Author Archives: diparents

About diparents

Parents of children immersed in Mandarin and proponents of bilingual education.

Utah Mom Organizes “Mandarin-only” outings for kids


Krissy Shull from Alpine had a great idea to organize mini, “Mandarin-only” field trips to some of our local parks, museums and other attractions. This is a great opportunity to give students a chance to practice their Chinese in a relaxed atmosphere with other students from across the state. And through recognition that other kids are learning Mandarin, too, it could serve to reinforce the fun and importance of being bilingual. Shull says her tour group is open to anyone wanting to participate. Or parents can start their own tour groups.

She’ll post dates and times on this Facebook page. Here are some details on the first outing:

When: Tuesday August 4, 2015 @ 1:30pm
Where: Thanksgiving Point Museum of Natural Curiosity
3605 Garden Dr, Lehi, UT 84043
Cost: $2/person ($2 Tuesday price for the month of August)

Plan to get in line around 1:30 p.m. Each family will go through the museum independently or can group together. To encourage the children to interact with other Mandarin speakers you may want to have them bring 10 pieces of colored paper with their Chinese name written on them (2″ X 2″ may work well) to exchange with other Mandarin speakers. Your family may want to wear something with Chinese writing, etc, to help identify yourselves as a part of the Mandarin speaking group.

About the Museum:
The Museum of Natural Curiosity is a large glass-walled building housing more than 400 science- & nature-themed interactive exhibits.

Chinese most widely spoken native language


The Washington Post just published this fascinating series of info-graphics illuminating some surprising facts about language, diversity and global populations. What I love about this series are the layers of complexity. The story isn’t all that long, but it challenges us to question misconceptions about the dominance of English. Chinese, for example, has more native speakers than any other language, followed by Hindi and Urdu,” WAPO reports. English comes next, followed by Arabic and then Spanish.

But cut the numbers differently, and you get a new perspective. We’ve all heard that America is a great melting pot, but it is far from the most linguistically diverse country or continent. Africa wins that distinction.

English is widely used as an official language. It is spoken in more countries than anywhere else and it the most studied.



But the most languages are spoken by only a handful of people, and are at risk of disappearing in 100 years, says WAPO.


Last Chance Chinese Summer Camp


Apologies for this late post — I thought it had already published.

But it may not be too late to sign up for the Confucius Institute’s annual summer camp (for grades 2-6), running from July 27-31. There are several locations this year, including the University of Utah’s Salt Lake City and Bountiful campuses, Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah Valley University in Orem, and Dixie State University in St. George. You can enroll online at:

See the attached for more information:

Chinese Immsion Campus Flyer (Wasatch Front)

Chinese Immsion Campus Flyer (St George)

Is American educating its kids for the past or the future?


Stumbled across this incredible report on globalization by the Asia Society. I’ve included a brief summary below with links to more. But the three points that stick out for me:

  • America’s markets are mostly abroad. Ninety-five percent of consumers and three-quarters of the world’s purchasing power are outside U.S. borders.
  • Globalization means domestic job growth. One out of every five American jobs is currently tied to international trade. Twenty-four states have seen greater than 100 percent growth over a 20-year period; some states, like Maine, are approaching 200 percent job growth in this sector.
  • America is educating its students for the past, not the future. In California, for instance, only 15 percent of students learn a foreign language, and the vast majority does not go beyond an introductory level.

From the report:

Asia Society, together with Longview Foundation and SAS, released Mapping the Nation, an interactive map that shows how 3,000 U.S. counties are connected globally. It also uses available education data that points to a dearth of knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the global economy. One thing is clear: there is a tremendous gap between demand for a globally competent workforce, and the supply that is currently coming out of America’s schools and universities.

The real lesson here is this is not the responsibility of the education system alone. It takes a clear understanding of America’s economic and demographic context, as well as public and political will, to give educators the support they need to help keep the United States and its workforce strong.”

How to use instructional videos in Chinese: from the Asia Society

Mandarin Immersion Parents Council

Asia Society Professional Development and Resources for Chinese Language Teachers
As demand for Chinese language programs skyrockets in the U.S. Schools, Asia Society continues to play a leading role in training and developing Chinese language teachers. On January 15–17, the Asia Society’s China Learning Initiatives held the 5th Annual Teachers Institute in Houston in collaboration with Asia Society Texas Center. More than 100 participants from 21 states were selected to attend the conference, which was themed “Effective Chinese Language Instruction: Step by Step.” Participants visited k–12 Chinese language programs in Houston and attended lectures and workshops. In addition to this annual conference, Asia Society’s year-long Chinese Language Teaching Fellows program selects promising candidates from schools nationwide, provides one-on-one coaching with experts, films real classroom teaching, and makes exemplary instructional videos: TEQ Series available online.

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Online Chinese tutoring company offers summer discount is now offering a Summer Bundle program that allows kids to keep up their Mandarin practice throughout the summer and allows parents to save big.
  • One 50 minute one-on-one tutoring session per week for 10 weeks. $450. Now $295. Save $155!
  • Two 25 minute one-on-one tutoring sessions per week for 8 weeks.  $400. Now $295. Save $105!
Our kid-tested and teacher-reviewed tutors tailor sessions to the child’s interests and level.  Video sessions happen from home – no driving – and online scheduling is easy. For details and to watch a 60 second video demo click here
Kristina Klausen
Founder & CEO
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Utah County Chinese Summer Camp

Chinese Summer Immersion Program- My name is Brittney Phelps. I am a former Chinese Immersion teacher, and I am heading up a weekly and flexible summer program to help students improve their language skills, retain what they have already learned, and be so much more prepared for the coming year.

