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Confucius Institute
VOLUME 15 | NO.4 JUL. 2011
home. ese American children are also
very diligent in kicking shuttlecocks. A
girl of the third grade always comes to
the classroom to practice after school.
Fourth grader Harrison was the first
student to break the record of ten con-
secutive kicks. I often saw the students
kicking shuttlecocks instead of playing
football or baseball. ey are also eager
to tell me their new record achieved out
of Chinese class. At first their record
was three to five but later ten, fifteen
and then twenty and thirty.
To meet their enthusiasm and help
them experience the fun of Chinese
culture, I organized a week-long shuttle-
cock competition in the school. Some of
the students asked their family members
to record their newest record to show
me as a proof of their progress. Every
morning, my Chinese class is crowded
with students holding a shuttlecock
in their hands, eager to update their
records. Every one’s highest record to
date is shown on a bulletin in the cor-
ridor. After school, the students gather
before the bulletin to see the progress.
On prize-giving day, I showed the
shuttlecock-kicking video I produced
to all the school. The video presents
the progress from the funny gestures
in the beginning to the highest records
of thirty and forty. e classroom was
filled with happiness and laughter. e
first five prize winners were awarded
Hanban gifts.
Small as it is, the shuttlecock is very
attractive. e game is simple and does
not require a large venue. The partici-
pants can compete in terms of number
of kicks and duration and also in the
variety of kicking methods. It is also
highly regarded by many other teachers
and parents. Though it may not help
the American children learn more Chi-
nese words or remember more cultural
information, it is a popular traditional
game that enables the students to relax
and have fun. I consider it an alterna-
tive way of promoting our culture.
Chinese teacher.
This new rage for kicking shuttle-
cock began in our Chinese class. After
Christmas, the Chinese textbooks of
Hanban arrived. The children were
interested in every page of the book
“Chinese Paradise”. On page 9, there is
an illustration of “kicking shuttlecocks”
and an explanation of how it is played.
These American children had never
heard of shuttlecocks and immediately
asked me, “What is this?”
To satisfy their curiosity, I brought
some shuttlecocks to the class. At first,
only I kicked the shuttlecock. While I
kicked, I asked the students to count
for me. But after a short while they
became impatient and wanted to give
it a try themselves. There were few
shuttlecocks but many students. en
I suddenly got the idea of combin-
ing “study” and “play”. I told them
the one who gave correct answers to
five questions would get a chance kick
shuttlecocks and those who answered
ten questions correctly could take the
shuttlecock home.
This solution did not meet every
child’s wish but it helped my teaching.
The students were attentive in class
and actively answered my questions.
As to difficult parts as the 12
zodiac animals and tra-
ditional Chinese festi-
vals, the students could
learn well. Because of
this motivation, my goal
was easily achieved.
Later, when a colleague
of the Confucius Institute
was going back to China
and I asked her to bring more
shuttlecocks. Since we now
have more shuttlecocks, there
are more chances of practice. e
children’s interest and enthusiasm
in kicking shuttlecocks has increased.
Their greatest motivation to learn
Chinese is to win a shuttlecock to take
6 5 SEP.