Chinese Program in School Districts of Arkansas
New Technology in Chinese Program in Cross County High School
Cross County High School is a new-tech school sponsored by Apple and each student has their own computer, which allows them to learn Chinese in a fun way. Students have done many projects in Chinese on their computers this year. For example, students write skits in Chinese and dub for the video; they shoot a short video in Chinese to capture the school life; they make electronic Chinese Yearbook.
This year Ms. Lida Jiang, the Hanban Chinese teacher has tried her best to create a real-life situation for students to know more about China and use the Chinese they have learned in class. For example, they celebrate the Qi Xi Festival, Mid-autumn Day and Chinese Lunar New Year together in an authentic Chinese way by eating moon-cakes, making lotus lantern, writing red couplets, cooking Chinese food, etc. Besides, Calligraphy is one of Chinese 2 students’ favorite parts in Chinese class this year. They can practice Chinese characters and perfect their handwriting. Also, students design Chinese characters they have learned into corresponding images and put them into a short story.
Chinese Program Grows Rapidly at ASMSA
Supported and sponsored by Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas (UCACI) and Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), the Office of Distance Education (ODE) in Arkansas School for Math, Science and the Arts (ASMSA) has been doing distance Chinese program since 2011. It offers Chinese language courses and culture enrichment courses to K-12 students within and outside of Arkansas State, which gives more students opportunities to experience Chinese language and culture.
With the joint effort of ODE and the Chinese teacher Yanxin Liu from UCACI, initially there were four schools in Arkansas taking distance Chinese course in 2011—2012 academic year. The total number of Chinese students was nearly 600, with over 500 students in Lakeside Primary School, 16 students in Lakeside High School, 27 students in Forrest City High School and over 50 students in Hot Springs Intermediate School. Moreover, distance Chinese program was not limited to schools in Arkansas.There were 5 students from David Anderson High School in Ohio State who also took distance Chinese courses.
In the 2012—2013 school year, the distance Chinese program in ODE, ASMSA has expanded greatly in numbers of participating schools and students. Currently, there are 7 participating schools in Arkansas and 1 participating school in Pennsylvania with over 650 students learning Chinese. In Arkansas, there are 501 students in Lakeside Primary School; 20 students in Lakeside High School; 4 students in Lincoln High School; 13 students in Gravette High School; 3 students in Farmington High School; 11 students in Prairie Grove High School; 99 students in Hot Springs Middle School and Intermediate School and 10 students in Northern Potter Primary School in Pennsylvania State. With such a great increase in Chinese learners, ASMSA applied for anther Chinese teacher for this program. At present, there are two Chinese teachers-Yanxin Liu and Qin Hu, both of whom are sent from Confucius Institute Headquarters. They are taking up all the Chinese language courses and culture enrichment courses in the distance Chinese program.
In distance Chinese classes, students are enjoying high-quality Chinese language and culture enrichment lessons through CIV (Compressed Interactive Video) as if they were in real classrooms with real teachers. Students are showing great interest in Chinese language and culture. They have their Chinese names and make Chinese zodiac calendar and wheel. They paint their Beijing Opera masks and design Chinese gardens for themselves. They learn the unique Chinese cuisines and try cooking some traditional Chinese dishes and learn how to use chopsticks. They have enjoyed making Chinese shuttlecocks and ticking them. They sing Chinese songs with their teachers and learn Chinese paper-cutting. They practice Chinese through speaking, singing, performing, games and activities with their teachers and classmates. Many students say they have great fun learning Chinese.
Chinese Program in Bentonville High School
Bentonville joined the program “Teach Chinese in Arkansas” and started to offer Chinese courses in 2011. Now there are two levels of Chinese courses—Chinese I and Chinese II. Chinese III will be offered in the fall semester, 2013. There are currently 134 students enrolled in Chinese courses. Eighty of them are enrolled in Chinese I and 54 of them are enrolled in Chinese II. There are two Hanban Chinese teachers at Bentonville High School, Danyu Liao and Hui Qu. In addition to daily teaching, the Chinese teachers carry out a variety of cultural activities, such as the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations and the Chinese New Year celebration.
