On January 23, 2016, all the staff members of the Confucius Institute at the University of Saskatchewan attended the exchange and training programs held by the Confucius Institute at the University of Regina. The Confucius Institute at the University of Regina invited Prof. Hong Zhang from Binghamton University, USA to give a training program entitled “Teaching Chinese through Songs.”
Prof. Zhang is currently a tenured instructor of Chinese and an associate faculty member of Music at Binghamton University. As an ambassador of spreading Chinese language and music, Prof. Zhang has held a number of teacher training lectures, speeches and concerts.
In the course of the training, Prof. Zhang explained the relationship between singing songs and teaching languages. She emphasized that singing is a higher form of verbal communication and emotional expression. The benefits of teaching languages through songs lie in its facilitating functions in diction, expression, fluency and memorization. Different forms of singing such as solo, chorus, antiphonal singing, group sing and concerts can all help create a relaxing atmosphere for the students to learn Chinese language and experience Chinese culture.
In the following interactional period, Prof. Zhang carried out a model teaching. Selecting six Chinese songs as the teaching materials, she taught the audience how to practice the five singing factors: breathing, mouth-opening, smiling, connecting and expressing. All the audience were deeply involved in the training and learned the Chinese songs “High Green Mountain”, “Girl of Daban Town”, etc.
At the end of the training, the two directors from the Confucius Institute at the University of Saskatchewan presented gifts to the Confucius Institute at the University of Regina as well as to Prof. Hong Zhang, as congratulation to the success of the training and exchange program.