This is a monthly newsletter from the Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning dedicated to Chinese language and culture programs in schools.

July 2014

In this Issue
Smart Diplomacy
CELIN Connection
Online Resources
News and Opportunities Analyses, how-tos, lesson plans, and much more.

Save the Dates!

April 16–18, 2015

The eighth annual National Chinese Language Conference will take place at the Hilton Atlanta, located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

A Request for Proposals will be available later this summer.

Start planning a session to share your experience and knowledge now!

Smart Diplomacy: People-to-People Exchange

By Jeff Wang

Have you ever wished that the U.S. would prioritize education as much as it does defense? Ever wondered what diplomacy would be like if there were an equal emphasis placed on deeper connections between people as there is on geopolitical prowess? If so, you might be very keen to learn about last week’s major milestone, when the U.S. and China held their annual high-level Consultation on People-to-people Exchange (CPE) in concert with the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED). Now in its fifth iteration, this merger is what I call smart diplomacy.

At the CPE I had the honor of sharing my thoughts and Asia Society's efforts, which include creating opportunities for American students to learn Chinese, connecting them with peers in China, and convening individuals and institutions in education, business, policy, and the arts, inspiring and empowering them to contribute to this comprehensive relationship. However, I voiced my concern that international surveys by Pew and Gallup have shown growing mutual mistrust between people of our two countries. This is unacceptable and incompatible with the challenges of our times. 

Read on!

CELIN Connection

We are happy to report that in June, the CELIN resource pages were launched at Here you will find profiles of CELIN staff and advisors, a directory of programs, and a program registration form for Chinese early language and immersion programs to register to be included in the national searchable directory. In the Research and Resources section you can access slides from presentations made at the 2014 NCLC by leaders in Chinese immersion programs. In addition, we are compiling a list of organizations that focus on language education, including Chinese.

In August, we will launch a new section called Ask the Experts, where experts in the field will answer commonly asked questions important to the field. The first topic will be "Assessment and Assessment Rubrics Used with Young Chinese Language Learners." Please send us any questions you would like to have answered. If you have resources to share about this topic, or a question and answer you would like to discuss, please include them with your name, affiliation, and email, and we will share these.

As the Chinese saying goes, 抛砖引玉; with our act of throwing out some rocks as a starter, we hope to receive jade in return. The CELIN Connection section of this newsletter and the website are a work in progress, and we will continue to build on them. Visit the web pages and tell us what you think! We will be happy to incorporate your suggestions. Enjoy the summer. –Shuhan Wang and Joy Peyton


Online Resources

Efficiency in Communication: Understanding Communication Choices 
This month we introduce the third activity in a curriculum module, The Beauty of World Languages, which is designed to help students learn to appreciate languages in a new way. The activities in this module are aligned to the four pillars of global competence, and are easily implemented in a language classroom or in partnership with a language arts or arts unit on communications.

We are pleased to share the third activity, called Efficiency in Communication. In this one-hour activity, students gain an understanding of the nature of human communication and foster a scientific view on languages. Through class activities, games, reading, and analysis, students will learn that speaking a language is only one way people communicate information. In order to make a language understandable among groups of people, a system of rules is necessary. Languages and words are not the same thing. Not all languages have a written form. Words have enormous influence on languages. Finally, a natural language is not static. It is developing all the time over time, space, and social factors. Explore the essential questions: What different methods have been used over time to communicate between humans? Why did our ancestors choose their voices as their primary method for communicating? This lesson is a formative task that can be combined with others in The Beauty of World Languages series to build what can be a two-week unit. This activity takes one standard class period, plus after-class reflection. Learn more.

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Chinese Language and Culture Learning
The teachers of the Mandarin program at Jonas Clarke Middle School, a member of the Asia Society Confucius Classrooms Network, habitually emphasize interdisciplinary content collaboration as part of their curriculum planning. Thus, Chinese study often crosses paths with multiple subject areas such as Fine Arts, Performing Arts, English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. Collaborations between different subject teachers are possible because resources and knowledge that the Chinese teachers amass from traveling abroad to China and from professional development are shared with other content-area teachers, which is conducive to cross-disciplinary content design. Students participating in these classes are being offered an engaging and enriching cultural experience.

In this two-part video series, you will find an example of the interdisciplinary unit design between a Chinese teacher and an art teacher, introducing basic Chinese brush painting to students. These videos offer quick and step-by-step instructions, and illustrate how such a collaboration is possible. Part 1 demonstrates material preparation, and Part 2 shows instruction with a rubric for assessment. These videos feature Shuwling Jane (Chinese teacher) and Alethea Roy (art teacher).


News and Opportunities from the Field

Online Course: Methods in Elementary School World Language Instruction: This course will be offered to pre-service and in-service teachers by Iowa State University from August 25–December 16, 2014. A team of leading national experts on elementary school world language education has been brought together to teach in the following areas: planning, implementation, and assessment of standards-based, student-centered, and thematic instruction in the elementary classroom. Participants will learn how to develop young students' communicative skills, cultural knowledge, and content learning. Three credits (undergraduate or graduate) will be granted to participants. The course meets partial requirements for the Iowa Endorsement in K–8 World Language Education. Check with your State Education Department to see if this course meets requirements for endorsement or certification in your state. Learn more.

Call for Curriculum: The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) invites submissions for the Franklin R. Buchanan Prize awarded annually to recognize an outstanding curriculum publication on Asia designed for any educational level, elementary through university. Application deadline: November 1. Learn more. 

Chinese Bridge Delegation: The College Board and Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters are pleased to announce the 2014 Chinese Bridge Delegation, a one-week education trip focusing on school visits, cultural activities, and educational workshops with the aim of helping education decision-makers start and expand their Chinese language and culture programs. Program dates: November 5–13, 2015. Application deadline: August 4. Learn more.

Challenge 20/20 is an Internet-based program that pairs classes at any grade level (K–12) from schools in the U.S. with counterpart classes in other countries; together the teams (of two or three schools) tackle real global problems to find solutions that can be implemented at the local level and in their own communities. Applications accepted until August 15. Learn more.


We welcome your feedback and encourage you to share information that is of interest to the wider community. Please feel free to contact us at and forward this newsletter on to others who are interested in Chinese language and culture programs in the schools.

China Learning Initiatives Team
Asia Society
Copyright © 2014 Asia Society, All rights reserved.