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School District Considers Mandarin Immersion for Kindergartners

June 5, 2012. Chinook Observer.
The Naselle-Grays River Valley School Board will vote on June 19th whether to implement an optional Mandarin immersion program for kindergartners. The program will be taught by a teacher from China and the students who voluntarily enroll will speak nothing but that language exclusively during their morning classes next fall. Read the full article.

Strengthening Ties with China, Building Student Exchange

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Karen Kodama, International Education Administrator for Seattle Public Schools, blog about the importance of building ties with China on the eve of a Seattle delegation’s trip to Chongqing.

“Confucius Says …” Inside Higher Ed Looks at Controversy and Questions about Confucius Institutes

Directly from the article: “More than 300 colleges in more than 90 countries — including about 70 institutions in the United States — host Confucius Institutes, centers of Chinese language and culture education and research funded by China’s government. The infusion of Chinese government funding into international universities has enabled significant expansions in language teaching, cultural programming, and China-related conferences and symposiums, but it has also raised fears regarding academic freedom and independence of teaching and research.”
Read the full article.

CIWA at Chinese Bridge Delegation 2011

The delegation provides an opportunity to:

  • Visit Chinese K-12 schools, meet with Chinese educators and observe classes.
  • Establish meaningful partnerships with Chinese schools and network with U.S. colleagues.
  • Attend presentations on best practices and learn about resources to build and support Chinese language and culture programs.
  • Experience China firsthand and marvel at the rich traditional culture set against stunning modern development.

In addition to the above stated focus, an opportunity to network and exchange information and share experiences of practices among delegation members was a very valuable effect that the delegation afforded participants.

Washington State Presence in the Delegation

Washington Bridge delegates at Hanban headquartersLisa Clayton and Chunman Gissing represented Confucius Institute of the State of Washington (CIWA) in this delegation. Clayton is the assistant principal at Pathfinder K-8 School in Seattle Public School system. Gissing serves on the Education Advisory Board of CIWA; she is the president of the Chinese Language Teachers Association Washington State.

(CLTA-WA), and a senior Mandarin examiner for the International Baccalaureate Organization. The two embarked on the journey excited about the prospect to connect with each other during the trip and build a good foundation for future collaboration in support of the work on Chinese education in the State of Washington in support of CIWA’s work and mission.

Washington Bridge delegates with Mme Xu Lin, Director General of HanbanDuring the trip, Clayton and Gissing were pleasantly surprised to find many other Washington State educators in the delegation. A huge bonus resulted in the forming of a “Washington State contingent” that functioned as such throughout the journey. Together, the Washington State contingent made introductions, extended greetings, and offered appreciation to our hosts and our organizers.

As a group, we also emerged as leaders in the respective regional sub-groups we were assigned to. The sub-group consisting of the most number of Washington State educators had been publicly crowned as The Best-est Overachiever!” And we had a grand time in the achieving process working collaboratively with peers from within the State and elsewhere, American and Chinese institutions alike.

Mme Xu Lin welcomes the DelegationThroughout the 8-day stay in China, the delegation was treated to a rigorous schedule learning about Chinese education issues, challenges, aspirations and long term plans. Among the plans is expanding contact and collaborative relationship with US institutions.

The degree of the desire, determination and can do spirit among the Chinese educators was very apparent and inspiring. The school visits, information lectures, and education fairs made it clear to delegate members and their Chinese counterparts of the fact that there is much each has to contribute and enrich the other’s ability to offer quality education to our learners, and that working together, the possibility is immensely powerful. The organizers made thoughtful arrangement for members to maximize our contact and have first-hand experience to experience Chinese education in action, and to connect with Chinese educators to exchange information of each other’s respective aspirations and resources. Of course, the rigorous learning schedule was kindly balanced off with timely cultural experience offerings. The delegation had the privilege to tour the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, as well as flagship historical or scenic sites of the respective regional offerings.

Program by students of a performing school from Shandong Province The delegation was also treated to a most amazing and impressive performance program by students of a performing school from Shandong Province during dinner after the welcome ceremony!

Members of the Washington State on the delegation all value the initial connection, good bonding and dialogue sharing and the opportunity to exchange resources, practices and contact information. Among the Washington delegation members, except Clayton and Gissing, none knew about CIWA or CLTA-WA, the two main organizations that work closely in support of the work of promoting quality Chinese education in the State. The coming together in the delegation made it possible for Gissing and Clayton to reach out to WA State delegates and bring to their attention the services and networking opportunities within the State. As a result, CIWA and CLTA-WA also expanded contact within the State. Clayton and Gissing also related and recommended the support from OSPI on World Language education in general and Chinese education in particular. Members felt strongly that the connection had been of important significance for future collaboration and sharing of resources and information.

ciwa-logo Chinese Language Teachers Association of Washington logo

Opportunities for the State

That WA State is uniquely situated as the “Gateway” to Asia and with its long history of relationship with China and the Chinese world, a favorable connotation and expectation of ties and collaborative relations are natural phenomenon. Again and again, the Chinese counterparts pointed out the “high quality of living” in Washington State which also made the State a desirable destination for Chinese interests.

