Monthly Archives: October 2013

Meet the Wyoming, Austrlian children fluent in Chinese

Chinese immersion programs are popping up all over the United States, and are now making an appearance in Australia where the government has set a goal of having 40 percent of its high school students studying a foreign language, reports the BBC.

The article quotes a world languages expert who estimates there are fewer than 10 elementary immersion programs in Australia, despite evidence that the model is the best way to reach the country’s educational goals.

“The former Labor government proposed that every Australian high school child should be given the opportunity to learn an Asian language by 2025,” says the BBC. “The current government says 40% of high school children should be learning a foreign language in 10 years’ time. The figure is currently only around 12% in the final year of high school.”

That’s because the dropout rate at high school for Chinese is around 95 percent, the BBC says, noting immersion graduates enter high school better prepared and engaged – more willing to stick it out.


In other news (with a nod to Utah’s immersion program):

“A Chinese dual-language immersion program in Casper is the first of its kind in Wyoming, but the movement is gaining traction in other areas of the state,” reports the Casper Star-Tribune.

Parents and teachers in Gillette, Cody, Evanston, Sheridan and Cheyenne are exploring adopting programs, the newspaper says:

“Brandee Mau, foreign language curriculum facilitator for Campbell County School District 1 and a German teacher at Campbell County High School in Gillette, said her school district will send a team of school officials and community members to observe the dual-language immersion programs in Utah in the coming months….. Research from immersion programs in Utah, where some 20,000 students statewide participate in dual language learning, suggests that most students who learn in a second language do at least as well — if not better — on standardized tests than students who are not in a dual language program, said Casper-based language consultant Ann Tollefson.”

Utah Chinese language programs recognized as tops

Three of Utah’s Chinese language programs made the Asia Society’s top 100, including the Renaissance Academy, a charter school with immersion programs nurtured by Stacy Lyon, Utah’s new Chinese Immersion Director. The other Utah schools recognized are Syracuse Junior High School and West High School.

The “Confucius Classrooms” network of exemplary programs comprises more than 25,000 students at 100 elementary, middle and high schools in 27 states and DC. According to the Asia Society, “the network not only recognizes excellence in Chinese language teaching, it is also the beginning of an ongoing field-building process with the goal of establishing high-quality, sustainable Chinese language programs in all regions of the United States.”

Each “Confucius Classroom” works with a school in China to enhance instruction through exchanges and joint projects.

“The Network features online communities, targeted professional development for Chinese language teachers in the network, and annual Confucius Classrooms Network conference. The Network asks each school to implement an innovative project aimed at enhancing or expanding its Chinese language program, and to develop an ongoing partnership with a school in China,” said the Asia Society.

