Tag Archives: Chinese immersion

Keep those Mandarin skills fresh at summer camp

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Two Mandarin teachers from Jordan School District are hosting a summer camp starting in June at a karate studio in Herriman, UT.

The half-day, week-long camps run Monday through Thursday in split sessions (morning and afternoon). By the looks of their website, they’re fun and affordable; $85 per week if you register by May 30.

Enrollment is now open. For more information see the following brochure, or email Glenn Lim-Anderson or Lay Kou at:  info@mandarinchineseacademy.com Chinese Summer Program-2  

Sunny Southern Utah welcome for Chinese guest teachers

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If Utah leads the nation in Chinese language education with more public immersion programs than any other state, Washington County is the apotheosis.

Washington County School District – situated hundreds of miles south of the state’s bustling population center of Salt Lake – has five Chinese immersion programs, more than any other district.

It’s a feat that the district has managed, despite its relative isolation. There isn’t a ready pool of Chinese immigrants or university-trained Mandarin speakers from which to draw upon to staff the program. Instead, the district relies on guest teachers furnished through the Hanban, a division of the Ministry of Education in China. That, and good-old-fashioned hospitality.

To welcome the teachers, and help them settle into their new surroundings, Marybeth Fuller, the district’s dual immersion coordinator created a guidebook.

More than a mere pamphlet or list of helpful hints, the book contains a brief historical sketch describing how “Dixie” got its name, the area’s ancient Indian roots and influence of early pioneers. It touches on Utah’s economy and culture and spotlights popular destinations: natural wonders in National Parks, Mormon temples, and the shuttle bus to Las Vegas.

It also contains practical living tips, such as directions to area hospitals and how-to’s for obtaining a driver’s license, auto insurance and for buying or leasing a car.

“We don’t really have a transit system down here. You really are going to need a car,” said Fuller. “If I were in their shoes that’s what I would I want to know.”

Visitors to Utah this time of year probably think of snow-capped mountains, said Fuller. Nearly 80 percent of the state’s population lives in the mountainous northern part of the state known as the Wasatch Front.

“You’re going to pack differently and bring different stuff if you’re coming to southern Utah,” she said.

Fuller makes the guide available to guest teachers free of charge, but published it on Amazon.com for ease of access. It’s formatted for downloading on a smart phone or tablet, such as the iPad. Hard copies can be purchased for $2.71.

Meet the Wyoming, Austrlian children fluent in Chinese

Chinese immersion programs are popping up all over the United States, and are now making an appearance in Australia where the government has set a goal of having 40 percent of its high school students studying a foreign language, reports the BBC.

The article quotes a world languages expert who estimates there are fewer than 10 elementary immersion programs in Australia, despite evidence that the model is the best way to reach the country’s educational goals.

“The former Labor government proposed that every Australian high school child should be given the opportunity to learn an Asian language by 2025,” says the BBC. “The current government says 40% of high school children should be learning a foreign language in 10 years’ time. The figure is currently only around 12% in the final year of high school.”

That’s because the dropout rate at high school for Chinese is around 95 percent, the BBC says, noting immersion graduates enter high school better prepared and engaged – more willing to stick it out.

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In other news (with a nod to Utah’s immersion program):

“A Chinese dual-language immersion program in Casper is the first of its kind in Wyoming, but the movement is gaining traction in other areas of the state,” reports the Casper Star-Tribune.

Parents and teachers in Gillette, Cody, Evanston, Sheridan and Cheyenne are exploring adopting programs, the newspaper says:

“Brandee Mau, foreign language curriculum facilitator for Campbell County School District 1 and a German teacher at Campbell County High School in Gillette, said her school district will send a team of school officials and community members to observe the dual-language immersion programs in Utah in the coming months….. Research from immersion programs in Utah, where some 20,000 students statewide participate in dual language learning, suggests that most students who learn in a second language do at least as well — if not better — on standardized tests than students who are not in a dual language program, said Casper-based language consultant Ann Tollefson.”

Beyond Sesame Street and Dora: Chinese cartoons for older kids

Big Ear Tu Tu is a popular Chinese cartoon among kids approaching secondary school. You can find episodes on YouKu, China’s version of YouTube.

Or you can go to this “Chinese4kids” website, which has compiled several episodes along with links to Chinese readers, songs and fun cultural facts about China.

Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman visits Chinese school

Utah’s former Governor and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman recently visited Hilton Head Island’s Chinese immersion program, reports the Island Packet. Huntsman, formerly an ambassador to China under the Obama administration, was instrumental in launching Utah’s immersion program.