Towards Cooperation and Collaboration
Given that so many Confucius Institutes now operate side by side with university language centres on the same higher education campus, it is important to envisage areas of potential collaboration. Referring to the expansion of Confucius Institutes, Hartig (2011, p. 53) who has written extensively about this field from a worldwide perspective, has said that despite their impressive number ‘Confucius Institutes are surprisingly understudied, especially in terms of their actual structure, operation mode and activities.’
Greater levels of research and study by applied linguists and language educators of the role of Confucius Institutes would be welcome. Studies on core pedagogical issues of interest to language educators are overdue in areas such as curriculum, testing, teacher education and others. Such investigations could feed into a broader research perspective on Confucius Institutes in general. Given the speed of change, it is time for language centres to seek opportunities for collaboration on a cross-language basis focusing on Chinese in interaction with other languages. There are many areas where exchange and cooperation can take place and many joint projects could be developed. Some areas of potential collaboration are outlined here.