“They Are Just Like Us”

From the Daily Herald in Utah:

Alpine School District’s first set of Chinese dual language immersion students aren’t so little anymore.

…It’s been a tough decade for the students. They’ve been in the same classes their entire lives, helping each other through classes where they might not have understood a single word from their Chinese teacher.

Lonergan remembers being a fourth grader and crying at the kitchen table about how hard it was. Her parents reassured her it would get easier.

“I am so happy that they made me stick with it, because I have all this knowledge I can take throughout my whole life,” she said.

…“I struggled for the first few days, and then I’d go up and start the conversation in Chinese instead of English,” said Edwin Nazario, a senior enrolled in a Chinese class at Orem High School. “It got so much easier.”

Native speakers in Suzhou tried to help the students communicate.

“People are usually nice when they figure out you are a foreigner who spoke Chinese,” said William Reyneke, a senior enrolled in a Chinese class at Orem High School.

The students met teenagers from around the world. For Lauren Heath, a senior and Alan Heath’s daughter, it helped humanize them.

“They are just like us,” she said. “They are teenagers, just like us.”

This is why we need more exchange programs.

Wisconsin’s Mandarin Charter

VAIS writes:

Verona Area International School (VAIS) is a public charter school within the Verona Area School District, serving a little over 110 students in Kindergarten grade 5. Our staff of 7 classroom teachers, along with 25 additional staff members, allows our school to run efficiently.

At VAIS, all kindergarten through fifth grade students spend half of their day learning in English and the other half learning in Chinese.

Our curriculum follows a thematic unit approach, thus the core content is taught through a common theme that is integrated across languages and subjects. In addition, our English teachers collaborate with our Chinese teachers to coordinate lesson plans and ensure that essential vocabulary is taught in both languages.

Chinese Language Arts
Developed for the young learner with no prior exposure to Chinese, Better Chinese: My First Chinese Words is our language arts curriculum. This curriculum allows teachers to focus on subject areas relevant to students’ everyday lives, which makes learning fun. Teachers also use Level Chinese to incorporate a Chinese-guided leveled reading system.

VAIS Visitors and Travels
VAIS partners with Wuhan Chongren Road Elementary School in Wuhan, China. This annual connection allows our students to develop the confidence and cultural empathy necessary to be global citizens. We have welcomed students from Wuhan into our homes and our school, and our school sent over 50 students and their parents to Wuhan in March, 2019, for an amazing trip of a lifetime. Many of our students had the confidence and social skills to complete a homestay.

China thinks ‘patriotic education’ built a loyal generation

From the Washington Post:

The boy in the gray uniform yelled a heartfelt cry: “Although we are young, we are an unyielding Little Red Army,” he told his pint-size comrades. “I believe that as long as we are united, there is no difficulty that cannot be overcome.”

The scene was not from a 1930s-era drama on China’s equivalent of the History Channel. It was a play staged this month by pupils of Dengshikou Elementary School, at the Chinese National Theater for Children in Beijing.

….The program is part of a broader effort by the ruling Communist Party, accelerated under the leadership of Xi Jinping, to instill nationalist fervor in young Chinese and grow a whole generation loyal to him.

“Patriotic education is a fundamental part of education,” said Gao Xiaomei, who had brought her nine-year-old daughter to see the performance. “Kids should learn these kinds of lessons from the bottom of their hearts while they are very little.”

Her friend Zhang Meili, whose daughter is also nine, chimed in. “If kids don’t love their country then how can they love their parents?” she asked. “I think the country has provided really good education system. China is so advanced today.”

Such sentiments are widespread in China.

But not in Hong Kong. This sort of propaganda has not worked there.
Continue reading “China thinks ‘patriotic education’ built a loyal generation”