The Confucius Classrooms are:
AZ Catalina Foothills High School
AZ International School of Tucson
AZ Tucson High Magnet School
CA Ambassador School of Global Education
CA Redding School of the Arts
CA Semillas Community Schools
CO Global Village Academy
CT Center for Global Studies
CT Glastonbury Public Schools
CT Greenwich High School
CT Newtown High School
CT Simsbury Public Schools
CT Sunset Ridge Elementary Academy for Arts and World Languages
CT West Hartford public Schools
DC Washington International School
FL Charlotte County Public Schools
FL Safety Harbor Middle School
IA Kennedy High School
IL Consolidated School District 158
IL Lake Forest School Districts 67 & 115
KY Fayette County Public Schools
KY Louisville Collegiate School
KY St. Francis High School
MA Boston Renaissance Charter Public School
MA Brooks School
MA Jonas Clarke Middle School
MA Medfield Public Schools
MA Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School
MA Wood Hill Middle School – Andover Public Schools
ME Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School
MI Forest Hill Public Schools
MI Grosse Pointe Public School System
MI Oxford Community Schools
MI The Roeper School
NC Union County Public Schools
NH Keene High School
NJ Englewood Public Schools
NJ Lawrence High School
NJ Peddie School
NJ Piscataway High School
NJ Princeton High School
NJ The Pingry School
NJ Wardlaw-Hartridge School
NJ West Orange Public Schools
NV Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain
NV Clark County School District
NY East-West School of International Studies
NY Edward Bleeker JHS 185
NY Global Learning Collaborative
NY Henry Street School for International Studies
NY Herricks Public Schools
NY Jericho Public Schools
NY LREI (Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School)
NY Massapequa School District
NY Medgar Evers College Preparatory School
NY Nichols School
NY Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES
NY Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District
NY Ramapo Central School District
NY Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex Board of Cooperative Educational Services
OH Brooklyn City School District
OH Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools
OH Columbus School for Girls
OH Gahanna-Jefferson School District
OH Shaker Heights City School District
OH Winton Woods School District
OK Booker T. Washington High School
OK Heritage Hall
PA Academy at Palumbo High School
PA Central High School
PA Philadelphia High School for Girls
PA Sewickley Academy
PA The Hill School
TX Anderson High School
TX Houston Academy for International Studies
TX International High School at Sharpstown
TX International School of the Americas
TX Kolter Elementary
TX Mathis International School District
TX YES Prep Brays Oaks
TX Ysleta Independent School District
UT Renaissance Academy
UT Syracuse Junior High School
UT West High School
VA Collegiate School
VA George Mason High School, Falls Church City Public School
VA Tallwood High School
VT Arlington Memorial High School–Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union
WA Beacon Hill International School
WA Peninsula School District
WA Sammamish High School
WA Tyee Middle School
WI Kettle Moraine High School
WI Oconomowoc Area School District
WI School District of Janesville
WI University School of Milwaukee
WV Bridgeport High School
WV North Elementary
WY Natrona County High School

Free November training for Utah Chinese teachers

Chinese Teachers and Administrators, 汉语教师和学区领导人,

The Confucius Institute will be holding another free teacher training.  The topic will be “Making Yourself Understood in the Target Language (Chinese).”  The training will be followed by FREE LUNCH from Sweet Ginger. 犹他大学孔子学院要再举办汉语教师的培训。培训的话题是:“如何让学生理解老师讲的目标语言(汉语)。” 培训完之后神厨有富会提供免费午饭。

YOU NEED TO RSVP IN ORDER TO ATTEND, please email:  and state your name and what school you teach at.
为了出席本培训请您回复 邮件里请包括姓名和学校。

Making Yourself Understood in the Target Language 如何让学生理解老师用的目标语言

When:  Saturday, November 2nd, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Where: 6952 Hightech Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84047
(Directly North of Sweet Ginger-神厨有富 Chinese Restaurant)
FREE LUNCH is provided from Sweet Ginger 神厨有富 at 12:00 PM

This training will primarily feature videos of experienced teachers in the classroom.  We will be discussing what these teachers do to make themselves understood while speaking 100% (or close to it) in Chinese –otherwise known as “Comprehensible Input”. In addition to videos, we will also discuss how to set up your classroom and procedures to make it possible for speaking all in Chinese.  If you currently do not believe it is possible to speak all in the target language while teaching, this workshop will help you see how it is possible.  Also, if you currently are around 50% to 60% speaking in the target language and want to learn how to increase closer to 90% or 100% this will be very beneficial for you.  本次培训将主要采用经验丰富的教师在课堂上的视频。我们将讨论这些老师做什么让学生可理解他们说的100%汉语(或接近)。这也称为“可理解输入”。除视频外,我们也将讨论如何设置你的课堂和流程使你能讲100%的汉语。如果你不相信上课时你能用100%的汉语,本次研讨会将帮你理解别的老师是怎么做到的。此外,如果你目前约50%至60%用汉语上课,要学习如何增加到90%或100%,培训该对你有利。

*This training will be mostly applicable to secondary teachers and new elementary Immersion teachers.  本次培训最适合中学(初中,高中)老师和新聘请的小学沉浸式老师。

About the Location (Important for Teachers who teach a long distance from Salt Lake City)

This location is not at the University of Utah. It is located on the road directly EAST of Sweet Ginger神厨有富 Chinese Restaurant (I know many Chinese teachers know where that is!)  It is in a business building with plenty of parking.
We are experimenting with holding our trainings in a film studio so we can film the trainings and provide access to teachers outside of the Wasatch Front (this means St. George teachers, Cache Valley teachers, Wasatch Academy, Possibly Nebo and Ogden teachers as well.)  For these teachers the training will be broadcast online and they can email in questions to be answered during the training.

