10 November 2021

Online Chinese Language Learning and Teaching During COVID-19 and Its Potential Impacts - Challenges and Opportunities

The Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield successfully held the next talk in its annual China Seminar Series: Online Chinese Language Learning and Teaching during COVID-19 and Its Potential Impacts - Challenges and Opportunities

China Seminar Series 10 Nov 2021

The outbreak and the continued presence of COVID-19 have undoubtedly sped up in Chinese as foreign language learning and teaching (CFL) the use and understanding of online technologies and virtual learning environment (VLE). While there are many discussions and events on dealing with online learning and teaching problems encountered during the COVID-19, there does not seem to be enough forward-thinking nor much attention on its potential impacts on CFL.

It can be anticipated that both Chinese language learning and teaching will not simply return to where it was when students and teacher return to their classroom. This talk aims to discuss and explore both challenges and opportunities for CLE, during as well as post the pandemic, and significant impacts that the CFL experiences during the COVID would have on CLE in terms of its practices and the development as an academic discipline.


On the 10 November 2021, the Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield hosted the next talk in its annual China Seminar Series. The topic of the talk was "Online Chinese Language Learning and Teaching During COVID-19 and Its Potential Impacts - Challenges and Opportunities ", and was delivered by Professor George Xinsheng Zhang from Richmond, the American International University in London.

The audience of this talk was targeted towards Chinese language teachers around the world and attracted participants from fellow Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms in Russia, France, and the United Kingdom, who all joined the talk online via Zoom.

China Seminar Series 10 Nov 2021

Professor Zhang's talk was divided into four parts: "Pandemic and Online Chinese Teaching", "Challenges Facing Chinese Teachers", "Opportunities for International Chinese Teaching" and "Changes in Chinese International Education". Professor Zhang started the talk by addressing the challenges faced in Chinese language teaching at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor Zhang carefully and conscientiously explained the reform of Chinese teaching that came about as a result of the “New Normal” during the pandemic. Together Professor Zhang and the audience reviewed the history of Chinese teaching over the past two years, from 2020 to present, and reflected on the changes in teaching mode and the development of technology during this time.

China Seminar Series 10 Nov 2021

Professor Zhang also put forward constructive ideas for the new era of Chinese language teaching. At the end of the talk, Professor Zhang engaged in in-depth exchanges with participating teachers and answered various questions put forward by participants. The whole lecture was well organized, smoothly presented and was well received by the teachers present.


Dr George Xinsheng Zhang is a Professor of Chinese and Director of the Centre for Modern Languages at Richmond University, the American International University in London and author of the award winning Chinese language textbooks, Chinese in Steps. He obtained his PhD from the University of Nottingham in 1991 and has previously held positions at the SOAS Language Centre, University of London and the London Confucius Institute.

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