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China Learning Initiatives, Center for Global Education at Asia Society
Chinese Language Matters September 29, 2017
Students Debate
The Value of Language Immersion
A Student's Perspective
"Immersion has the added benefit of teaching us things about the local culture that can't really be learned without experiencing it. The concept of da jia is a good example. Da jia, which translates to "big family," is an idea that all Chinese are part of one big family, no matter the age or background."

Experts constantly tout the value of language immersion, but do students see the value in it? Julia McMahon-Cole, a 17-year old high school senior in Lincoln, Nebraska, traveled to China this summer and shares her thoughts on the subject

(photo: Beijing subway by Valentina Yachichurova/flickr)
CELIN Connection
From Shuhan Wang and Joy Peyton
This month we are happy to feature the Chinese immersion program at Scenic Park Elementary School in Anchorage, Alaska: the state’s first-ever Chinese immersion program. Scenic Park is a K–5 elementary school in the Anchorage School District with a population of approximately 425 students. Although the school had a FLES program for 8 years, in the fall of 2016 they welcomed 42 students in kindergarten into a 50/50 Chinese immersion program. The Anchorage School District has offered immersion education in Japanese and Russian and now is excited to add Mandarin to the list of immersion offerings. In the fall 2017, Scenic Park will hold Chinese immersion classes in kindergarten and first grade. They will add a grade level each year, until classes are offered from kindergarten to grade 12.

We want to let you know about a new publication, Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures, published by the National Academy of Sciences. The report examines how evidence-based research on the development of language proficiency of learners from birth to age 21 can inform education and health policies and practices and result in better educational outcomes. The report makes recommendations for policy, practice, research, and data collection focused on addressing the challenges of caring for and educating language learners from birth to grade 12. Ruby Takanishi and Suzanne Le Menestrel are the editors, and contributors include the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Board on Science Education; Committee on Fostering School Success for English Learners: Toward New Directions in Policy, Practice, and Research. A presentation on the report and its implications for dual language programs will be given at the Center for Applied Linguistics, in Washington, DC, Wednesday, October 4, 12–1:30 PM, on "Implementing Effective Dual Language Programs: Classroom and Schoolwide Implications." Presenters include Dr. Eugene García, Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University; Dr. Fred Genesee, Professor Emeritus, McGill University; and Dr. José Medina, Center for Applied Linguistics. A light lunch will be served from 11:30am–12pm. If you would like to participate, send an email to

As the school year begins, families and students are seeking ways to build their knowledge of Chinese culture and their Chinese language proficiency. Make sure that your programs are on the map in the interactive CELIN Program Directory. It's easy to document your program! Just send an email to Ethan Pan (; include your program name and contact information, and he will follow up with you.
Three Steps to Leverage World-Language Instruction for Literacy Success
Which is the better narrative lead?

     "Let's go!" I shouted to my brother, racing towards the backyard.
     I went outside with my brother.

What if these leads were written in Chinese? Would that change the answer? Portuguese? Arabic? Is writing a sophisticated lead language-neutral or language-specific? In dual language environments, aligning expectations for writing across all language instruction can help advance overall student literacy says Erin Lillis Kent, international literacy consultant.
Tweeting in 中文 Versus English
This month, Twitter rolled out an experimental increase in its character limit from 140 to 280. Tweets in English regularly bump up against the 140 limit, but not so in Chinese! Why do you think this is?
  1. Chinese have less to say
  2. Chinese say less
  3. Chinese say more with less
This article in Quartz breaks it down, along with some examples to inspire a fun comparison activity for students of Chinese.
News and Opportunities from the Field
NCLC2018Please join us at the 2018 NCLC in Salt Lake City, UT, May 17-19! The success of NCLC is built upon the innovation, best practices, and shared experiences of educators and administrators in the field. Share your ideas and successes by leading a session at the 2018 NCLC. The Request for Proposals is now opensubmit a proposal today!

SOPA/ELLOPA Online Training: The Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) offers online courses that teach how to administer and rate oral language proficiency for students of Chinese in grades K–8 using the Student Oral Proficiency Assessment (SOPA) and the Early Language Listening and Oral Proficiency Assessment (ELLOPA). Registration deadline: October 3, 2017

Third Chinese Innovation Forum: University of Washington in Seattle and Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) will co-host the Third Chinese Innovation Forum at UW Seattle campus on October 7, 2017. Learn more and register.

Global Education Conference: The 8th annual Global Education Conference takes place November 13–16, 2017. The call for proposals for this virtual event is open. RFP Deadline: November 1, 2017

Franklin R. Buchanan Prize: The Association for Asian Studies 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. Deadline: November 1, 2017.

NSLI-Y Scholarships to Study Abroad: The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, offers merit-based schoalrships for students to study a less commonly taught language. Application deadline: November 2, 2017

Chinese Tutoring Program: Offered by the Center for International Foreign Language Teacher Education (CIFLTE) at Teachers College, Columbia University, CTP provides one-on-one tutoring to help learners develop communicative skills in Mandarin Chinese. Spring 2018 lessons will take place January 7–April 28 in person, online, or both. Application Deadline: December 23, 2017.

Career Opportunities at Asia Society: Our Center for Global Education is seeking an Executive Associate to join our team in developing globally competent graduates and young adults prepared to inspire, lead, and participate in a global economy and society. See the full posting for details.  

#GlobalEdChat: Join us weekly on Twitter for #GlobalEdChat, an hour-long discussion on current issues in global education. 8 pm Eastern time.
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China Learning Initiatives Team
Center for Global Education at Asia Society
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