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China Learning Initiatives, Center for Global Education at Asia Society
Chinese Language Matters March 9, 2017
Former President Bush and First Lady Bush Welcome 2017 National Chinese Language Conference Attendees to Houston, Texas
Trivia question: Which U.S. presidents and first ladies have studied Mandarin? Now you can add George H. W. and Barbara Bush to the very short list. (Herbert Hoover and his wife Lou are the only two "first couples" to achieve fluency.)

In a welcome letter to attendees of the 2017 NCLC, the former president tells us that they really enjoyed their Mandarin lessons during their time in Beijing in 1974. He further emphasizes the importance of language education in today's world—encouragement we hope you will take with you to the 10th annual gathering in Houston, TX. Read Bush's letter »
How Learning Chinese Helped Chad Lewis Succeed in the NFL
An Interview with Asia Blog
Chad LewisAt 19 years old, Chad Lewis took a crash two-month course in Mandarin Chinese before heading off to spend two years in southern Taiwan as a Mormon missionary, where he painstakingly honed his language skills day-by-day. He would then go on to become a star tight-end for the Brigham Young University football team, followed by nine seasons in the National Football League (NFL) with the Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams, where he racked up three Pro Bowl appearances. Since then, he’s frequently traveled to China as an “NFL ambassador” to help spread awareness of the sport.

At the 2017 National Chinese Language Conference, Lewis will appear on a panel about bridging cultures through sports. Ahead of the event, he spoke with Asia Blog about the prospects for American football in China, his process of learning Chinese, and how he drew on his time in Taiwan to become a professional athlete. Read more »
CELIN Connection
From Shuhan Wang and Joy Peyton
Happy Chinese New Year! Wishing all of you a great year of the Rooster, in which an initiative starting from scratch will likely be successful (白手起家)! We are very much looking forward to seeing many of you at NCLC 2017, April 6–8, in Houston, Texas. On Thursday, April 6, we will hold an all-day CELIN workshop (9:00 AM–4:00 PM) for program administrators and teachers: "Deepening Conversations and Practices of Chinese Language and Dual Immersion Programs: Program Effectiveness and Teaching and Assessing Language, Content, and Culture." It will be a very productive time together. Registration for the conference is now open.

Monongalia County studentsThis month we are pleased to feature the Chinese language programs offered by the West Virginia Department of Education. West Virginia is not a diverse state in terms of population. Yet, due to the collaborative efforts of the West Virginia Department of Education, Confucius Institute for Business West Virginia, Regional Education Service Agency, and Monongalia County Schools, Chinese is taught in 30 schools in the state. Because of its innovative approaches, students and teachers in West Virginia and in China have had many opportunities to participate and help out in each other’s summer camps and to learn Chinese in traditional classrooms and via distance-learning programs. You will find their story inspirational.

Based on findings from a recent CELIN Leadership Forum, “Building the Field of Chinese Early Language and Immersion Education,” held at NCLC 2016 in Chicago, we recently wrote a blog that was published in Education Week, “How to Increase the Number and Quality of Language Immersion Programs.” The blog outlines eight strategies that are critical to the success of dual language programs in Chinese and any language.

As we are developing more CELIN Briefs, we would love your feedback on the existing Briefs! Please take a few minutes to respond to this short survey about your thoughts about them and how you have used them. Thank you in advance for your collaboration.

