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English classes to add local culture

By Zhao Xinying | China Daily | Updated: 2018-01-13 14:20

Scholars, experts and business leaders involved in English-language education in China who gathered at an annual meeting of the industry in Beijing on Friday agreed to make joint efforts to boost the spread and passing along of traditional culture among the country's youth.

It was the fourth time the meeting was held. It was hosted by China Daily's 21st Century English Education Media.

More than 200 English-language educators and business leaders from across the country attended the meeting, where they shared views on how ancient Chinese literature such as poetry has gained popularity not only among young Chinese but also globally in recent years.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, emphasized in his report to the 19th CPC National Congress the importance of innovating in and keeping alive traditional Chinese culture in the new era, particularly among young generations.

Gu Mingyuan, honorary chairman of the Chinese Society of Education, who was unable to be present at the meeting, said in a congratulatory letter that against such a backdrop, the heritage and innovation in traditional Chinese culture are among the foremost goals for English education in China.

"It will rely greatly on English educators to integrate traditional Chinese culture into English education, and to help young students fully understand our own culture while learning the English language and culture well," the 89-year-old educator said in the letter.

At the meeting, a lifetime achievement award was presented to Xu Yuanchong, a renowned translator in China and a professor of English at Peking University. Xu, 96, received the award for his years of effort and devotion to translating English and French literature classics into Chinese and Chinese classics into English. Also at the meeting, 21st Century English Education Media launched a contest together with Swedish company EF Education First.

The contest, from March through August, invites primary, middle and high school students ages 6 to 18 across the country to participate in activities such as reciting the English translations of ancient Chinese poems and doing presentations on traditional Chinese culture.

"By organizing the annual meeting and the contest, we hope to make some contributions to the development of English education in China. Also, we hope to help nurture talent with Chinese sensibilities, global vision and the ability to communicate among different cultures," Qu Yingpu, deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily, said.

Bai Jiaoyu, president of Kids & Teens at EF Education First China, said apart from hosting the contest combining the learning of English with traditional Chinese culture, EF also works with experts to develop courses that guide young people to use English to understand and appreciate Chinese ancient poetry.


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