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

November 2014

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


Get all the latest news and updates on the 2015 National Chinese Language Conference, April 16–18, to be held at the Hilton Atlanta, Georgia.

Apply Today

Applications for the Global Competence Certificate accepted October 13–December 12 for the January 2015 cohort.

Simple Machine: Flipping the Classroom Propels Learning

By Heather Clydesdale
Steve Jobs described computers as “the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.” Borrowing the Apple, Inc. founder and former CEO’s analogy, flipped learning is like a bicycle for the class: It applies simple mechanisms to take students and teachers further with less effort.

In flipped learning, students acquaint themselves with new content and practice skills ahead of class via activities developed by their teacher and posted online. When class convenes, time that once was consumed explaining fresh concepts can instead be used engaging in project-based activities.

Wenping Chen, a Chinese teacher and teacher-educator, is a convert to the format, and so are her students. “The first year, I did not believe they [students] would do the preview,” she says. “They did. Some prefer it to a group setting. It does help me a lot.”

Chen’s endeavors are part of a larger initiative at her school, the Mandarin Language and Cultural Center (MLCC) in San Jose, California. Over the past three years, MLCC educators have made a concerted effort to flip their classrooms using three components: asynchronous online sessions, synchronous online sessions, and classroom sessions.

“Kids can learn any time and at their own pace,” says MLCC principal, Jane Chen, describing asynchronous learning, where students log on and learn at their leisure.

Read on!

CELIN Connection

We hope that you had a very productive time at the ACTFL Convention and World Languages Expo in San Antonio, November 21–23, if you were able to attend. It was wonderful to see and present with many of you there, and in December, we will post presentations that we think you will be interested in.

As you know from the last issue of Chinese Language Matters, we are focusing on study abroad and the ways that some leading Chinese programs are implementing it. We will be adding detailed descriptions to the programs that were summarized in October, with many photos and testimonials from students, teacher chaperones, and parents. Watch the Ask the Experts section of the CELIN @ Asia Society web pages for rich profiles of these programs in the coming months. Please contact us at if you would like your study abroad program to be featured.  –Shuhan Wang and Joy Peyton

Online Resources

Strong School-to-School Partnerships
By Heidi Steele, Chinese teacher at Gig Harbor and Peninsula High Schools in the Peninsula School District of Washington State

When Asia Society accepted the Peninsula School District into their Confucius Classrooms network in 2010, I had already participated in two partnerships with high schools in China that for various reasons turned out to be short lived. Because of these experiences, I was somewhat reluctant to try again with a new school. However, Asia Society strongly encouraged Confucius Classrooms to develop partner schools, and it promised to provide support as needed to keep the relationships strong. For these reasons, when Asia Society highly recommended the Mudanjiang No. 1 High School in Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang Province as a potential partner school, I agreed to explore the possibility. Knowing many of the possible pitfalls that lay ahead, we built our relationship carefully and honestly, and are now in our fourth year of a partnership that offers rich learning experiences for students, parents, and teachers. Read on for Part I of a two-part series.

U.S.-China Bridge Builders: Student Leaders in Action

By Yi Zheng
Despite growing ties between the U.S. and China, there are still misunderstandings and mistrust between these two nations. Student leaders can help to bridge that gap through engaging and kindling their communities’ interest and curiosity about China.

I interviewed four high school students from Saint Ann’s School in New York and Medgar Evers College Preparatory School in Brooklyn (a member of the Asia Society Confucius Classrooms Network), to learn how these students see themselves playing the role of student leaders, and their aspirations as U.S.-China bridge-builders. These students are Project Pengyou Leadership Fellows and were trained in cross-cultural leadership and community organizing strategies for building constructive U.S.-China engagement in their respective communities. Read on for more from these student leaders!

Critiquing Mark Zuckerberg's Mandarin: Give Him a Break!
Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg impressed audiences at Tsinghua University in Beijing last month by answering questions in Mandarin. How well does Zuckerberg speak Chinese? Jeff Wang, Director of Education and China Learning Initiatives at Asia Society, grades Zuckerberg's Mandarin for Bloomsbury.

News and Opportunities from the Field

2015 National Chinese Language Conference – Call for Student Calligraphy: The 2015 National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC) will be held from April 16–18, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to highlighting luminaries from the fields of policy, education, arts and culture, and business, the conference also looks for opportunities to feature student achievements. NCLC15 is calling for student calligraphy of “全美中文大会” to be featured on conference materials. Interested students may send a high-resolution scan of their calligraphy work of ““全美中文大会” to no later than January 1. Please also include the following information: Student's first and last name; school name and state; and grade level.

Webinar: Using Social Media to Support Internationalization of Teacher Education and Broader Applications to the Classroom. This webinar presents the work of two teacher educators who use social media to broaden their students’ global perspectives, teaching them how to actively engage on various social media platforms and then use these tools in their classrooms. When: December 2. Learn more.

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). Next course period: January 5–April 1, 2015. Learn more.

International Student/Teacher Essay Contest: "Imagining a Better Future": The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs has opened a competition to teachers and students anywhere in the world. Essay topic: What would you like to see happen during this century to make the world a better place? Deadline: January 5, 2015. Learn more.

Call for Papers: The Ninth International Conference on Language Teacher Education welcomes proposals for papers and symposia on all aspects of the education and professional development of language teachers. Papers and symposia may report on data-based research, theoretical and conceptual analyses, or best practices in language teacher education. Proposal deadline: January 15, 2015. Learn more.

Host a Teacher from China: The Teachers of Critical Languages Program announces an open competition for U.S. schools to host an exchange teacher from China for an academic year. This program seeks to strengthen foreign language instruction at U.S. schools, while also providing teachers the opportunity to learn about U.S. teaching methodologies, culture, and society. The exchange teachers will teach Mandarin Chinese serve as a cultural resource in the host school and community. Application deadline: January 26, 2015. Learn more. 
David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships: Boren Awards provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to study in Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East, where they can add important international and language components to their educations. Deadlines: January 27 and February 4, 2015

World of 7 Billion Video Contest: World of 7 Billion is holding a video contest for students to come up with innovative solutions to global challenges resulting from human population growth. Students must highlight a global issue dealing with either mass extinction, available farmland, or global education, explain why the issue is important, and provide at least one idea for a sustainable solution in order to be considered. Prizes include up to $1,000 for students and free curriculum resources for teachers. Deadline: February 19, 2015. Learn more.

100,000 Strong Foundation Resource Guide: The 100K Foundation has compiled a list of government scholarships and fellowships for high school and post-secondary students, as well as informational links on studying abroad in China. 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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