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College officially dedicates Confucius Classroom

Confucius Classroom dedication

Students here have been learning to speak Mandarin Chinese since spring classes began in January, but it was at a February 16 dedication ceremony that they first got to view the Confucius Classroom plaque that symbolizes the College's commitment to international education.

The plaque was presented to Pellissippi State by professor Yang Yiping, associate director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis. Our Confucius Classroom is the result of a prestigious grant made to the College through the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis. The only community college in Tennessee to receive a grant for the establishment of a Confucius Classroom, Pellissippi State now offers courses in Chinese language and culture.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis, under the leadership of the Chinese Ministry of Education, is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious public institution that provides Chinese teaching resources and services for all countries. Confucius Institutes are established by the China National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (colloquially known as Hanban), headquartered in Beijing.

Not only does the grant cover general financial support for start-up costs, but it also supplies computer hardware and software for Chinese language instruction. As part of the grant, the Confucius Institute provides 1,000 books to the Pellissippi State library. The award also establishes funding for a full-time instructor from China to teach the language and culture classes.

Qiao Gui-qiang, also known as "Freeman," serves as the instructor for both courses. "Beginning Chinese I" was at full capacity long before the spring semester got under way.

Freeman's students were a key part of the dedication ceremony, performing songs in Chinese and demonstrating dialogues. Several even recited tongue twisters—in Chinese. The event also included performances by Chinese lion dancers from Wah Lum Kung Fu of Knoxville, as well as a tai chi demonstration by members of the East Tennessee Chinese School. Attendees enjoyed Chinese food at the reception that immediately followed the dedication ceremony.

Guests included students, faculty and staff, as well as representatives from the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis. Danni B. Varlan was present on behalf of the Tennessee Board of Regents. The Knoxville-based congresswoman represents District 2 on the TBR board. Members of the community also attended the event.

Classes offered for fall semester as part of the Confucius Classroom are "Beginning Chinese I" and "Beginning Chinese II." Registration begins on April 4.

For additional information, call Enrollment Services at 694-6400 or visit

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