Dr. Bee Ching U. Ong Kian Koc, our very own president, delivered her paper entitled “An Innovative Teacher Education Program in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language: A Philippine Experience” at the First Conference on Teaching and Learning of Chinese Language as a Second Language, held last Nov 17-19 at National University of Singapore, Singapore.
Her paper aims to present a paradigm shift in the teacher education curriculum in teaching Chinese as a second language and techniques on how to cope with these changes.
This paper began with a historical background on how the Chinese curriculum was changed drastically after all the Chinese Schools were ‘Filipinized’ in 1976. The old Chinese curriculum with 6 years of elementary education and 6 years of high school education was changed to a ten-year curriculum with 6 years of elementary education and 4 years of high school education. Eventually, three major problems arose, namely: (1) decline in student enrollment, (2) lack of qualified teachers to teach Chinese language, and (3) lack of good instructional materials. To solve these problems, several attempts were used but failed. Until in 2004, an innovative teacher education program in teaching Chinese as a second language was developed and implemented with a Memorandum of Agreement signed between Fujian Normal University and Chiang Kai Shek College and this program is called a “2+2 Bachelor of Secondary Education Program major in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language”. Several changes were noted in this "2+2" teacher education program in our country, namely: (1) Teacher Education programs are developed for long-term sustainable development to replace those for short-term general development; (2) Training programs are collaborative with a Center of Excellence in Teacher Education abroad; and, (3) There is a paradigm shift in teaching Chinese Language. As of today, there are already two batches of graduates rendering their services to the Filipino-Chinese schools in the Philippines.
The forum was attended by other participants from USA, Canada, Spain, England, Brunei, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore. The event was organized by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore and the Singapore Center for Chinese Language.