In the afternoon of September 28th, 2021, faculty of School of Foreign Languages, Tongji University held a seminar on 2021 educational thoughts simultaneously in the main venue 518 and sub-venue 218 in Huiwen Building. Dong Xiu, vice dean of the School of Foreign Languages, presided over the meeting. She remarked that this meeting aims to thoroughly implement President Xi Jinping’s important comments on education, carry out the spirit of the National Education Conference and Postgraduate Education Conference and the goals and blueprint set by the 11th Party Congress of Tongji University. She has called for developing an education system that can comprehensively cultivate students’ morality, intelligence, physique, beauty and labor, so as to foster virtues through all fields and steps of talent cultivation. This discussion was divided into “Talent Cultivation Concept and University-running Goals”, “Reform of Talent Cultivation Model”, “Dynamic Adjustment of Disciplines and Majors”, “Becoming Great University Teachers” and “Other Opinions and Suggestions on Talent Cultivation”. Participants held heated discussions around these topics.
In the discussion of “Talent Cultivation Concept and University-running Goals”, Wei Yaozhang, Director of the English Department of SFL, reflected on the current problems of foreign language majors in higher education and the underlying reasons, and suggested that content-based and question-driven teaching method should be adopted. He also proposed changing foreign language teaching from “teaching-oriented” to “learning-oriented”, and attaching importance to the in-depth integration with other majors.
In the discussion of the “Reform of Talent Training Model”, Zhao Jing, Director of the German Department, talked about the foothold of foreign language talent cultivation, the integration of modern information technology and language teaching, and the key point of cultivating “foreign language+” talents. She stressed that the current training of foreign language talents, especially translators, needs to be changed from “translating the world” to “translating China”. It is important to strengthen coordination and cooperation with other majors, give full play to Tongji’s advantages in science and engineering, and develop new liberal arts around qualification, program and degree. Later, Tang Chunyan, Chen Yu and Zhang Keyun from the German Department expressed their opinions. They said that the integration of the upward extension of general education and the downward extension of professional education need to be enhanced, and put forward concrete suggestions for the specialized courses.
In the topic of“Dynamic Adjustment of Disciplines and Majors”, Zheng Chunrong, director of the German Studies Institute, emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary integration according to a series of documents including “Guiding Opinions on Accelerating the Construction of ‘Double First-Class’ in Universities”. He proposed to strengthen the national and regional studies and promote the development of the international discourse system. Wu Huiping explained the characteristics of national and regional studies in discipline construction, discipline orientation, research methods, talent training path, etc., analyzed its enlightenment to other majors in the discipline of foreign language and literature, and suggested that the integration and interaction between national and regional studies and other majors should be strengthened.
In the fourth topic “Becoming Great University Teachers”, the attendees freely expressed their opinions. Li Xingwen, deputy director of the Department of Public English Teaching, said that a good foreign language teacher should have the ambition for greatness, who love their jobs, care for students and have the ability of learning and creation. Wang Beilei said that teachers should improve themselves by actively seizing the opportunity of interacting with other disciplines, participating in teaching research and reform projects, constantly sorting out academic ideas and exchanging with peers. Zhu Ximing suggested that teachers should actively participate in various academic exchanges and teaching competitions, so as to promote teaching through research and competition. Zhang Qian said that teachers should keep their reverence of the job, passion for research and love for students.
Talent cultivation and other topics were also discussed at the meeting. Shi Xiaoyang, deputy director of the Japanese Department, expounded her own views from the point of curriculum construction of language majors on issues like forms of learning, course management and coordination. Zhang Zhaoxu, Liang Yan and Lu Changrong put forward constructive suggestions like innovative management methods and detailed management measures from the perspectives of foreign major students’ further education and employment, classroom teaching and academic research.
At the end of the meeting, Wu Yun, Dean of Tongji SFL concluded that as foreign language teachers, we should be aware of and adapt to change and strive to make change happen. We should always grasp the changes of the times, answer the call of the times and shoulder the mission of the times. We should tell Chinese stories and spread the voice of China to the world.
The meeting ended in heated discussion among teachers. Tongji SFL will actively face challenges, seize opportunities, unite together, break new ground, stay true to the original intentions and forge ahead.