their research results, especially the most cutting-edge ideas, teaching examples, and even examples of confusion, and looked for solutions," said Gong Yafu, director-general of the National Association of Foreign Language Education at the Chinese Society of Education, who has more than 30 years' experience as an English teacher.

Mei Deming, a professor of English and linguistics at Shanghai International Studies University, said that it was significant that the assembly worked as a platform to allow English-language educators in China to understand the world and vice versa.

"Only in this way will we better promote communication between China and other countries and raise foreign-language education in China to a new level," he said.

Participants said the assembly was a good opportunity to get a wide variety of English teachers together, and they believed some of the experiences shared at the conference would be taken back to their respective schools.

Zhao Juan, a teacher at Tangshan Kailuan No 2 High School in Hebei province, said she was most inspired by a professor who said in a lecture that if some students doze off in class, teachers should ask themselves if they have done enough to motivate those students.

"He suggested activities such as inviting one student to express an English word with body language while another tried to guess the meaning as a way to optimize learning in class. I will definitely try this method in my classroom when I return," she said.


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