North Texas Daily

UNT partners with Confucius Insitute

UNT partners with Confucius Insitute

September 03
23:37 2009

By Carolyn Brown / Senior Staff Writer –

People who wonder what Confucius, dragon boats and Pink Floyd have in common may soon find out.

The three topics comprise one of several workshops offered this month through a partnership of the UNT history department and the University of Texas at Dallas’ Confucius Institute.

The two groups are hosting the workshops to help middle and high school teachers learn to use Chinese history and culture in the classroom.

The Confucius Institute was established by China Three Gorges University and the University of Texas at Dallas in 2007. The institute is part of an international network of partnerships intended to help promote a better understanding of China’s culture, according to the institute’s Web site.

The institute offers training and certification for teachers, Chinese language and culture courses, and workshops and programs for Advanced Placement courses.

Harold Tanner of the UNT history department is directing the workshops. He will also present or co-present at three of them, including “Strange Bedfellows: Confucius, Dragon Boats, and Pink Floyd.”

The workshops are part of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia, a program funded by a grant from the Freeman Foundation to encourage the teaching of Asian culture.

Learning about China is particularly important now because of its role as a powerful growing economy and United States trade partner, Tanner said.

“I want them to take away some perspective on Chinese culture and history that they can incorporate in their classrooms,” he said.

Jessica Heaston, an economics junior who is working on the events, said about 30 people signed up for the first workshop, and the program has a capacity of about 90 people. Although the program is targeted at secondary school teachers, it is open to the public, she said.

“We get a lot of teachers. They like to go because it’s free and they get teaching materials,” Heaston said.

She said teachers who attend will receive a certificate of completion, but will not be awarded continuing education credit from UNT. However, some individual districts may choose to give teachers their own credits.

“What’s always fun is to see what kind of questions the participants have,” Tanner said. “The professors enjoy interacting with the teachers, and they don’t have to grade them afterward.”

The workshops will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 12, Oct. 3, Nov. 14 and Dec. 12 at the Confucius Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas, in Richardson.

A three-hour workshop will also be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 7 at the Confucius Institute.

The workshops are free, but participants must register at least four days in advance.

The events will include free parking and a free continental breakfast and lunch.

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