Chinese Curriculum Workshops at UC Berkeley STARTALK 2009


This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the "2nd International Conference on Chinese Language Pedagogy" sponsored by the UC Berkeley National Center for K-16 Chinese Language Pedagogy.  The theme of the conference this year is "Teaching Chinese: Research, Pedagogy and Articulation." The conference, attended by roughly 100 K-16 teachers and administrators, followed the end of nearly two weeks of teacher training workshops at UC Berkeley, funded by the STARTALK program. For those of you who are not familiar with STARTALK, it is a program implemented in 2006 by the National Security Language Initiative with the aim of increasing the teaching and learning of strategically important, "critical need" world languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Persian, Turkish, Swahili and Urdu.  There are many STARTALK programs for both teachers and students taking place during the summer across the country.  Not surprisingly, there is a large number of Chinese programs with 31 Chinese teacher training workshops this year in addition to the ones we attended at UC Berkeley and Stanford. During the 2-day UC Berkeley conference, teachers attended sessions that focused on multi-lingualism, implementation of Mandarin immersion programs, assessment practices, and using computer-based programs in teaching Chinese (very popular!). We had a number of teachers attend our presentation as well on how to use Better Chinese products to implement an inquiry-based and story-centered pedagogy. Teachers were also particulary interested in our online curriculum, especially the online homework feature.

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