Languages and Cultures for Australian Universities (LCNAU) is offering seed funding grant for projects related to their mission, in particular, projects presented at the 2011 colloquium. Raphael, Dan and myself will work on a research proposal around the possible integration of Marco Polo into a formal language curriculum.
This is crucial to the success of our project: if we can somehow integrate the activities of our website as part as the language teaching curriculum, we would be assured of a constant in-flow of volunteer translators. This was also the advice we received from Jeremy Goldkorn @danwei.
But this is also a great opportunities for universities. Language teachers know that the few contact hours between them and their students are insufficient for successful language learning outcomes. Teachers generally encourage language activities outside the classroom – clubs, theatre, exchange programs, etc. But, so far, there is no real program to integrate them, and find a way that participation in such activities could count as credits.
This seed grant is a great opportunity, and I really hope it works through!
Last night, Raphael and I presented a poster on the Marco Polo Project at the first LCNAU Colloquium. The poster was well received, and we had quite a few conversations with lecturers from around Australia. In particular, we had a wonderful chat with Beatrice Atherton from the University of Queensland, who promised to put us in contact with her colleagues in the Chinese department. The University of Queensland is building a translation program specialising in English-Chinese translation. Precisely the public we’re looking for!
This was the first official presentation of Marco Polo to an external audience, and it went OK. This bodes well for the future. Part of the success must be attributed to the beautiful graphic work done by wonderful Mathieu Vendeville.
In the evening, we stayed for the LCNAU dinner. I had a great conversation with my table partner, Lynne Li from RMIT. She gave me this interesting tip: I should not put aside writing in my Chinese learning, but copy characters. In her experience, students who regularly copy words are those who learn the best. I received similar advice from a philosophy teacher in preparatory class. In order to improve my writing skills, he once told me that I should copy. ‘Keep it a secret, but it’s the most effective way’. So I spent hours copying Montesquieu’s De l’esprit des lois in a little A5 notebook. And my writing improved. I will try that with Chinese now.