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

April 2015

In this Issue
2015 NCLC Recap
CELIN Connection
TEQ Time
Online Resources
News and Opportunities Analyses, how-tos, lesson plans, and much more.

NCLC16: Save the Dates!

The 2016 National Chinese Language Conference will be held in Chicago, April 28–30. See highlights from past conferences at

2015 National Chinese Language Conference Recap

On April 16 - 18, the 8th annual National Chinese Language Conference welcomed 1,200 educators from across the U.S. and the world including China, the UK, Singapore, Canada, Trinidad, Jamaica, and elsewhere. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter sent a congratulatory letter in which he applauded Asia Society’s efforts in “strengthening American and Chinese students’ knowledge and understanding of the world and preparing them for productive global citizenry," particularly education programs that help Chinese and American students better understand each other. President Carter went on to remark that "these efforts are particularly significant to me, as it was Deng Xiaoping and I who opened the door for our countries’ students to learn about one another's culture.” Over two and half days, the conference played host to nearly 100 sessions, workshops, school visits, and private events, as well as 43 exhibitors.

The conference hosted 4 plenary sessions. The first featured comedians, an erhu player, pianists, singers and calligraphers who dazzled the audience with their Chinese language and artistic talents.The second celebrated learners whose lives and careers have been transformed by the study of Chinese language and culture. A third highlighted five university presidents who spoke on their vision for global education vis-a-vis partnerships with China. The last plenary session commended outstanding teachers as stars in the field. For conference highlights, videos, and photos visit See you all next year in Chicago, April 28–30, 2016!

CELIN Connection

Program Profiles
In March, the CELIN section of China Learning Initiatives launched Program Profiles where specific Chinese early language and immersion programs are featured. This month we highlight Paint Branch Elementary School, a Chinese partial immersion and STEM program in College Park, Maryland. In December 2014, second grade students traveled across the state to meet with their peers at West Side Elementary School. Students at both schools had been studying a module called, “What’s the Matter with Ice Cream?,” a World Language STEM Module, and they worked together to perform the final assessment task, following instructions in Chinese to make ice cream.

Your Input Needed
Yu Ming Charter School in San Francisco, California is considering changing the way they teach Chinese characters, and we received an inquiry from Diana Kong, Director of Curriculum and Instruction regarding this. Diana asks:
1. In what grade do you start the teaching of Chinese characters?
2. In your Chinese language program, which script do you teach, simplified, or traditional?
3. What are the benefits and challenges of teaching Chinese characters? 
4. If your program is shifting from the teaching of traditional to simplified scripts, what are your approaches in making this transition?
If you have responses to these questions, please send them to

NCLC Sessions
At the recently concluded National Chinese Language Conference, CELIN-organized sessions were well attended and received rave reviews. One was a pre-conference workshop for administrators, I Love Chinese Early Language and Immersion Programs, But I Have Tons of Questions, where we heard from and had conversations with leaders in the field who have established and maintained dynamic programs. The other sessions included Focus on High-Quality Instruction, Creating and Sustaining Effective K–12 Study Abroad Programs for Immersion Students, and Voices and Perspectives of Chinese Immersion Program Coordinators. We are grateful to all of the presenters for enriching the content and sharing their expertise with the participants. These presentations will be available next month.
Thank you to those of you who completed our online Chinese curriculum and materials survey! The survey will continue for one more month. Please complete it if you haven’t had the chance. We will post information about what we have learned soon. –Shuhan Wang and Joy Peyton


TEQ Time

Instructional Videos for Chinese Language Teachers
Part of Asia Society's professional development series for educators, these instructional videos for Chinese language teachers aim to share best practices in the field of Chinese language teaching. Learn more. 

This month, we are featuring Ms. Yan Wang, a Grade 2 Chinese language teacher at Dixie Magnet Elementary School in Lexington, KY. In the video below, you can see her in action in her classroom. You can also find her accompanying lesson plan.


Online Resources

Strong School-to-School Partnerships: Part III
By Heidi Steele, Chinese teacher at Gig Harbor and Peninsula High Schools in the Peninsula School District of Washington State
This is a busy time as we are both winding down the school year and getting ready for our exchange. I find time during the latter part of spring to meet with the students and discuss the three topics listed in Part II of this article. Depending on your time frame, you may want to combine one or more of these topics into one longer meeting. Read on!
What's in Your Tool Box? Ten Implements to Improve Your Teaching
By Heather Clydesdale
Teaching requires both innovation and adaptation, meaning educators must continually curate their collection of implements, honing familiar devices and adding new ones. Swapping tools is a favorite activity among teachers and longtime immersion educator Kevin Chang and his colleagues at the Chinese American International School (CAIS) in San Francisco share 10 of their favorite practical implements for teaching Chinese language. Read on!

News and Opportunities from the Field

Career Opportunities at Asia Society
Our China Learning Initiatives team seeks an Assistant Director.
Our International Studies Schools Network seeks an Executive Director.

Workshop on The Nanjing Atrocities: Crimes of War:
Facing History and Ourselves is hosting a professional development workshop to examine the events leading to the siege of Nanjing, the choices individuals and groups make during moments of collective violence, and the enduring legacies of the atrocities in Nanjing. By inviting educators to a critical analysis of and ethical reflection on one case of mass atrocities committed in the 20th century, this workshop hope to model a pedagogical approach to teaching difficult histories — histories that raise ethical and moral questions about humanity’s capacity for violence, as well as its capacity for empathy. This workshop will be held on June 5, 2015 from 9am–4:30pm at Asia Society New York. Learn more.

STARTALK: Transitioning to Teaching Language Online: This STARTALK program is for K–16 teachers of critical languages (Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu) who want to teach their language online. Offered completely online, this 3-week, very intensive course will give teacher participants the experience of being an online learner. Course content will focus on many different facets of a successful online language course, such as creating community, time management strategies for teachers and students, choosing appropriate technology tools for communicative-based activities, and developing a variety of online activity types. In addition to exploring these aspects of teaching online, participants will see these concepts in action through participation in a model online language course. This program is free to K-16 critical language teachers who teach those languages in the United States. Applicants should be experienced classroom teachers who instruct using a student-centered, proficiency-based, communication-oriented methodology. Teachers who have taught in, or attended, a previous STARTALK course on methodology or technology are especially encouraged to apply. Program dates are June 8–June 28, 2015, and applications are due by May 1, 2015. Learn more.

ACTFL OPI ASSESSMENT WORKSHOP (4 DAYS): The ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) Assessment Workshop is a four-day professional development workshop designed to introduce language educators to the Oral Proficiency Interview, the ACTFL rating scale, and the techniques for conducting and rating oral proficiency interviews. In daily plenary presentations, participants address general concepts and strategies for oral proficiency testing. This information is then reinforced and practiced in language-specific break-out sessions by observing model interviews, participating in hands-on rating activities, and conducting and rating live practice interviews. These practice interviews and ratings are discussed and critiqued in the language-specific groups. Following the workshop, eligible participants may pursue Limited or Full OPI Tester Certification (must have Superior level proficiency to apply). Learn more.

The Certificate Program in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (TCSOL): Columbia University's Teachers College is accepting applications for the 2015–2016 academic year. The TCSOL certificate program is a one-year program, providing the state-of-the-art training in Chinese pedagogy and educational linguistics. Ideal for pre-/in-service teachers aspiring to develop their ability to teach Chinese in different contexts. In addition to the one-year program, there is also a two-week summer program in TCSOL to be held at the Columbia Global Center in Beijing in July of 2015. 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
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