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

September 2014

In this Issue
Two Nations, One Dream
CELIN Connection
Online Resources
News and Opportunities Analyses, how-tos, lesson plans, and much more.

Save the Dates!

April 16–18, 2015

The eighth annual National Chinese Language Conference will take place at the Hilton Atlanta, located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

Share your experience and knowledge – submit a proposal today!


Two Nations, One Dream

By Yun Qin

When ABBA started singing, “I have a dream, a song to sing, to help me cope with anything,” I was not yet born in a small city in the Yangtze River Delta of China. By the time I was first time humming, “I have a dream, a fantasy, to help me through reality,” I had left my hometown for Shanghai with all my dreams as my luggage. I longed to see the outside world and to experience what novelty could bring to a young heart.

Several years later, I packed up again and moved to the other side of the world. I was ready for and even anticipating strong culture shock. Not until I met various people from around the world did I give in to the culture shock. As I discovered in my new living environment, differences can seem much more interesting when you realize that people actually have a lot in common. I learned that finding similarities between cultures could be a fun endeavor.

I had this same understanding in mind when facing a challenge in the present day: How best can teachers present China and Chinese culture to their students? Should the differences be characterized as something exotic, or simply enjoyable? With this question, I designed the 2014 China Studies Seminar (July 13–19, Shanghai) with the theme of “Two Nations, One Dream." Read on!

And look for perspectives on “Two Nations, One Dream” from teachers in the next issue of Chinese Language Matters.

CELIN Connection

We hope the school year is off to a great start and that everyone has settled into comfortable patterns. As usual, fall is a heavy season for conferences and professional development opportunities. Several of these are related to Chinese language education find them in News and Opportunities section below. We hope to see you at these conferences!

We are happy to add a new section of the CELIN @ Asia Society web pages that lists organizations focused on language education, here. Their work and resources will be helpful to educators and community members working in language education, including Chinese early language and immersion education. Curricula and materials are important to effective language education, and CELIN staff and colleagues are embarking on an ongoing effort to identify and make them available. Some that we have identified can be found here. We would love to hear about those that you know about and that aren’t included here. Please write to us at  –Shuhan Wang and Joy Peyton


Online Resources

The Foreign and the Familiar: Creating a Documentary that Explores Cross-Cultural Understanding
By Strawn Dixon, Senior at Lake Forest High School, Illinois, Asia Society Confucius Classrooms Network Member

Breathless and shaking from anxiety, I stand face to face with a stoic, armed Chinese guard. Over his left shoulder, the imposing red Forbidden City of Beijing looms in the soft morning light. Separated from my group, I stand alone. Speaking in a language utterly foreign to me, a group of uniformed children pass by. I recognize nobody. I place my camera bag and tripod in front of an elaborate metal detector, unsure as to what will become of them. Lost and outside of my comfort zone, I grab my now authorized equipment and begin to sprint. Stride after stride, the controversial cobblestone of Tiananmen Square rejects the pounding of my aching feet. In the distance, I discern a red flag ruffling in the wind at the base of a flagpole. Focus, composition, exposure — I press the record button. As the red circle pulses on my screen, I quietly watch the uniformed color guard raise the crimson Chinese flag into a mustard‐colored sky.

At that moment, I realized this experience in China would have an enormous impact on me, shaping my identity and strengthening my passion for storytelling. By articulating what I’ve learned from the process of making a documentary about a foreign culture, I hope to encourage other students to experience this life-altering opportunity and to document and share their own experiences.

Read on for more of Strawn's story, and to watch and share the 2-part documentary with your students.

Strengthening U.S.-China Relations, One Student at a Time
The 100,000 Strong Foundation, in partnership with Asia Society and Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), has launched a new report: Strengthening US-China Relations, One Student at a Time – Perspectives from Leaders in the Field. The report features a series of essays authored by a range of prominent leaders active in U.S.-China relations, including Asia Society President Josette Sheeran. The report underscores why we must invest in today’s students — our next generation of leaders — to ensure they have the necessary skills to manage the world’s most consequential relationship. Access the report here.


News and Opportunities from the Field

2015 National Chinese Language Conference: Save the dates and submit a proposal today! Join us in Atlanta, Georgia, April 16 – 18, 2015, and get all the latest news and updates.

CLAC 2015 Call for Proposals: The 9th annual conference on Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC) focuses on building relationships to serve an expanded population. Proposals due October 1, 2014. 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). Course period: October 1–December 31, 2014. Learn more.

Immersion 2014: Mainstreaming Access to Multilingual Communities: This conference, organized by the University of Utah’s Second Language Teaching and Research Center and the Utah State Office of Education, will take place October 15–18 in Salt Lake City. CELIN @ Asia Society staff will present on Friday at 10:00 AM on Chinese Immersion Programs in the U.S. Educational Landscape: Emergence, Vitality, and Challenges. Learn more.

2014 CLTA International Symposium on Chinese Language Teaching and Learning Chinese L2 Instruction in a Global Context: This international symposium, organized by the Chinese Language Teacher Association, USA, with a number of co-sponsors, will take place October 24–26 at Indiana University, Bloomington. CELIN @ Asia Society staff will discuss ways that educators and researchers around the world can collaborate to advance the field. Learn more.

Call for Curriculum: The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) invites submissions for the Franklin R. Buchanan Prize awarded annually to recognize an outstanding curriculum publication on Asia designed for any educational level, elementary through university. Application deadline: November 1. Learn more. 

Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching (DA) Program: K–12 teachers are invited to apply for a unique international professional development opportunity for 3–6 months. By conducting educational research abroad, U.S. teachers gain new skills, learn new instructional methods and assessment methodologies and share best practices with international colleagues and students. Teachers also have the opportunity to expand their understanding of other cultures and international education systems that will enrich their U.S. schools and local communities with global perspectives. Teachers may travel to: Botswana, Finland, India, Israel, Mexico, Palestinian Territories, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. Learn more.

CLEF 2015 Call for Proposals: Next year's conference theme is “World Readiness in PreK–16 Chinese Language Instruction." Proposals due November 14, 2014. 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.
Study abroad this school year! Visit for student travel information.

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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