(Research Institute of International Chinese Language Education, Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing 100083; Overseas Chinese Education Research Institute, Beijing 110083)
The 2019 International Chinese Language Education Conference ushered a new era for the building of international Chinese language education system. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the whole Chinese language education industry, giving birth to the innovation of Chinese language teaching appraoches, and launching the construction of the discipline system of international Chinese language education. International Chinese language education research mainly includes eight fields, namely, the influence of international politics, economy and culture on Chinese language education, the construction of theoretical system of international Chinese language education, the international Chinese language education system, the issues concerning “teachers, teaching resources, teaching methods”, project management, typical cases, the international spread of Chinese, and the application of technology in international Chinese language education. Also, it involves three original research methods: problem-based research method, global perspective comparison method and overall system analysis method.
I. New Research Fields of International Chinese Language Education as a Discipline
Against the backdrop of profound changes unseen in a century and the impact of COVID-19 on the world, the global political, economic and cultural order is undergoing dramatic changes. And international Chinese language education is bound to be directly and indirectly affected in many aspects. Based on this understanding, the author puts forward eight research fields of international Chinese language education.
(I) Research on the Influence of International Politics, Economy and Culture on Chinese Language Education
The development of international Chinese language education is greatly influenced by international politics, economy and culture. The relationship between a country and China, the degree of economic and trade cooperation and exchanges, and different cultural backgrounds often have an important impact on Chinese language education in the country.
(II) Research on the Construction of Theoretical System of International Chinese Language Education Discipline
The theoretical system of discipline is the cornerstone of its existence and development. The international Chinese language education as a discipline has entered an important period of transformation and upgrading. We need to build a brand-new discipline theory system to support the discipline construction and development. The construction of the theoretical system of international Chinese language education should focus on building a solid foundation, taking into account its systematic characteristics and the features of its branch fields, valuing originality and locality, highlighting the times and internationality, following the needs of Chinese language education in other countries around the world, and emphasizing inheritance, transformation and reconstruction.1
(III) Research on International Chinese Language Education System
From a global perspective, international Chinese language education is a big Chinese language education system including Chinese language education subsystems of all countries in the world. With regards to transnational regions, countries and domestic regions, there are regional systems, country systems and domestic regional systems. The international Chinese language education can be divided into teacher system, teaching resource system, teaching theory and method system, policy system, standard system, etc.
(IV) Research on Issues Concerning “Teachers, Teaching Resources, Teaching Methods”
Teachers, teaching resources and teaching methods in international Chinese language education are commonly referred to as “three teaching issues” in academic circles. “Three teaching issues” are an important part of the development of international Chinese language education. The research results of Chinese teachers, teaching resources and teaching theories and methods can not only be directly applied to the development of international Chinese language education, but also enrich the theoretical system of international Chinese language education.
(V) Research on International Chinese Language Education Project Management
There are many global Chinese language education programs, which have played a positive role in promoting the development of Chinese language education. Among them are the well-known Confucius Institute, Confucius Classroom, Chinese Bridge Contest and other famous projects. And there are also many unique Chinese teaching projects in other countries. The planning, implementation and effects of these projects are also worth studying, which can be used for reference for Chinese and Chinese culture to go global.
(VI) Typical Case Studies in International Chinese Language Education
There are cases ranging from big to small, and the big ones can involve countries or even many countries and regions. Thailand, for example, is an advanced typical case of the rapid development of Chinese language education. Small ones can involve schools, classes and even individual teachers and students, such as schools with distinctive Chinese language education characteristics.
(VII) Chinese International Communication Studies
To find out how Chinese language and Chinese culture should spread from China to the world, the following areas need to be explored: the present situation and history of communication, various issues related to global, regional and national communication, such as the overall situation and comparison of regional and national communication, communication elements such as policies, channels, learners, the number of learners, the mechanism of communication system, the allocation of communication resources, the construction of communication system, and cross-cultural issues in communication, etc.
(VIII) Research on the Application of Technology in International Chinese Language Education
In the field of international Chinese language education, the rapidly developing information technology, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other technologies are being rapidly integrated. As online Chinese language education has the advantages of transcending time and space barriers and greatly reducing learning costs, with the continuous progress of technology, even after the epidemic is over, online Chinese language education will exist for a long time, and even develop more rapidly.
II. New Methods of International Chinese Language Education Research
(I) Problem-based research approach
“Problem-based research approach” is used for international Chinese language education and other humanities and social sciences research. “Problem-based research approach” is a research methodology, not a specific method. It can also be called “problem-based view”. It refers to a research method that attaches great importance to the research of the problem itself in scientific research, and reveals the essence and law behind the problem through in-depth research of the problem itself.
(II) Global perspective comparison method
The “global perspective comparison method” refers to the research method that should be placed in the global perspective and compared with similar or similar problems in other countries and regions, so as to find out their common features and individual differences.
(III) Overall system analysis method
“Overall system analysis method” is a research method based on system theory and system analysis method, which mainly studies the overall characteristics and solutions of problems from a holistic perspective, and tries to grasp the essence and laws of problems as a whole on the basis of a comprehensive and systematic study of research objects.
(IV) Quantitative research method based on big data
The quantitative research method based on big data is an emerging research method widely used in various disciplines at present. It has unique advantages in quantitative research, so it is necessary to advocate its active use in the field of international Chinese language education research. The quantitative research of international Chinese language education based on big data has just begun and has a broad prospect.
International Chinese language education is a vigorous discipline. From teaching Chinese as a foreign language to international Chinese language education, and then to the iterative upgrading of international Chinese language education, it has brought many challenges to the academic community, but also many opportunities. The 2019 International Chinese Language Education Conference has ushered a new era of career development and discipline construction for building a new international Chinese language education system. Only by grasping the pulse of the times, constantly exploring research fields and innovating research methods, can we keep our academic vitality forever, continously produce excellent works, better serve the development of international Chinese language education.
 Wu Yinghui, Liang Yu: Construction of Theoretical System and Knowledge System of International Chinese Language Education Discipline, Educational Research, Vol..12, 2020.