You will also receive 6 relicensure points for attending.

Thank you, and feel free to email me with any questions.

Eric Chipman 麦旭丰
University of Utah Confucius Institute
Office Administrator & Chinese Immersion Teacher
Office: 801-585-0988
Cell: 801-879-1176

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Chinese dance troup returns to Utah

Shen Yun, a professional troupe of classical Chinese dancers, acrobats and musicians is making a repeat performance this March in Utah.

Shows are scheduled for March 4 & 5 2014 at the Val A. Browning Center in Ogden. You can find more information and ticket prices here.

The performance is billed as a family-oriented spectacle featuring “heavenly music” and “timeless legends. ” But the troupe and its ties to the Falun Gong, a religious sect suppressed by Communist rule, has skirted controversy in some parts of the country.

Here are some reviews of past performances:
“The politics behind the pageantry”
“Proselytizing mixed with fun” 

Another view on how to do Chinese immersion

A thought experiment: How do to immersion if the goal is to best serve students, rather than bending to public school requirements.

Mandarin Immersion Parents Council

Sharon Carstens’ daughter went through the Portland, Ore. Mandarin immersion program, so she’s seen up close and personal how these programs work and where they sometimes fall short. She also is a fluent Mandarin speaker herself.

So like the professor she is, she set out to think “how would we do immersion if we could do it in a way that best serves the goal of having students learn Chinese,” rather than “how can we deal with all the requirements of a public school program and fit in Mandarin?”

Some of her conclusions are surprising.

Carstens spent two years researching and writing about it and the book she and several other teachers have written on the subject was just published.

What she proposes would be difficult to implement in most public schools because there’s not a lot of wiggle room in terms of what  must be taught, and there are…

View original post 371 more words

Beyond Sesame Street and Dora: Chinese cartoons for older kids

Big Ear Tu Tu is a popular Chinese cartoon among kids approaching secondary school. You can find episodes on YouKu, China’s version of YouTube.

Or you can go to this “Chinese4kids” website, which has compiled several episodes along with links to Chinese readers, songs and fun cultural facts about China.

Are Americans finally coming around to the idea of learning languages?

Immersion programs are forcing a language shift in America.

Mandarin Immersion Parents Council

The Language Shift

By Anthony Jackson on September 18, 2013 5:39 AM

Language shifts have happened in societies since the beginning of recorded history. Today, Marty Abbott, head of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), explains a language shift currently taking place in the United States. I am pleased to be part of this movement. I hope you, too, will join.

by Marty Abbott

What is it about the United States that we remain the only developed country that routinely graduates students from high school with the knowledge of only one language? We can start with our history of language education. Traditionally, we have “studied” languages—and that implies that we are learning much about those languages but not focusing on how to use them to communicate. Most students have viewed language learning as a requirement, sometimes for graduation from high school, sometimes for admission to college…

View original post 198 more words

Getting the high school portion right

Some perspective from our sister-organization in San Francisco about the K-12 nature of Chinese immersion programs.

Mandarin Immersion Parents Council

Montgomery County has the oldest public Mandarin immersion program in the United States. Most MI programs seem to be converging on having student take and pass the AP Chinese test in high school, which requires a year or two of high-level Chinese in high school. Not allowing kids who’ve been in immersion for nine years already to continue to the end point is a real problem. It’s the kind of issue that tends to come up with school districts don’t get the K – 12 nature of our programs.


Parents say language-immersion students hurt by transfer policy changes

Exemptions sought so they can pursue higher-level studies

By Lindsay A. Powers Staff Writer
 Parents of language-immersion students say they deserve an exemption from proposed changes to the Montgomery County Public Schools’ transfer policy.

The changes, meant to prevent overcrowding at some high schools, would hinder their children’s ability to continue…

View original post 97 more words

Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman visits Chinese school

Utah’s former Governor and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman recently visited Hilton Head Island’s Chinese immersion program, reports the Island Packet. Huntsman, formerly an ambassador to China under the Obama administration, was instrumental in launching Utah’s immersion program.