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

November 2015

In this Issue
Move Over Double-O Seven
CELIN Connection
TEQ Time
Online Resources
News and Opportunities Analyses, how-tos, lesson plans, and much more.
11.11: Singles' Day

Move Over Double-O Seven,
Make Way for Double Eleven

By Kiril Bolotnikov

In a Western context, there is a fairly common perception of Valentine's Day being over-commercialized; if we were to address the intersection of love and money in the United States, Valentine's Day would typically be the first example raised. In China, however, those dual aspects of romance and commercialization come to a head on a completely different holiday, and interestingly, almost completely separately from each other.

Valentine's Day in the West is also sometimes refer to as "Singles Awareness Day," due to the fact that the holiday, to some people at least, only serves as a reminder of just how single they are. Chinese youth took this to another level in the early 1990s, designating November 11 as "Singles' Day" (光棍节, Guānggùn jié, literally "bare sticks day") because the number one, repeated four times in the numerical abbreviation "11/11" was deemed representative of their lack of a relationship.

While this was initially seen simply as an amusing product of Nanjing University culture, the "holiday" started spreading to other universities throughout China, and eventually, into other aspects of society. By the early 2000s, it was fairly well known, at least to China's youth population. Read on!

CELIN Connection

Reward School 2015, Minnesota Department of EducationCongratulations to Yinghua Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has been named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education! Yinghua was 1 of 8 Minnesota schools, 1 of 335 schools across the nation, 1 of 15 charter schools, and the only immersion school, to be selected.

Susan Berg, CEO and Executive Director, and Dr. Luyi Lien, Academic Director, had the opportunity to represent Yinghua Academy at the official Blue Ribbon School ceremony in Washington, DC, on November 9–10. Yinghua received the 2014 Confucius Classroom of the Year Award and is celebrating its 10th year in operation in 2015. Please join us in lifting a glass of congratulations to Yinghua Academy!

Learning in a whole group in 1st grade at Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter SchoolThis month we are pleased to profile the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School in South Hadley, Massachusetts. This tuition-free, regional public charter school prepares students in grades K–11 (with plans to add grade 12 in 2016–2017) for academic and personal success through rigorous study in English and Mandarin Chinese. The school's goal is to graduate students with excellent scholarship, high proficiency in Mandarin Chinese and English, and sensitivity to multiple cultures.

We are also happy to see that our colleagues in Chinese language education are searching the interactive CELIN Program Directory and adding their own programs. If you use the directory to search for programs by state, city, program name, or grades taught, you will learn a lot about what is happening in the field! Please also check to make sure that your program is included and if any updates are needed. If you would like to add a program or update information about it, please complete the online form. Our staff will then contact you to help you enter your data online. Having your program in the directory provides a great service to programs, prospective educators, parents, and teachers, so please spread the word about the directory.

We hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

—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. Xi Sun's Kindergarten Novice-Mid Immersion Chinese Class at the Global Village Academy in Colorado. In the video below, you can see her in action in her classroom. You can also view or download her accompanying lesson plan.


Ms. Xi Sun teaches her kindergarten class in Colorado.

Online Resources

Exploring Islam in China Opens New Pathways for Language Instruction
By Heather Clydesdale
When Dr. Cyndy Ning wrote a grant proposal to go to the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in western China and film interviews with locals, she was simply following a funding guideline stipulating a focus on Muslims. What resulted from her travels was not only engaging interviews exploring varied perspectives and ethnic diversity in China, but also imaginative ways to adapt authentic materials to all levels of language learning. Read on!

What Makes Materials Authentic? Part I
Using a Broader Definition to Understand the Value of Children's Stories

By Heidi Steele
Image from page 2 of a children's story written by Heidi Steele and illustrated by her student Emmalene Madsen.We all recognize the value of integrating authentic materials into the classroom. They can and should form the backbone of our curriculum for teaching Chinese language, making the language real by bridging the gap between the sheltered environment of the classroom and language as it's used "in the wild." This month, Heidi Steele shares her experience using authentic materials to teach Chinese language at two high schools in Washington state and how she has expanded the definition of "authentic" to better serve her students. Read Part I here.

News and Opportunities from the Field

November 19 was National #Pengyou Day. Many students and schools across the nation joined the "WE ARE ALL #PENGYOU" Campaign to promote friendship and exchange between China and the United States. Nearly fifty Project Pengyou Campus Chapters, in conjunction with the State Department's International Education Week, simultaneously launched events and social media campaigns to celebrate US-China study, engagement, and friendship.

Asia Society Confucius Classrooms, along with the Fulbright Program and the 100,000 Strong Foundation, also joined Project Pengyou as partners to spread the #Pengyou Day campaign in their national networks! View pictures and posts from #Pengyou Day on social media.

The Chinese Language Education Forum (CLEF) 2016: The Chinese Language Education Forum brings together P–16 educators and administrators from around the world to share best practices, research findings, and ideas. The 2016 conference theme is "Literacy: The Core of Global Competency," and online registration is now open! To take advantage of the early bird rate (40 percent off), register by January 22, 2016. Learn more.

TCLP 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. The deadline is January 25, 2016. Learn more.

2016 Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL): The Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages serves educators in all languages (including classical, less commonly taught, and ESL), at all levels from kindergarten through university, in both public and private settings. The theme of NECTFL 2016 is Developing Intercultural Competence through World Languages. The conference will take place in New York City at the NY Hilton Midtown from February 11–13, 2016. Learn more.

IIE Doctoral Fellowships: IIE has launched two fellowship opportunities for doctoral-level students in the arts, education, humanities, and social sciences with a focus on China: The PhD in China Fellowship and the Research PhD Fellowship (in its second year), sponsored by Hanban and under the umbrella of the Confucius China Studies Program (CCSP.) IIE will host an information session about the fellowships on December 2. The application deadline is February 15, 2016. Learn more.

The 14th New York International Conference on Teaching Chinese, sponsored by the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Greater New York (CLTA-GNY), New School University and Nanjing University, will be held on Saturday, May 7, at New School University in New York City. You are invited to submit a proposal for this conference! Deadline: February 15, 2016.

Columbia Teachers College TCSOL/TESOL Certificate Programs: The Center for International Foreign Language Teacher Education (CIFLTE) at Teachers College, Columbia University, currently offers two certificate programs: The TCSOL Certificate Program in New York and the TCSOL/TESOL Summer Dual Certificate Program in Beijing. Both programs are currently accepting applications, with priority deadlines on March 15, 2016, and final deadlines on June 30, 2016. 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 © 2015 Asia Society, All rights reserved.