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

August 2015

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

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. Lin Young's Grade 9–12 novice Chinese Class at Greenwich High School, CT and Jessie Maeer's Grade 10 novice Chinese class at Heritage Hall High School, OK.  In this video, you can see them in action in their classrooms. You can also find their accompanying lesson plan.

CELIN Connection

Welcome to the new school year! We hope that you had a great summer and are ready to launch into an exciting and productive year.

Please visit the CELIN Program Directory, an online searchable directory of Chinese early language and immersion programs across the United States. Make sure that your program is included and you can search for other programs in your area. If you would like to update your program information, simply put your updates in the online form. If you would like to add a program, you can complete and submit this online form, and we will be in touch with you to verify the information. Once verified, we will post it in the program directory. Please spread the word about the program directory to other program staff.

Program Profiles
This month, we are pleased to post a Program Profile about Minnetonka Public Schools, in Minnetonka, Minnesota. This Chinese immersion program allows students to pursue one of six powerful pathways from elementary through high school. You can also read program profiles of other immersion programs here.

In addition to featuring Minnetonka's Chinese programs, we present the district's study abroad program to China for students in grade 8. This program, made possible through collaboration with the Confucius Institute at St. Cloud State University, gives 8th grade students a rich experience in China that includes a cultural study mission, a presentation at the U.S. Embassy Beijing Education Center, participation in regular classes and activities at the sister school in Beijing, and a home stay.

We have also updated our study abroad section of CELIN website to include additional research and information about programs for young learners. In addition, read also this Ed Week post about study abroad that features programs feature by CELIN.

Many of you have conducted a study abroad program this past summer. We would love to feature your program! Please send us a description and photos at We look forward to hearing from you!

–Shuhan Wang and Joy Peyton

Online Resources

China Straight Up - Learning about China and Chinese Language in a Fun and Engaging Way
Have you noticed that China seems to be making its way into your life more and more in recent years? We can hardly avoid hearing something about China when we turn on the TV or flip through the headlines. Yet, for most Americans, China and its history, people, language, customs and culture, still seem remote and exotic, and maybe even intimidating or scary. The China Straight Up project aims to bring to light the diverse yet unique aspects of Chinese people and society, with the hope of piquing your interest and leading to further inquiries and understanding about China, and all that it is reputed to represent. China Straight Up will deliver multiple video series on different topics, the first of which is Great LOL of China with Jesse Appell, Beijing’s funniest American Comedian. Start watching!

Robust Support for Teachers Pays Rich Dividends to Schools and Students
By Heather Clydesdale
“A strong teacher support system is critical,” states Vivian Tam. “Teachers are the ones who can turn around the growth outcomes for each child.” Tam, who serves as principal at Jing Mei Elementary School, invests heavily in what she calls “wrap-around support” for her teachers. Part of the Bellevue School District (BSD) in Bellevue, Washington, Jing Mei offers multi-tiered resources and approaches that acclimate new recruits and engage veteran teachers, helping them address classroom issues, achieve personal career goals, and direct their significant talents and energy towards improving student achievement and bettering the school community. Read on!

Shifting the Balance Toward Authentic Communication in Our Classrooms
By Heidi Steele, Chinese teacher at Gig Harbor and Peninsula High Schools in the Peninsula School District of Washington State
As a high school Chinese language teacher, I am forever making three mistakes:
  1. I view language learning as a roughly linear process.
  2. I design classroom activities with the goal of practicing particular vocabulary items and grammatical structures. Or, if I remember to keep the focus on communicating meaning, I design scenarios that merely mimic real life.
  3. I place greater value on planned activities than on all of the other communication that occurs in the classroom.

All of these mistakes reduce the amount of authentic communication that occurs in my classroom. We know that to facilitate our students acquiring, in addition to learning, Chinese, we need to give them opportunities to use Chinese for genuine communication. In other words, their minds need to be focused on communication, rather than on practicing the language. When this happens, the language drops into the background, and students almost forget that they are speaking Chinese, rather than English. Read on!

Asia Society Confucius Classrooms Leaders Summit

In May of 2015, a group of school principals, world language supervisors and teachers from Asia Society Confucius Classrooms Network traveled across the sea to Shanghai for a week to learn more deeply about Chinese education systems, and to connect with their sister schools in China. The goal of this Leaders Summit was to offer knowledge and support to educators who aim to implement innovative exchange projects for their students and to build a more meaningful and in-depth school-to-school partnership. The program consisted of talks from experts, visits to exemplary programs in Shanghai, a forum to discuss common challenges, and concluded with a visit to their respective Chinese partner school. This summit was organized in conjunction with East China Normal University. Watch the program video and read participants' reflection here.

News and Opportunities from the Field

2016 National Chinese Language Conference Request for Proposals is Now Open: The National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC) provides a high–profile platform for sharing new ideas and best practices in the fields of Chinese language teaching and learning, Chinese arts and culture, and U.S.–China educational exchange. The 9th annual NCLC is organized by Asia Society and the College Board and will be held in Chicago, IL, April 28–30, 2016. Apply now to lead a session at the 2016 National Chinese Language Conference.

The Global Education Forum (formerly the PGL conference): Co-sponsored by Asia Society and Penn GSE, The Global Education Forum will be held on October 16 and 17 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The conference is an opportunity to engage in a critical conversation between K–12 and higher education educators about how best to prepare students for a global world. By attracting educators from around the world to discuss best practices, promising programs and research, the Global Education Forum will highlight the importance of learning with and from different education systems to help inform our own practice. Learn more. In addition, If you are you interested in learning how to integrate global education in your district or school, there will be an opportunity to learn more about Asia Society's International Studies Schools Network (ISSN) at the Global Education Forum.

WIDA 2015 National Conference: WIDA's annual conference will provide preK through Grade 12 educators of language learners opportunities for professional development, idea sharing, relationship building, and strategic collaboration. The conference will take place from October 15–17 in Las Vegas, NV. Learn more.

21st Century LOTE Education: Providing the Keys to College and Career Readiness: The 98th Annual Conference of the New York State Associate of Foreign Language Teachers (NYSAFLT) will take place from Oct. 30-31 in Saratoga Springs, New York. This year's conference invites the Executive Director of ACTFL, Marty Abbott, as the keynote presenter. A Chinese strand of 5 presentations is also organized to bridge gaps between Chinese programs and other language programs. 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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