As we aim to train young adults with 21 Century skills, and recognizing China’s emerging status as a world power, economically and otherwise, it is imperative that we offer our students the education necessary to be well versed in interacting with the Chinese and able to function well in the Chinese world. What more effective way to make this happen then setting up an effective and meaningful infrastructure in education that include direct contact of students and educators of our State with Chinese partners?

China is determined to expand contact and partnering relations with US education institutions and has established Hanban to do worldwide promotion work of Chinese as a World Language. Chinese Bridge Delegation, Visiting Teacher Programs, Confucius Institutes and Confucius classrooms in K-12 schools are some programs by which this promotion is being executed. In a way, the infrastructure has been built for us, can we afford not to take advantage and utilize this extraordinary opportunity? If Washington State is to maintain a competitive advantage and assume leadership role in the 21st century, we must seize the moment and tap into existing energy to develop a strategically sustainable framework to benefit our students by giving them the opportunity to in in quality programs to learn Chinese language and culture.

bridge2011-wa-china-story-brochure U.S. Ambassador to the People's Republic of China, Gary Locke

Seattle Congqing Sister Cities logo

Seattle Chongqing Sister Cities logo

Report from the 2011 ACTFL Convention
Chunman Gissing presenting with teachers Adam Ross and Xiaoyun Zhang Matthewson

Chunman Gissing presenting with teachers Adam Ross and Xiaoyun Zhang Matthewson Changping Tang and Chen Junbo at the exhibition hall Representing CIWA, Chunman Gissing presented in two different panels: the Hanban-sponsored “Adopting Teaching Material in your Local Schools,” and "Issues and Challenges in Building Strong Secondary School Chinese Programs," along with two other Washington State Chinese language teachers Adam Ross and Xiaoyun Zhang Matthewson of the Lakeside School.Changping Tang gave a wonderful introduction on "How to Make the Most from Student Exchange Programs" at the forum organized by Hanban at ACTFL.By attending ACTFL convention, CIWA successfully enhanced its visibility at the Exhibition Hall with its specially designed display board, which attracted a lot of interest. Visitors took away many new brochures and bookmarks we prepared for the exhibition.Michele Anciaux, Changping Tang, and Chunman Gissing with the CIWA display board

CIWA display completed

CIWA display completed

CIWA bookmark

Our beautifully custom made bookmark bearing a special message: “学好普通话,朋友遍天下!Learn Chinese well, friends everywhere!” was very well received indeed. Thanks to Changping Tang for the catchy message!

With Chunman’s help and coordination, Directors from CIWA and the Confucius Institute (CI) at University of Hawaii met and shared their experience with CI issues during the break at ACTFL. Changping Tang also met up with CI directors from various part of the country and exchanged valuable experiences and program information.

When the conference concluded, members of CIWA have made new connections and impressed others with our institute work and spirit. We learned a great deal, contributed equally to the field — good ground to move forward in our journey to serve the Chinese learning community!

Changping Tang with Confucius Institute directors

Changping Tang with Confucius Institute directors

Changping Gissing with Chinese Confucius Institute directors

Changping Tang with Chinese Confucious Institute directors

Directors Complete Class Observations at Beginning of New Semester

From September 27 to October 18, Karen Kodama and Changping Tang completed the first round of class observations at the schools with Chinese programs in Seattle Public Schools. Karen Kodama is the Administrator of International Education in Seattle Public School District and the Director of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington. Changping Tang is the Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington.

Mandarin teacher in class

Mandarin teacher in class

Karen Kodama and Changping Tang observed guest Mandarin teachers from China at Seattle area schools, four of whom just started their teaching in Seattle this September. The teachers are:

Karen and Changping also visited Tang Chen the local Mandarin teacher at Franklin High School.

Most teachers have adapted to the new environment, are displaying effective teaching methodology, and demonstrate positive classroom management strategies, while other teachers still need to focus more on classroom management. The two directors had a follow-up conference with the teacher after the observation.

All the teachers were praised and encouraged with a list of positive points they have performed in their class while also giving some suggestions for their consideration for future improvement. Both Directors also sent each teacher their comments via email after the visit.

