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China Learning Initiatives, Center for Global Education at Asia Society
Chinese Language Matters November 30, 2016
In this issue, a theme emerges around different perspectives—one of the domains of global competence. From the new ways of thinking which Chris Livaccari applies to language learning, to the pioneering Mandarin Immersion Magnet School profiled by CELIN; from Kansas-based educator Randi Hacker’s take on classical Chinese poetry, to analysis of how the Chinese viewed the recent U.S. election, we hope you find new insights in these pieces and are inspired to challenge yourself and your students to look at the world through varied perspectives.
Multilingualism as an Aesthetic Experience
From New Ways of Seeing: How Multilingualism Opens Our Eyes and Trains Our Minds for a Complex World
A Forthcoming Asia Society Publication by Chris Livaccari
Multilingualism is a key aspect of life for most people in the world (and has been throughout history), and is a rich source of engagement, playfulness, and joy. It’s something that enriches one’s life and should be celebrated for what it truly is: a core part of any person’s education, cultural identity, and sense of self.

Learning another language has helped me expand my knowledge and see how other people communicate and how they think differently. It’s made me feel a lot more curious about other cultures, and makes me want to spend time with other people and interact with them. —Nayelie, an International Studies Schools Network student in Denver, Colorado

In this way, just as one might listen to a symphony, the latest pop hit, or an audiobook of a classic novel, I thoroughly enjoy listening to and appreciating the particular sounds and sonorities of any human language—even when I don’t understand a word! I encourage anyone reading this to begin to attune themselves to the sounds of language as an aesthetic experience, particularly as you start to learn or teach a new language. Tune in to the sounds that are particularly appealing to you and try to learn intuitively about the most pleasing sounds in that particular language. Use this method as a way to gain an appreciation of the language itself, and to begin to internalize the patterns and rhythms of the language. I will have more to say about this later, but when encountering a new language for the first time, it’s important to grasp the unique patterns and contours of the language—to hear its music.

Sound is a great place to start because its appreciation can be a visceral experience, like listening to music. But grammar too can be a source of delight—think of it as architecture. Just as a Gothic cathedral or a Frank Lloyd Wright house can be beautiful, so can a language’s grammatical structure be beautiful. Again, tapping in to a language’s particular style and method of organization can lead to much appreciation and joy. For instance, many people find Chinese elegant for its lack of grammatical inflection, and its economy and efficiency of expression. Read more from the chapter »
CELIN Connection
From Shuhan Wang and Joy Peyton
We hope that you are having a lovely November and enjoying the change in seasons. We would like to extend our Thanksgiving celebrations by expressing our gratitude to our two advisors who are rotating off, Frank Lixing Tang at New York University, and Helga Fasciano at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Their service and guidance to the work of CELIN are invaluable and appreciated. We also invite you to join us in welcoming our new advisors, Ann Marie Gunter, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction; Janis Jensen, a consultant working in the fields of world languages and global education; and Jacqueline Van Houten, World Language Specialist for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky. Our CELIN advisor page has recently been updated. As you will see when you read the bios, CELIN benefits greatly from the wisdom and expertise brought by this stellar group of experts.

MIMS IntegrityThis month we feature the Mandarin Immersion Magnet School (MIMS) in Houston, Texas, the first pre-K–8 public school in Texas that is entirely dedicated to Mandarin immersion. The program follows a 50/50 dual language immersion model, with 50 percent of instruction in Mandarin language arts, math, and science, and 50 percent in English language arts, social studies, and math/science vocabulary review in elementary school. In middle school, science is taught in English, and enrichments in Mandarin are added.

We recently published a blog in Education Week, "Five Steps for Reimagining World-Language Learning Goals," based on one of the recently published CELIN briefs focused on learning outcomes.

We were happy to see many of you at ACTFL 2016 (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages), in Boston, Massachusetts. On Saturday, November 19, CELIN staff and colleagues made a presentation on "Effective Study Abroad Programs for Students in Elementary to High School," with informative presentations by leaders of study abroad programs in elementary, middle, and high schools. The slides from the session are posted on the CELIN web pages.

At ACTFL, the recently formed National Chinese Language and Culture Coalition (NCLCC) launched a national campaign to mainstream Chinese language and culture education in American education.

