NCLC 2013 Summary

On April 7-9th, over 1200 folks gathered for the National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC) in Boston. It was my first time going to this event and it was fantastic. I got to meet lots of teachers, visit a Boston public school, as well as enjoy a wonderful gala hosted by the hilarious comedian Joe Wong. My favorite line from the entire conference was
"Isn't it funny how the Chinese guy is on stage speaking in English and the Americans are on stage performing in Chinese." - Joe Wong
The world is truly changing and we're all a part of it. Here's a quick summary of what my conference experience was like. First, we set-up our booth in the exhibit hall with about 20 other exhibitors. Then after some lunch, I got to attend the "Using and Creating Digital Textbooks at Beginner Levels" workshop by Mingjung Chen and Sushu Xia. They shared about the iBook textbook that Xia Laoshi had created this past year as well as the other iPad resources they used such as our Discovering Chinese - iPad edition. There favorites apps for Chinese language learning were:
  1. e-Textbooks: Discovering Chinese - iPad edition, write your own with iBooks Author
  2. Notability
  3. Dropbox for distributing work. Email to collect.
  4. Social Networking through Facebook and Edmodo
  5. Multimedia apps: Explain Everything, Recording, AudioNote
  6. Reading: Hanzi Reader, TediSUB (Ted Talks), Quizlet, Singlebridge
  7. Games: 2013 New Year, Chinese Vocabulary Quiz 123, Chinese Food Quiz
It was a great workshop and the number of schools with iPads is certainly growing. My co-worker, Pei-ju Chen attended two other workshops and these are her notes: Breakout Section 1。Creating Engaging Teaching Materials for 21st-century Assessment 今年是我進公司以來第一次參加NCLC,覺得非常的興奮。第一天選了這個講座去參加, 是因為這個主題跟我們公司的教材設計理念的其中一項: communicative approach完全符合,吸引了我的注意。最讓我印象深刻的是,演講一開始,主講人就邀請所有老師一起腦力激盪,問了一個問題: What are the three main elements you care most when reviewing an exercise and deciding if it is a good one? 於是我根據過去的教書經驗,寫了以下三點:
  • Needs to be meaningful and engaging while providing adequate content
  • Needs to reflect my students’ real life so they can use the language in their daily interactions
  • Needs to be well-organized with clear structures and layout
  • 其他老師也分享了很多看法,例如:
  • Needs to get the whole class involved
  • Needs to be age-appropriate
你還有什麼其他想法嗎? 現在回想起來,我覺得除了問題本身很有意義,更讓所有聽眾都有參與感,並加深了印象。這個小活動給了我一個教學上的啟示,就是教材活動設計最好能讓所有學生都能融入其中,透過 “think,pair,share”思考並互動,學生也可能因此更能有效吸收所學。 演講的另一個部分是針對如何選擇優質的教材? 其中包括了幾個大方向:
  • Organization/format
  • Content
  • Supplementary materials
  • Diversity/Equity/Inclusion
  • Alignment with district curriculum,state standards,skills,and assessments
礙於時間關係,我沒能將每個細項都一一記錄下來,但是相信讀者們根據自己的教學經驗,應該會有許多自己的見解,你們覺得這五大重點下面的標準有哪些呢? 我相信坊間沒有任何一套教材是十全十美的,但這就要靠教師們的經驗和智慧 ,考量學習者的需求與學習目標,選擇出最適合自己及學生的教材! 特別感謝演講者: Lucy Lee,Janice Dowd,Carol Chen-Lin Breakout Section 2。Starting and Sustaining Chinese Immersion Programs in Urban and Rural Settings 我參加的另一場演講,是針對想要在學區內發展中文課程的老師們。今天主講城市學校模範的Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School in Houston ISD 正是Better Chinese的其中一位支持者。 他們的成長速度之快,2012年正式開始時,從Pre-K到二年級共有兩百五十多位學生,2013年已達到百分之八十的成長,預計每年都增加一個年級,到2017年預估將會有完整的Pre-K到八年級中文課程,總學生數為九百多人。真是驚人! 有趣的是,主講人也是此校的校長Bryan特別提到,他們今年新增了三年級,前陣子給老師們審視三年級教材時,同時比較了幾個出版社,而老師們選擇延用Better Chinese的 “快樂幼兒華語” My First Chinese Word以及 “快樂兒童華語” My First Chinese Reader。最後的問答時間,許多老師詢問起教材的選用,Bryan也都推薦Better Chinese,著實讓在場聆聽的我與有榮焉! 一個學校能夠成功推展中文課程,除了經費問題,師資問題,還有很多複雜的議題存在。倘若能選擇一個各方面條件都符合的中文教材,絕對能從下而上,對整體發展的大大加分! 因為一旦老師能善用此教材,學生學習成效體現出一定的水準,必會得到更多家長的支持,也才能讓學校爭取到更多資源,進而促進中文課程日益茁壯。 特別感謝演講者: Bryan Bordelon,Christina Aguirre-Oliva We also got the chance to visit a handful of schools in the Boston area. We got to see what the classrooms at the Boston Renaissance Charter School, Driscoll School, and The Academy of the Pacific Rim. We were impressed with each of the schools. Lots of parent support and all the teachers and administration take pride in belonging to a district that works!


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