If you live in the Utah County area and you are interested in helping your student keep up his/ her Chinese over the Summer, check out my site at

I have spent the last year tutoring many students in Chinese, from the kids who need an extra challenge to those who are struggling to keep up with the other students. Wherever your child falls along that spectrum, our weekly Summer Immersion Program will help your student to be better prepared for the year to come. Don’t let a long summer break lead your kids to forget much of what they have worked so hard to learn!

Our summer program starts this week but feel free to sign up on our website at any time during the summer!

Also, you can like our Facebook page, “Chinese Immersion Summer Program,” to receive tips throughout the summer for helping your child in Chinese.

More summer learning opportunities for your kids

(Photo courtesy of the Provo Herald, which featured Su Mama’s storytelling club and camp).
Utahns are entrepreneurial, so it makes sense that so many summer camps have popped up since the launch of the state’s Mandarin Immersion program seven years ago. It’s nice to see so many summertime learning opportunities for our kids! Here are three more to add to the growing list:
  • In a world of rapid change, the future will be shaped by those who are prepared to interact in a global society. The ability to speak another language, especially Chinese, will be a great asset to your child. Provo, UT-based YanYan believes that your student’s Chinese immersion experience will foster the drive, perspective, and proficiency to make a positive impact in all they do. At YanYan, we are passionate about enabling you and your student with the learning tools to succeed, not only in mastering the language, but in preparing for their future as lifelong learners. Visit our website at
  • Su Mama Chinese Immersion Summer Camp is pleased to announced that our guest storyteller, Chen Ma Ma, will serve for our Chinese Immersion Summer Camp 2015. Amanda Conklin (Su Ma Ma) and Chen Mama will provide a summer camp for students at Wasatch Elementary. They are both native Mandarin Chinese speakers and skilled storytellers (Chen Ma Ma is an award winning storyteller). They will teach groups according to language proficiency. Language events will be based around lots of Chinese story books. Students will be able to learn the skills to ask, ponder, discuss, organize information, and recreate new stories. Thursdays are special event days where we will be doing such things as doing science experiments, using music to learn Chinese, playing Chinese Games and other activities. During summer camp participation children will also be able to learn a play and participate a play with Pen Pal school visitors from Taiwan-JhuCiao Elementary in August.Groups will be taught by 2 teachers and a guest volunteer. Children will be grouped by ability. To register:

Tips for keeping your Chinese skills fresh over the summer

John Hilton, one UMIPC’s parent leaders, compiled this newsletter with valuable tips for constructive ways to spend the dog days of summer. 

We’ve shared information about various summer camps on this blog. Here are more options, courtesy of Hilton, for families in Utah County: Check out learning opportunities from Nathan Abbott (, Brittney Phelps ( and Amanda Conklin (

I’m posting the rest of his newsletter below. You can sign up to receive copies of our newsletter here.

Aside from summer camps, there are many resources you can use in the summer time to keep your child’s skills fresh. You could have your child practice on Quizlet sites his/her teacher has sent home throughout the year (or they could try these HSK Quizlets).

There are some great books available on Amazon that would work for children who have completed third grade – like the story about two children who seek a bridge to another world. Some of the books in the series are available inexpensively on Ebay (or used on Amazon). You might also consider hiring older immersion students (4-6 graders) to come read to younger readers or do Chinese games with them. It is possible that for a very low cost you could stimulate some good Chinese activity.

Last summer parents at one school hosted a weekly Chinese movie activity in which children could come to the school and watch a feature film in Chinese (many of the Chinese teachers will have access to these types of films). Something like that could be a great benefit to many.

Good luck this summer! We know the teachers will be working hard to prepare for the fall. Also, if you missed it previously, here is the latest information regarding Utah State’s secondary immersion plans. Parents of 5th and 6th graders may want to be in touch with their respective districts to learn more about the secondary plans in their area. We are very lucky to have such a great immersion program in Utah!

An alternative to Chinese summer camp: Hire tutor

Stumbled across this blog post by an adult Chinese learner, who, instead of heading off to Chinese summer camp, decided to hire a tutor to work with him and his family for a week.

An excerpt: “We really loved it because it was completely personalized. Our teacher was able to support us exactly where we needed to be without worrying about other students or families.  We were able to tailor the days to our needs. Whether it was cooking food, going to the park, or playing a game at home, we could easily focus on and practice language related to the everyday activities we needed to talk about. This was a huge help for us and much better than having the teacher create a lesson plan from some boring book or irrelevant text. …This not only greatly helps memory retention, but keeps things interesting.”

A growing body of evidence points to the importance of “authentic language learning,” or giving students real-life, developmentally appropriate opportunities to express themselves in their second language. For instance, a lesson on cooking steamed buns exposes them to everyday words, such as “measuring cup, flour, water, mix and temperature.” It gives them a chance to put their Mandarin to practical use. And learning about Chinese culture enriches their language instruction by exposing them to: regional and class-based accents; new vocabulary; conventions of different literary forms, such as rap and poetry; appropriateness of expression in different contexts (conventions of politeness, street language versus school language).

A lot of the research on the importance of “authentic language learning,” is out of Canada, the birthplace of modern language immersion. Here are excerpts from one of the most commonly cited papers, “Immersion Education for the Millennium: What We Have Learned from 30 Years of Research on Second Language Instruction,” by Jim Cummins at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto:

“For immersion education to attain its maximum potential it must be integrated into an educational philosophy that goes beyond just the discipline of Applied Linguistics. Students must have opportunities to communicate powerfully in the target language if they are going to integrate their language and cognitive development with their growing personal identities.”