Chinese Program in Arkansas: Beebe High School
After 6 years of Chinese distance learning program, Beebe High School joined the program “Teach Chinese in Arkansas” and started to offer Chinese courses in 2011.This school year there are two levels of Chinese courses----Chinese I and Chinese II. Currently 38 students are enrolled in the Chinese courses. 28 of them are enrolled in Chinese I and 10 of them are enrolled in Chinese II.
Besides the Chinese program in high school, the Chinese teacher also works together with the elementary school art teacher to give fun classes about Chinese culture in the elementary for 1 week in every 9 weeks. During this school year, there are up to 300 hundreds elementary school students in these fun classes. In the high school, in addition to the daily teaching, there are various kinds of cultural activities held during the school year, such as the Mid-autumn Day celebration, the Spring Festival celebration and so on. These Chinese courses and cultural activities have got a lot of positive responses from both students and their parents
Chinese Program in Arkansas: Batesville School District
It has been almost 4 years since Chinese program started in Batesville School District in 2009. With the effort of Arkansas Department of Education, Confucius Institute Headquarters, Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas, and the contribution of two Chinese teachers who work in the district, the number of the students who take Chinese class has increased to 600 and 270 of them are from Eagle Mountain Elementary School, and 320 are from Batesville Junior High School.
K, 1st, 5th and 6th grade at Eagle Mountain Elementary School have opened Chinese, one to two classes per week, 30 minutes per class period, which focus on the basics of language foundation and culture enrichment. It is the first year for Kindergarten and 1st grade to have Chinese this year, but the students have learned more than 20 Chinese children’s songs, and 40 basic Chinese words. Chinese class also collaborates with art class at Eagle Mountain Elementary, such as Chinese painting, calligraphy, paper-cutting, Beijing Opera mask making, and Chinese cartoon characters toy sewing etc. In addition, lots of classes activities, Eagle Mountain also has some school wide culture activities on celebrating Chinese traditional holidays. In the Chinese New Year of 2012 and 2013, the Chinese teachers and students had two great parades of dragon and lion dance. Students have lots of fun competing in the traditional Chinese games, making Chinese dumpling and egg rolls, designing Chinese couplets.
7th and 8th grade at Batesville Junior High School have Chinese classes this year, every class has 2 to 3 Chinese classes per week, 90 minutes per class period. Chinese class at junior high focuses on enhancing students’ understanding and daily conversation in Chinese by drills, recording, role play etc. Chinese character is another focus, which makes hundreds of students feel more accomplished after they make effort in learning the structures and meaning of the characters. In addition, students get more inspirations from the debates on the differences between America and China. These activities have opened students’ mind and aroused their great interest in China and Chinese culture.
Chinese Program in Arkansas: Hot Springs High School
With the great support of Hot Springs School District, UCA Confucius Institute and Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), Hot Springs High School’s Chinese program is growing and thriving rapidly. There are around 120 students in Chinese class in its 5th year in comparison with the number of the amount of 30 to 40 students five years ago.
In the 2012-2013 school year, Chinese learners at Hot Springs High School earned school big Trojan prides by working hard and taking challenge, both inside and outside of Chinese class. Junior student Erica Peppers and her sister, freshmen Amber Peppers, won the 1st and 2nd prizes in the statewide Chinese Bridge — Chinese Competition. This is the third year in a row that Hot Springs High School has won the state contest. At the same time, 5 Chinese level 1 students took the Youth Chinese Test (YCT). All of them passed the test. This summer, four students will participate in the 10-day China Tour summer camp program sponsored by Hanban from July 10 to July 25, 2013.
Chinese class in Hot Springs High School is a lot of fun. During Chinese Moon Festival, students put the legend story of “Mid-Autumn’s day” into a role play, and make moon cakes. Level 2 students send brochures of Moon Festival to local Chinese restaurants, which helps people in Hot Springs know more about Chinese culture. In Chinese New Year, students write spring couplets, and send them to teachers and principals to get more people involved in the celebration. In the holiday, students make Chicken noodles to learn about Chinese cooking utensils and spices. Also, students learn to create their own ancient bamboo books with popsicle sticks, titled “12 zodiacs”. Through these hands-on activities, they review the early Chinese writing history, and learn more about Chinese people’s diligence, creativity and wisdom.
By being exposed to Chinese culture through all the exploration and learning, Hot Springs High School students are becoming more knowledgeable, reflective, caring and open-minded. More and more Hot Springs Trojans are becoming risk takers and inquirers!