Visiting Teachers Attend 2011 WAFLT Conference

On October 14 and 15, the WAFLT (Washington Association for Language Teaching) Conference was held at Red Lion Hotel in Pasco, Washington. This conference is the biggest event on foreign language teaching in the State of Washington.

To help our visiting teachers improve their teaching methodology and provide them with a chance to communicate with other foreign language teachers in the state, the Confucius Institute of Washington State sent all 8 visiting teachers and two Chinese directors to attend this conference. Among the 8 teachers, 6 of them are teaching K-12 students in Seattle Public Schools and 2 are teaching at Washington State University and Lake Washington Institute of Technology.

All the teachers enjoyed the long trip and benefited from the presentations at the conference. It was a good opportunity to publicize Confucius Institute of Washington State to other teachers from different cities in the state. Michele Anciaux Aoki, World Language Supervisor for OSPI, gave a very eloquent introduction to the audience.

Visiting teachers and Confucius Institute of Washington directors at the WAFLT conference 2011

Visiting teachers and Confucius Institute of Washington directors

Visiting teachers and friends give the WAFLT conference the thumbs-up

Visiting teachers and friends give the WAFLT conference the thumbs-up

Susie Murphy, retired principal from Beacon Hill International School, the first school in Seattle to begin offering Chinese immersion (now up to 3rd grade), was honored by WAFLT with the Pro Lingua award for her commitment to promoting language study. According to WAFLT, The Pro Lingua Award recognizes individuals or organizations which have made outstanding contributions:

CIWA Hosting World Affairs Council Workshop at Education Center

Twenty-five teachers from different schools attended on the Online Exchanges and Global Collaborations for Every Classroom on October 5th, 2011. The workshop, funded and hosted by the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington (CIWA), was organized by World Affairs Council and held at the Confucius Institute Education Center.

CIWA sent six K-12 Mandarin teachers and one Mandarin teacher from Lake Washington Institute of Technology to attend the workshop. Tese Wintz Neighbor, Senior Director of Professional Development, presented the workshop and Laura Adriance, Director of Professional Development, gave the keynote speech. All the attendees were actively involved in the discussion and were very positive about what they learned. The two Chinese directors of CIWA and Michele Anciaux Aoki from OSPI also attended the workshop.

instructor and students in the classroom

Online Exchanges and Global Collaborations for Every Classroom

Online Exchanges and Global Collaborations for Every Classroom

The workshop was held in the Confucius Institute Education Center classroom

Education Advisory Board Meeting Highlights Celebrations, Strategy and Accomplishments

On October 4, 2011, the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington (CIWA) held its 3rd Education Advisory Board Meeting at Seattle Public School District. This Board meeting was facilitated by Karen Kodama, the Director of the Education Advisory Board of CIWA. She shared with all the members the updated celebrations at CIWA and clarified the new requirement on the project proposals and announced the approved proposals.

Michele Anciaux Aoki leading a discussion

Michele Anciaux Aoki leading a discussion

Michele Anciaux Aoki emphasized the PR/Marketing strategy of CIWA and required each project funded by CIWA be obliged to publicize CIWA and admit its sponsorship with the CIWA logo on the official brochures or flyers.

Changping Tang and Deng Bo, the two Chinese directors of CIWA, also shared with every attendee their work with visiting teachers and students exchange program this year. The attendees to the meeting included Paul Aoki, Chunman Gissing, Meitsu Zhuang, Rongfen Sun, Kristi, Grace, Sharon Gao, Tese Wintz Neighbor.


Mandarin Chinese Becomes Popular Language Course for Many U.S. Students

Dr. Michele Aoki is quoted in an article about the growing popularity of Chinese language in U.S. schools, pointing out the difficulties American students have with the many unfamiliar characters and tones. The article emphasizes the importance of starting Chinese language instruction early. Dr. Aoki is an Education Advisory Board member with the Confucius Institute of Washington State and World Languages Program Supervisor for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Olympia. Read the XINHUA News article.

High School Students Experience “Bridge” to China

More than 20 American high school students and their parents shared their China experience at a reunion party hosted by the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington at the Seattle Chinese Garden on Sept 10, 2011. Read the China Daily article (9/16/2011) Note some corrections: Tang Changping is one of the two Chinese Directors of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, and she has over 20 years of English teaching experience at Chongqing University of Technology in China.

