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Another view on how to do Chinese immersion

October 15, 2013

Sharon Carstens’ daughter went through the Portland, Ore. Mandarin immersion program, so she’s seen up close and personal how these programs work and where they sometimes fall short. She also is a fluent Mandarin speaker herself.

So like the professor she is, she set out to think “how would we do immersion if we could do it in a way that best serves the goal of having students learn Chinese,” rather than “how can we deal with all the requirements of a public school program and fit in Mandarin?”

Some of her conclusions are surprising.

Carstens spent two years researching and writing about it and the book she and several other teachers have written on the subject was just published.

What she proposes would be difficult to implement in most public schools because there’s not a lot of wiggle room in terms of what  must be taught, and there are only so many hours in the school day.

Still, it’s an interesting thought experiment. She’ll be presenting at a poster session at the Chinese Language Education Forum near San Francisco next week, for those who might be attending.

Beth

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Language through Culture, Culture through Language: A Framework for K-8 Mandarin Curriculum 教汉语教文化:贯连小学初中的汉语教学策略 (Bilingual: English and Chinese). Chief Editor: Sharon Carstens; Authors: Sharon Carstens, Tien Whyte, Li-Ling Cheng; Translators: Zhao Wenjuan, Wang Haiying, Sharon Carstens. Peking University Press (June 2013). Pp.434. ISBN978-7-301-22494-6/H.  Price: 58 Yuan

This book is a collaborative project with an American scholar and experienced Chinese language teachers that presents for the first time an integrated language and culture curricular framework for teaching Chinese to K-8 American students. Approaching this through 8 thematic cultural units (family; food & medicine; geography & travel; history, politics & religion etc.), it emphasizes designing specific topics, teaching contents and classroom activities to match the characteristic physical and cognitive levels of students of different ages. The book has seven chapters. The first chapter describes original research that investigated models for teaching Chinese language and culture in diverse programs; chapter two presents the theoretical design of the proposed curricular model and explains the general framework; the next four chapters detail specific curricular contents for students at four levels of physical and cognitive development with suggestions for course materials, teaching methods, classroom activities, and other teaching considerations while addressing the two key educational issues of what to teach and how to teach; chapter seven discusses issues of student assessment and teacher training.

This book can assist curricular development staff, administrators, and teachers in designing curriculum that fits the circumstances of their own school. At the same time, this book includes many examples of classroom activities that can serve as a reference for overseas Chinese language teachers and volunteer teachers, as well as teachers and researchers interested in researching Chinese teaching.

本书由美国学者及一线汉语教师合作完成,首次提出了一套针对美国幼儿园至八年级汉语课堂设计的语言与文化相结合的中文课程模式。该模式主要涉及八个文化主题(家庭,食物与中医,地理与旅游,历史、政治与宗教等),结合不同年龄阶段学生的生理及认知发展特征,分别设计出了各主题中各年级的教学内容和课堂活动。全书共七章,第一章介绍了研究缘起,研究基础的一个针对不同学校语言、文化教学方式的调查;第二章介绍了该课程模式的设计理念、设计过程及内容框架;随后分四章详述了四个阶段中的学生特点、课程内容、具体教学方式、教学活动、教学注意事项等,同时解决了“教什么”和“怎么教”这两个教学中的主要问题;第七章则讨论了学生评估、教师培训等问题。

   本书可帮助课程研发人员、教学管理人员、教师因地制宜设计本校课程;同时,本书包含大量课堂教学活动,可作为海外汉语教师、志愿者教师的教学参考书,也可供给对汉语教学与研究有兴趣的教师和研究者。

This book is available through Amazon.com by clicking the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Language-through-Framework-Mandarin-Curriculum/dp/730122494X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380263791&sr=1-1&keywords=k-8  Price: $26.14

This book is also available through ChinaSprout and NanHai Books. Although the title is not yet listed on their websites, you can make a special request and they will arrange order and shipment from Peking University Press.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 15, 2013 7:45 pm

    Reblogged this on Utah Mandarin Immersion Parent Council and commented:
    A thought experiment: How do to immersion if the goal is to best serve students, rather than bending to public school requirements.

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