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Union City, Oregon to get Mandarin immersion school

March 29, 2015

UNION, Ore. (AP) — The Union Hotel, which opened in 1921, is a local icon, owning the distinction of being one of the oldest hotels in Eastern Oregon.

Soon the hotel will own another distinction. The building will be the site of one of the few bilingual elementary schools in Oregon.

Charlie Morden and partner Ruth Rush, owners and operators of the Union Hotel, plan to open a Chinese language immersion school at the Union Hotel as early as September 2016. Children will be taught in both Mandarin Chinese and English on the expansive and now vacant third floor of the Union Hotel plus other portions of the building.

“Math, for example, will be taught in Chinese one day and English the next,” Morden said.

Please read more here.

Utah bets big on foreign language learning, but not everyone is on board

March 24, 2015

Utah bets big on foreign language learning, but not everyone is on board

A second-grader leads her class in a Chinese exercise at Santa Clara Elementary School in southern Utah.

Credit: Nina Porzucki

Several years ago, Utah decided to start teaching foreign languages in public schools — beginning in the first grade.

Listen to the Story.

Utah probably isn’t the first place you’d think would be at the forefront of language education in the United States. When it comes to per-student spending in public schools, Utah comes in dead last among all 50 states. What’s more, Utah passed an “English Only” law 15 years ago, declaring English to be the state’s sole official language.

So what accounts for this language push? One man: Republican State Senator Howard Stephenson.

Stephenson has served in the Utah legislature for more than 22 years. He calls himself a “government watchdog” and idolizes Ronald Reagan. He’s even got a page dedicated to the past president on his website. Safe to say, the senator is wary of the government messing in his business.

But during a 2008 trip to China, where the government messes in everyone’s business, Stephenson had what he describes as an “epiphany.” He met many Chinese students who spoke with him in fluent English. They were bright, eager and articulate.

“On the plane ride home, I was worried about America’s future,” Stephenson says. “I was excited for the Chinese and their rising nation, but I wondered what could I do as a policymaker to assist in helping the United States connect to these rising nations?”

Stephenson promptly introduced a bill to fund the teaching of critical languages, like Mandarin, in Utah’s public schools.

Please read and listen to more here.

How bilingualism affects children’s beliefs 

March 23, 2015

A Concordia study shows that kids exposed to two languages have different expectations than those who are monolingual

Posted on January 13, 2015
By: Cléa Desjardins
Early second-language education could promote acceptance of social and physical diversityEarly second-language education could promote acceptance of social and physical diversity. | Photo by Concordia University

Most young children are essentialists: They believe that human and animal characteristics are innate. That kind of reasoning can lead them to think that traits like native language and clothing preference are intrinsic rather than acquired.

But a new study from Concordia suggests that certain bilingual kids are more likely to understand that it’s what one learns, rather than what one is born with, that makes up a person’s psychological attributes.

The study, forthcoming in Developmental Science, suggests that bilingualism in the preschool years can alter children’s beliefs about the world around them. Contrary to their unilingual peers, many kids who have been exposed to a second language after age three believe that an individual’s traits arise from experience.

For the study, psychology professor Krista Byers-Heinlein and her co-author, Concordia undergrad Bianca Garcia, tested a total of 48 monolingual, simultaneous bilingual (learned two languages at once) and sequential bilingual (learned one language and then another) five- and six-year-olds.

Please read more here.

Saratoga Springs, NY gets a Mandarin immersion school

March 22, 2015

Learning to view the world in two languages

The Chinese immersion summer program provides a preview of what the G.L.O.B.E. School’s classes will look like. Photo provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS >> Confucius once said, “If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for 10 years, plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years, educate children.” Local educator Margaret Sharkey has taught children all over the world, and now her lifelong dream has come true as she helps open the bilingual G.L.O.B.E. School in Saratoga this fall. There, academically gifted elementary students can learn in both Mandarin Chinese and English.

G.L.O.B.E. stands for Globaissance Learning Oasis for Building Engagement; Globaissance is Sharkey’s portmanteau word for Global Renaissance. The school will develop global perspectives and renaissance thinking in its children through an arts-infused, multidisciplinary approach to inquiry-based learning. All that translates into teaching kids to become bright, active global citizens.

Please read more here.

U.S. students losing interest in China as dream jobs prove elusiv

March 21, 2015

What’s of course noteworthy about this is that kids coming from Mandarin immersion programs don’t need to spent two to three years learning Chinese while they’re in college–they arrive at college already speaking Chinese. Which gives them a tremendous leg up. — Beth

U.S. students losing interest in China as dream jobs prove elusive
SHANGHAI Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:15pm EDT

(Reuters) – American students are getting cold feet about studying Chinese in China, with many study abroad programs in the country seeing a substantial drop in enrolment over the last few years.

At the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP), student enrolment in programs in China is expected to be less than half the level it was only four years ago. Washington-based CET, another leading study abroad group, says interest in China has been falling since 2013.

The apparent waning of interest worries some China watchers. Given the importance of the U.S.-China relationship, having a group of Americans across different industries who speak Chinese and understand the culture is “a matter of national interest”, says Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Wilson Center in Washington.

“We can’t respond coherently, effectively and fully to China unless we understand China on its own terms,” he said.

The Institute of International Education says the number of U.S. students studying in China fell 3.2 percent in 2012-13 to 14,413, even as overall study abroad numbers rose modestly.

American students’ apparent loss of interest contrasts with Chinese students’ clamor for a U.S. education. The number of Chinese studying in the United States jumped 16.5 percent in 2013-14 to more than 274,000.

Please see more here.

The Chairman’s Bao

March 20, 2015

I think I’ve mentioned this site before, but it’s worth repeating.

This is a cool site where they’re taking Chinese newspaper articles and making them a little easier to read for students. The title is a dual-language pun, as bao, 报, means newspaper.


Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 10.38.10 AM


See their site here.


An easy-to-set-up Mandarin event – Chinese Tongue Twisters!

March 15, 2015

Here’s something students in San Francisco are doing that could easily be copied by programs elsewhere. It’s a little less intense than poetry-recitation contests, and (I feel I can say) a lot more zany and fun.


Dear Parents,

In partnership with Jinshan Mandarin Education Council – 金山中文教育协会 and promote Mandarin learning, SK is introducing our 1st annual Tongue Twister friendly competition on Friday, March 20, 2015, 2:00-2:40 pm in the cafeteria.

Students volunteer to enter or as a class and they will perform 2 well known grade level tongue twister on stage that afternoon.

All participants will receive a participation certificate and some fun prizes will go to the

Most Expressive
Fast and Accurate
Most Amusing
Most Imaginative
Most Difficult
Most Amazing

Come and watch the students twirl their tongues and spit out the words as fast as they can.

Attached is the tongue twister selections for this year. You are most welcome to try it.

Tongue Twister in Mandarin, 绕口令,performance and competition
Come to join us for the very first Mandarin Tongue Twister performance and competition from the Mandarin program.

When: Friday, March 20, 2015, 2-2:40pm
Where: Cafeteria
What: MI program students will perform tongue twisters and compete for prizes

This event is sponsored by JMEC.


時间:星期五,三月二十曰,下午 2-2:40
事项:中文沈浸班 学生们将表演及比赛绕口令


Click the link below to see the tongue-twisters in Chinese:

K-5 绕口令


K-5 Tongue-Twisters with Translation


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