Chinese poetry and imagery

Students in all Chinese classes were invited to combine a digital image of their choice with an original composition in Chinese, and to perform at the Poetry for Peace event. Five students accepted the challenge. Of the five students, four had been to China; of those, three used images they personally captured in China. Students used standard technology — PowerPoint and digital projection — as well as Chinese writing software (Microsoft Input Method Editor) to compose their original work of poetry. This project was inspired by the Poetry for Peace event and unattached to any syllabus. Although no credit was awarded for the assignment, students who participated were interested in the idea from the start, worked on it with impressive focus, and all realized rich rewards in their efforts.

Technology requirements were minimal, but essential to project success. Some images were captured with digital cameras; others were scanned from photographs or books of collected Chinese artwork. Students used PowerPoint to prepare digital imagery with text overlay, and Microsoft Input Method Editor (IME) installed on lab computers to enter Chinese characters.

All of the goals were met to some degree, but Dr. Csete recognized that the most important goal was for all (148) Chinese language students to have an opportunity to re-think their time spent in China, to think about what of that experience they wanted to communicate, and to combine images with words to express that meaning to a live audience. To be most effective in meeting learning goals, Dr. Csete believes that this single assignment should become an entire unit, with students listening to Chinese poems, practicing Chinese styles of reading poems, and doing all of what they did here in a more systematic way. The success of this first experience encourages Dr. Csete to think about how the syllabus can be adjusted to accommodate more of the same.

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