By Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Using a concept that originated in China, where people would gather in park corners or on street corners to practice their English, the Seattle Chinese Garden on the north side of the South Seattle Community College campus is hosting a series of “corner” gatherings to teach Chinese language and culture.
The first one is tomorrow.
According to Julia Freimund, program director of the Seattle Chinese Garden, this series is a collaboration between the garden, Chinese Language Teachers of Washington, The Confucius Institute of Washington and Chief Sealth International High School. Instructors from each organization (Freimund, Chunman Gissing, Donna Tang, in photo at right, and Pollyanna Wang, who took the photo) have been creating a curriculum meant to teach Chinese culture and language in a fun, hands-on way.
(Courtyard photo by Liz Hattemer)
Each session will include an instructor, Chinese speakers, and students from Sealth who are currently studying Chinese. The students will be earning community-service hours that are required for graduation.
“All these organizations collaborated to share their mission to promote and increase the understanding of Chinese language and culture,” says Freimund.
Sessions will start very basically, learning words such as “hello” and “goodbye” and as they progress, sessions will incorporate trivia games to learn food names, and Mahjong to learn directional names. Chinese calligraphy will also be introduced, showing students how to use the brushes to make strokes.
“Each session will start out with a half-hour overview of the cultural focus and the words before breaking into the small groups.” Freimund adds, “People are far more willing to try to speak a new language in small groups.”
The class is geared toward adults and teens, but tweens and kids who are interested in learning Chinese with others are also welcome.
Julia Freimund adds: “This will be fun and relaxed — no pressure. We’ll play Go Fish in Chinese. (Participants) will learn the words, but still have fun.”
The series is free, though donations are welcome. Enrollment is limited so pre-registration is required. Click here to see the flyer and register for classes.
Classes will be held every other Thursday from 4-6 pm, starting tomorrow (February 16) and ending May 24th. Because the classes build on each other, Freimund recommends taking all the classes rather than dropping in on just one or two.
The “Chinese Corner” will be held in the Chan Education Center at the Seattle Chinese Garden, located by the north parking lot at SSCC. There will be signage to direct participants to their “Corner.”