2011 Summer Camp students and parents at the Beijing Airport

2011 Summer Camp students and parents at the Beijing Airport

Students at Hanban, with one student "planking"

Students at Hanban, with one student "planking"

Group posting for Hunan TV

Group posting for Hunan TV

2011 Summer Camp students and parents at Great Wall

2011 Summer Camp students and parents at Great Wall

Moon Festival Celebration at University of Washington

To view the article about the Confucius Institute of  Washington’s moon festival  Celebration,Read the Hanban article.(9/19/2011)

Confucius Institute at the Seattle Chinese Garden

Chinese directors Deng Bo and Tang Changping from the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, came to visit the Garden this week, hosted by board members Sandy Marvinney and Jonathan Geiger. Read the Seattle Chinese Garden Blog (2/4/2011)

Confucius Institute of the State of Washington at Microsoft Chinese New Year’s Celebration.

To view the article about the Confucius Institute of Washington’s presence at the Microsoft New Years Celebration, Read the Hanban Article (date 2/1/2011)

Michelle Obama Encourages Students to Study in China

First Lady Michelle Obama urged students to visit China at the “100,000 Strong” China Study Abroad forum at  Howard University today.

President Barack Obama announced the “100,000 Strong” Initiative during his 2009 visit to China. The program aims to increase and diversify the number of American students studying in China by making study abroad more affordable. Read the Campus Chatter article (1/19/2011).

Mandarin Lessons Transmitted Live from Beijing

Students at Scofield Magnet Middle School are learning to speak Mandarin with the help of new technology, using software called myChinese 360. Read the EdWeek article (10/25/2010).

Kindergartners learn quickly in Vancouver schools’ new Mandarin immersion program

Teacher Hsin-yi Hu works with kindergarten students in Franklin Elementary’s first-year Chinese immersion program. She teaches Mandarin full-time to 24 pupils who will continue with her through first grade, while two more kindergarten sections are added next year. Read the Columbian article (6/13/2010).

Chinese teacher opens cultural window in O’Neill

Nan Wang left Beijing nearly a year ago in search of an adventure. She came to Nebraska — a place she’d never heard of — as part of a teacher visitor program through her country’s education ministry. Read the Journal Star article (5/11/2010).

Confucius Institute of Washington Opens to Support Chinese Language, Culture

Opening ceremonies for the Confucius Institute of Washington, which will be housed on campus, were held this week. The institute is a partnership between the UW and Seattle Public Schools with the support of the Governor’s Office and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Read the article in the University Week (4/29/2010).

Celebrating New Chinese Institute

A new institute dedicated to spreading Chinese language and culture across Washington state was officially launched Monday, a partnership of Seattle Public Schools, the University of Washington and Hanban, a Chinese nonprofit group affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education. Read the Seattle Times article (4/27/2010).

Slideshow: Confucius Institute Opening Ceremony sees Visit by Chinese Dignitaries

The new Confucius Institute still taking shape at Sealth International High School was celebrated with an opening ceremony in which Madame Xu Lin, Director General of Hanban/ Confucius Institute Headquarters paid a rare visit and even turned the ceremonial shovel of dirt in the Chinese Garden on campus. Read the West Seattle Herald (4/26/2010).

West Seattle Blog Features the Confucius Institute

Denny International Middle School in Westwood is abuzz with excitement right now – in two languages – Mandarin and English. Dignitaries from China are part of a high-powered delegation visiting the school right now to celebrate the launch of the Confucius Institute language program – to be based here at Denny until the new Denny/Sealth campus is open a few blocks east. Read the West Seattle Blog 2010/04 happening now.

First-grader Delaney Blanford’s English and Mandarin greeting embodied what the Confucius Institute Education Center opening ceremony at Denny International Middle School was all about: Giving more students in our state the chance to learn Mandarin. Read the West Seattle Blog 2010/04 more video.

Learning for Life: Sponge school teaching languages (including Mandarin) to young children

Watch Jackie Friedman Mighdoll, founder of Seattle-based Sponge, a school that offers language classes for young children, talk about the research that supports exposing young children to one or more languages, the best way to help children learn a new language and the options are available for older children. Watch the video on King5News (4/21/2010) .

Chief Sealth to Become International School

Chief Sealth High School in West Seattle will become Seattle’s sixth international school and its first international high school. Read the Seattle Times article (4/9/2010). Chief Sealth International High School will become the site of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington Education Center when the school reopens in its remodeled site in fall, 2010.

Beacon Hill’s Immersion Program Profiled in The Seattle Times

At Beacon Hill International School, many students learn a second language along with their ABCs by spending half of each school day immersed in Mandarin Chinese or Spanish. Read the Seattle Times article (4/4/2010).

Two Washington Schools Given Confucius Classroom Honor

Tyee Middle School in Bellevue, and Beacon Hill International School in Seattle were named two of the first twenty Hanban – Asia Society Confucius Classrooms. See the Asia Society website to learn more.