We have also updated sections on the CELIN web pages with valuable resources:
  • Resources for Educators: We added a book, Innovative Pedagogy and Ecological Perspectives, which integrates Eastern philosophy and Western education theories and emphasizes pedagogy as a way of knowing and doing.
  • Resources for Parents: We added two books on raising bilingual and multilingual children: The Bilingual Edge: Why, When, and How to Teach Your Child a Second Language and Be Bilingual: Practical Ideas for Multilingual Families.
  • Organizations Supporting Language Learning: We added the National Chinese Language and Culture Coalition (NCLCC).
Please 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.
Why Proficiency Assessment Matters
David Bong, CEO of Avant, and Pauline Shuen, founder of Level Chinese, share their thoughts with the Chinese language education field.
As we gear up for the 10th annual National Chinese Language Conference, proficiency continues to be a much-discussed and frequently used word in the language education field. Many companies develop and deliver “proficiency” assessments to schools, but which proficiency is most important to assess? Is it a student’s proficiency at conjugating verbs or reproducing dialogues memorized in the classroom? After all, this is the traditional way of teaching language in the U.S. and in Asia. A student who does these tasks well is probably proficient at memorizing grammar rules and set phrases. But do assessments of these skills tell us anything meaningful about the ability to use that language in the real world? Isn't that the real objective of learning a language? Read more from David Bong »
One of the biggest challenges in teaching the Chinese language to English speakers is that we do not have a system that allows us to better understand and more accurately assess the development of our students’ literacy. The field of English language learning or even ESL has decades of research—from multiple countries and multiple linguistic backgrounds—on the development of English literacy. There are well-established systems such as Fountas & Pinnell and Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) that help instructors assess students’ reading level, accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. Read more from Pauline Shuen »
China in Plain English
Two Intrepid Explorers + One Big China + Zero Dictionaries = Unlimited Learning
China in Plain EnglishIn case you've missed them, we're now up to episode 9 of Howie & Greg's China in Plain English, our latest China Straight Up project.

The series can be used in classrooms in many different ways. For teachers and students, it can foster discussions that help build students' Chinese skills. For example, beginners can be asked to come up with the right questions in Chinese that Howie and Greg should have asked. More advanced students can discuss in Chinese what they would do in a similar situation—in a country where they don't understand the language. For more general audiences, China in Plain English is a way to show that travel in China is totally possible, even with very little knowledge of the language. Watch now »
Immigration Through the Lens of Global Competence
By Tony Jackson, Vice President of Education and Director of the Center for Global Education
If President Trump's travel ban were a piece of student work, would it be graded as globally competent? Asia Society Vice President of Education Tony Jackson shares his thoughts on this question by analyzing President Trump's travel ban through the lens of the four domains of global competence. Read on »

Selected Additional Resources on Immigration View the full list of resources on our website.
News and Opportunities from the Field
Register today for the National Chinese Language Conference. Join us in Houston, Texas, for the 10th annual NCLC on April 6–8, 2017. Learn more and register today! Check out highlights, videos, and photos from past conferences, and look for updates on Twitter with the hashtag #NCLC2017.
TEA-NCTA Summer Institute on Critical Issues in Contemporary China: The Program for Teaching East Asia is offering a summer institute on China, open to U.S. secondary social studies teachers, on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus. Deadline: March 17, 2017.

CARLA Summer Institutes: This internationally known program reflects CARLA's commitment to link research and theory with practical applications for the classroom. Each institute is highly interactive and includes discussion, theory-building, hands-on activities, and networking opportunities. Registration is now open. Learn more. (CARLA is the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition at the University of Minnesota.)

New York International Conference on Teaching Chinese: Jointly with the State University of New York College of Optometry and Nanjing University, the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Greater New York will hold their 15th conference at the State University of New York College of Optometry in Manhattan. The theme of the conference is "Teaching Chinese as a World Language: Research, Practice, and Innovation." The conference welcomes teachers, practitioners, and administrators in the field to attend and present. Conference date: May 6, 2017.

Chinese Teacher Training Program: Sponsored by Hanban, the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Greater New York is offering its popular teacher training summer program at Nanjing University for the 14th year in a row. Courses include Modern Chinese, Classical Chinese Literature, Chinese Characters and Calligraphy, and Seminar on Advanced Chinese. Upon the successful completion of the program, participants will receive graduate-level credits from Nanjing University which can be used to fulfill the subject credit requirement for teacher certification by U.S. education authorities. Program dates: July 10–August 8, 2017

#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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