Middle school students learn Chinese calligraphy, painting
Katelyn Hilde focused on the red sheet of paper in front of her, slowly brushing the strokes of the Chinese character 春 or spring.
“Let me show you,” said Sophia Lee, the Chinese calligraphy instructor, as she took hold of Hilde’s Chinese calligraphy brush and swiftly painted a 福 or luck.
The eighth grader took beginning Chinese last semester where she was first introduced to Chinese calligraphy.
“It’s cool but kind of hard though,” Hilde said. “I don’t know how people write essays.”
About 40 Diamond Canyon students who are in seventh and eighth grade made the trip from Anthem, Ariz. to participate in Chinese-style calligraphy and painting classes at the Memorial Union on Feb. 10 as part of the Confucius Institute’s
“Experience Chinese Culture” outreach efforts. This was Hilde’s third time trying Chinese calligraphy.
Lee went around the room demonstrating how to write basic Chinese characters using a calligraphy brush. Sometimes she would guide students, putting her hand over their hands and teaching them how to grip the brush properly.
Chinese calligraphy is the art of writing Chinese characters using a specialized brush dipped in ink. Artists also use specialized brushes in Chinese painting to create images of nature and people.
Mark Oesterle, the school’s principal, said the Diamond Canyon students took Chinese as an one-semester elective last year, and he hopes that having them come to ASU will show them they have more opportunities to continue learning Chinese and expose them to the college experience.
The event was to give students hands-on experience with Chinese calligraphy and painting instructors and applying what they learned in the classroom, he said.
“It helps make the connection for the students,” he said.
The Deer Valley Unified School District is also in the process of establishing its own Chinese program and will offer Chinese to K-12 students in 2011, Oesterle said.
“We want them to be prepared for the 21 century workforce – having them know a critical language such as Chinese gives them a competitive advantage,” he said.
The School of International Letters and Cultures in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Confucius Institute and the Chinese Language Flagship Partner program sponsored the event.