I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to further my language studies, so when I heard about a more free-flowing, conversational language practice format being hosted by the Confucius Institute, I wanted to have a look.
So today I attended a session of the Ateneo Confucius Chinese Talking Club, a free Chinese language learning session that they started last January 23 where they play games and activities to practice Chinese. Here’s the poster.
Every session has a topic and a set of activities related to the topic. In today’s session, we talked about Chinese traditional wedding customs and folklore in the form of some Youtube videos (ironically, the service is banned in China) and a storybook. The facilitator guided the discussion in the form of questions and we even had a wedding ceremony roleplay!
So while it wasn’t a completely free form discussion, there were plenty of opportunities to just converse and make embarassing mistakes, two ingredients that I believe to be essential in really building language competence.
It’s nice that they’re experimenting with new ways to engage people in language learning in addition to the usual (and often boring) mainstays of lecture, tests, and field trips. After all, no amount of studying and passive learning can be a substitute for conversation.
That’s exactly why I established a Chinese practice meetup group in 2013. The same reason drives me to join these opportunities. Not to mention spy a little bit and learn what activities I can adopt in my own group.
If you’re looking to sharpen the old saw, improve your Chinese, and meet interesting people, then meetup groups and practice sessions like these should be part of your language learning arsenal.
See you in the next sessions!