During the course of our program we learned to push our Chinese language skills to a new level (with large help from a Chinese Language pledge) and cover an incredible amount of material: from cultural lectures, and curriculum design, to class visits and Chinese teacher conferences. Now, only a few months later, I still marvel at how much we learned and accomplished during those six weeks.
|A rough outline of events for the first three weeks. We really had quite the busy schedule.|
One of the most important lessons I learned, came from the first day of class when we started talking about the "Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century." These standards, developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) are commonly referred to as the 5Cs: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities. These five concepts allow for teachers to provide students with a comprehensive learning experience, that will ultimately allow them to interact (successfully) in the target culture.
Inspired by our summer program and ACTFL's 5Cs, I would like to propose my own Standards for Learning a Foreign Language in the 21st Century, otherwise know as the 5Cs of language learning: Commit, Create, Consider, Crave, and Contribute... to language.
1. Commit yourself to the language you are studying. You don't need to be a genius to speak Chinese, but you certainly have to put in time and energy. During our summer in Beijing we did this by signing a six week language pledge. No matter if we were in the classroom or visiting the park, every word we spoke was in Chinese. This level of commitment isn't for everyone, but it certainly is possible to create your own language pledge in small doses. Giving yourself a commitment, whether it be by only Chinese, or making the time to study everyday is a key to success.
|My language pledge (and desktop background for the program) was not only a contract with ACC, but also a contract with myself.|
|A classmate learns how to teach bargaining by practicing her own skills in our classroom market.|
|My adventure in Black Bamboo Park had me learning to Chinese waltz!|
|My classmate and I leading a two hour presentation on media technology in the classroom. Something we never thought possible before the ACC program.|
Of course, my 5Cs aren't ACTFL certified, but they are way to keep language learning fresh. Now, living in Taiwan as a grad student, I realize just how much I learned during my six weeks in Beijing. My confidence as a second language speaker, and as a future educator has increase tremendously, and if I could go back again I would. If you are a non-native Chinese speaker and have a career in teaching Chinese as a second language, or are considering one, I would highly recommend looking into the K-12 Chinese Teacher Training programs.
If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below, or send me an email.
|Students and Teachers of the 2011 K-12 Summer Program.|