Category Archives: Confucius

Instructor from China shares culture, language with Pellissippi State students

Photo of Asian female with a red buttoned-down shirt and a black jacket.When Shuang Liu told friends in China she would be teaching in Tennessee, they first asked if she planned on going to the mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is well known in her hometown of Shenyang, the capital of and largest city in northeast China’s Liaoning province, says Liu, Confucius Classroom instructor at Pellissippi State Community College.

According to Liu, who answers to “Lydia” at the college, she has enjoyed not only the mountain vistas but also other differences between East Tennessee and China since her arrival here last August. For starters, she has become accustomed to finishing her meals with Southern desserts rather than with the traditional Chinese dessert of grapes or other fruits.

She laughs when describing another dining custom she has adopted.

“I’m used to chopsticks,” said Liu. “Here, though, there are hamburgers, pizzas and the like. I eat with just my hands a lot now. The food is different, but very good. I especially enjoy the desserts.”

In the classroom, Liu shows her students that the Chinese language is not as difficult to learn as some people believe. She explains that the characters that make up Mandarin Chinese all have a meaning. Once students become comfortable with those meanings, they have overcome the biggest obstacle.

“The grammar part of Mandarin Chinese is very, very easy compared to English,” said Liu. “Pronunciation is not too difficult, either. The characters are the hardest part, but even that is not difficult once students learn the meanings behind them.”

One of the first things her students learn is their Chinese name. Liu encourages discussion about students’ families as a way of practicing the language and honoring the Chinese emphasis on familial relationships. She also reaches out to students from China, whom she welcomes to her classroom.

“Please let students from China know that I love for them to visit my classes,” said Liu. “I enjoy seeing them make friends with my students.”

Liu serves as the full-time instructor for Chinese culture and language classes at Pellissippi State thanks to the college’s 2010 establishment of a Confucius Classroom, which is the result of a prestigious grant made by the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis. The first language class offered in 2010 was full long before registration ended.

Pellissippi State students may now choose from a series of beginning- and intermediate-level courses in Mandarin Chinese. With nearly a billion primary- or first-language speakers, Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, according to geographer Matt Rosenberg. Chinese is the third most widely spoken language in American homes, a 2009 census reports.

Fall 2013 courses available as part of the Confucius Classroom are “Beginning Chinese I” (CHIN 1010), “Beginning Chinese II” (CHIN 1020), “Intermediate Chinese I” (CHIN 2010) and “Peoples and Culture of China” (LAS 2020).

Registration for fall semester begins April 1.

For additional information, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State offers Chinese language, culture classes for spring 2013

Since 2010, Pellissippi State Community College has offered classes in Chinese language and culture. The first language class that year was full long before registration ended. That’s why those interested in learning Mandarin Chinese or studying the culture of China are encouraged to apply and register early for the spring 2013 sessions.

Thanks to the establishment two years ago of a Confucius Classroom at Pellissippi State, students now may choose from a series of courses in beginning- and intermediate-level Mandarin. With nearly a billion primary- or first-language speakers, Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, according to geographer Matt Rosenberg. Chinese is the third most widely spoken language in American homes, a 2009 census reports.

The Confucius Classroom is the result of a prestigious grant made to the college by the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis. The award includes funding for a full-time instructor from China. Shuang Liu, also known as “Lydia,” teaches the classes at Pellissippi State.

Spring 2013 courses available as part of the Confucius Classroom are “Beginning Chinese I” (CHIN 1010), “Beginning Chinese II” (CHIN 1020) and “Peoples and Culture of China” (LAS 2020).

Pellissippi State’s spring 2013 application deadline is Jan. 7. Classes begin on Jan. 17.

For additional information, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Dancers, artists from China to perform at Pellissippi State

A presentation by performers from China’s Hubei University on Feb. 24 at Pellissippi State’s Clayton Performing Arts Center showcases Chinese art, dance, music and culture.

Imagine a calligrapher creating a written work of art onstage. Now weave in dancers clothed in colorful costumes, performing traditional Chinese Dragon and Lion dances. Add musicians playing centuries-old songs and martial artists demonstrating their fluid movements.

Audiences of the Chinese troupe performing at Pellissippi State Community College on Feb. 24 will experience this multimedia presentation—a mixture of Chinese art, dance, music and culture.

The free event, to which the community is invited, provides a rare opportunity for attendees to immerse themselves in the traditional Chinese arts. The troupe of approximately 30 performers from Hubei University is showcased, incorporating Chinese history and culture as expressed through the various media.

The Chinese Dragon Dance to be performed has been done for more than 5,000 years. Originally a symbol of imperial power, today’s Dragon Dance in China serves more as a symbol of courage, pride and wisdom.


The Lion Dance, which dates back more than 2,000 years, is a joint performance by two dancers. It is typically staged to express joy and happiness when the Chinese celebrate grand events. The art of calligraphy is a combination of physical agility, manual dexterity and artistic precision.

Professor Yiping Yang, associate director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis, presents a special lecture prior to the performance. “The Chinese Perspectives of Dragon” will provide guests with Professor Yang’s historic and modern reflections on the cultural importance of the dragon.

The Hubei University performers are visiting in connection with Pellissippi State’s Confucius Classroom. As the 2010 recipient of a prestigious grant from the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis, Pellissippi State has a full-time instructor from China who teaches language and culture classes.

The college now offers “Beginning Chinese I,” “Beginning Chinese II,” “Intermediate Chinese I” and “Peoples and Culture of China.” By fall 2012, “Intermediate Chinese II” will be added. Students pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Pellissippi State now have the opportunity to satisfy their foreign language requirement with Mandarin Chinese.

Co-sponsor of the performance and lecture is the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies. TnCIS, whose headquarters are at Pellissippi State, is devoted to making international education and cultural understanding a central goal of higher education in Tennessee.

All activities take place on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The lecture begins at 2 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium. The performance begins at 3 p.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center.

For additional information, call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.