Please send us any inquiries or issues that you have. If we don’t know the answers, we will run them by our network of advisors and experts. Please also check the CELIN program directory to make sure that your program is included and that your information is up to date. Just send an email to Ethan Pan at; include your program name and contact information, and we will follow up with you.
Tang Dynasty Poems: The Facebook of the 7th Century
A Lesson Plan for the Ages by Randi Hacker
It can be a stretch to draw parallels between historical teachings and the present day, but such a discovery is often the very thing needed to spark engagement in a classroom. When invited to talk about the civil service exams and Tang Dynasty poetry to a class of seventh graders, I consulted my go-to text, An Anthology of Chinese Literature, Beginnings to 1911 and became re-acquainted with the term “occasional poetry” as a descriptor for much of the poetry written during the Tang. By “occasional,” it is meant that the poems were written for a specific occasion, namely: poems written by men to other men who were leaving on a journey (parting poems), and poems written by men who had come to visit other men who were not, alas, at home (“Sorry to Have Missed You”). Of these two categories, the latter provided the hook across the ages to the 21st-century American middle school student. Here’s how my thoughts ran: These poems were often posted somewhere so the recipients would find them. Somewhere like, say, a wall. A wall. The wall. Posting to the wall. Holy Facebook, Batman!

And thus I created a fun—and funny—approach to teaching about Tang poetry, one that has enjoyed some success and resulted in some very amusing Tang-style poems written by middle school students in Lawrence, Kansas. Read more »
Which Chinese Character Are You?
More Fun in the Classroom
Inspired by Ms. Hacker’s clever analogy of classical Chinese poetry to social media posts, Asia Society's China Learning Initiatives team decided to create something similar. We've noticed a recent online trend of using the Myers-Briggs personality test to figure out which literary or film character you are most like. This is a fun way to learn about yourself and identify with the characters. It’s been done with everything from Star Wars and Harry Potter, to Game of Thrones and Marvel comics, so why not try it with characters from Chinese mythology, literature, or history?

Learn about the personality types and take the test, then view this great collection of Myers-Briggs character charts for your amusement and reference. Once your students have taken the test and have an understanding of the different types, start a class discussion about which characters from Chinese literature, mythology, or history best fit which types. This can be great for learning new vocabulary, or discussion material for more advanced students.

For extra credit, ask your students to create a character chart and send it to us at We’ll publish the best one in a future issue of "Chinese Language Matters!"
The 2016 U.S. Election and Education
China's Read on the Election, and a Call to Action from the Center for Global Education
Writing for the New Yorker magazine, Jiayang Fan takes a look at China's pre- and post-election attitudes toward the U.S. front-running candidates and now President-elect Donald Trump.

Mulberry School for Girls in LondonAsia Society's Tony Jackson writes: "President-elect Trump has said that it is time for us to come together as one people. Leading the nation toward this happier state will be an enormous task. But those of us who believe deeply in the power of education to overcome cultural and geographic boundaries have a job to do as well." He calls on educators to "keep our eyes stayed on freedom."

What kinds of materials and sources are you drawing from to inform your post-election conversations with students? We'd love to hear from you at
News and Opportunities from the Field
CIS Dual-Language Symposium: Dual-language education is about much more than learning two languages. The second Dual-Language Symposium at the Chinese International School of Hong Kong will explore the complex issues that arise when we seek to bring together the best of East and West in our schools. All teachers, researchers, and educators are welcome to join the symposium and are invited to submit a proposal for presentation, due December 2, 2016.

Every Student Ready for the World: This event will feature an in-depth discussion on the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results with Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and a panel of global education leaders from North America and Asia. Join in person or by webcast on December 8, 2016.

International Student/Teacher Essay Contest: The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs has opened a competition to teachers and students anywhere in the world. Essay topic: Nationalism. Deadline: December 31, 2016.

The Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Program: Participants in this three- to six- month program for U.S. teachers (or four-month program for international teachers) are based at university-level schools of education. They take courses, lead master classes and seminars, visit local schools, collaborate with each other online and in person, and complete an inquiry project of their design. Application deadline for U.S. teachers: December 1, 2016.

TCLP Is Looking for U.S. Host Schools: Are you interested in increasing the global competency of your students by hosting a guest Mandarin or Arabic teacher at your school? Learn more about hosting a fully-funded teacher with the Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP) during an online chat with an alumni host and TCLP staff members. Application deadline: January 23, 2017.

Global Competence Certificate: Applications are open to join the next cohort of the premier, online, graduate-level certificate program in competence education for in-service educators. Deadline: December 18, 2016. Single-course registration is open until January 10, 2017.

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