Improving critical language skills of students in the U.S., Egypt and China

Critical Language Project
4 years 8 months ago
TCLP alumni mentor teacher Lalainya Goldsberry was approved for a project to showcase Arabic and Chinese students’ language and cultural knowledge at the Lindblom World Language Festival. A secondary goal of the project was to motivate students to begin or continue learning the Arabic or Chinese languages. The Lindblom World Language Festival itself is a competition where students from Lindblom and other schools who were taking Arabic and Chinese compete with each other in the categories of poetry recitation, talent, skits, research project, and drama. The participants were judged by Arabic and Chinese speaking judges from the community, with plaques awarded to the winners. The 2011 festival was the third year of the event, which has grown each year. Ms. Goldsberry invited Lincoln Park High School and Roosevelt High School (also TCLP alumni schools), as well as other schools offering Chinese. Students saw what their peers at other schools were accomplishing with the same language, and the progress they were making in another language.
Critical Language Project
4 years 8 months ago
TCLP host school alumna Roslynne McCarthy from the Center for Global Studies in Connecticut was awarded a CLP for a student collaborative project called Sister-schools: Expanding the Student Dialogue. The goal of this project was to create and implement a curriculum of personal interactions among students at the Center for Global Studies and Al-Salam Private Language School in Tanta, Egypt with the expertise and input of TCLP 2008 alumnus Mr. Emil Markos. As a result of his TCLP year, his host school at CGS and his school in Egypt, the Al-Salam Private Language School, became sister-schools. Two groups of American and Egyptians students have already visited each other’s schools and communities, and the plans will continue. In addition to these once-a-year visits, this project facilitated on-going opportunities for students from both countries to connect with one another, practice their language skills, deepen their understanding of Egyptian/American culture and events, use technology in innovative ways, and forge personal relationships with international friends. The beneficiaries of this project were current students in the two schools, including the 55 students currently studying Arabic in CGS. The CLP allowed for a curriculum to be created, the educator’s to be trained in the appropriate technology to implement the curriculum which includes electronic interaction (email), video-conferencing through Skype, and other interactions through Voice Threads, podcasts or student-made movies.
Critical Language Project
4 years 8 months ago
TCLP mentor teacher alumni Todd Lynum led a group of Willmar High School students on a trip to China in the spring of 2012. He was awarded a CLP that helped to fund 18 student and 3 chaperons visas as well as on-the-ground transportation to and from the airport. Their trip to China was the culmination of 3 years of studying Chinese and it provided students with the opportunity to see China and its famous sites and to interact with local Chinese using this opportunity to practice and apply the Chinese they have learned so far. During the ten-day travel to China the students saw the cities of Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. The trip was organized by the Educational Tours organization, located in Denver, Colorado. They were responsible for most of the travel planning and itinerary to, within and from China. However, the students and their families were solely responsible for the costs to be paid.
Critical Language Project
4 years 8 months ago
TCLP Arabic exchange teacher Mohamed Abdelsamad was awarded a CLP grant to attend and present at the NCOLCTL (National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages) Conference. His presentation was titled “Incorporating Egyptian Culture and Current Events into the Teaching of a Critical Language with TCLP.” Within this presentation, he talked about his experience teaching Arabic in Missoula, Montana and addressed the importance of incorporating cultural competency into language classes. His goal was to share best practices in handling the issue of culture in education, and to increase networking with other educators of less commonly taught languages in order to develop a more sustainable exchange. He also enriched the teaching of Arabic in his host city by sharing ideas with other educators. After the conference, he conducted a round table discussion with his fellow teachers and TCLP colleagues to disseminate information that he gained at the conference.
Critical Language Project
4 years 8 months ago
  With the help of CLP grant, TCLP alumna Fu Ailing worked with volunteers to conduct summer English lessons for students in grades 4-6 at Jinye Primary School in Guizhou Province, China. Jinye is situated far away from major cities in the mountains and consequently does not have a regular English teacher. The primary objective of Fu Ailing's project was to teach these students some basic English and to lay a sound foundation for their English learning in middle school.   During the summer of 2015, Fu Ailing taught 80 students in total for 20 days. In this time, the students learned the alphabet, vocabulary related to food, the classroom, family, and numbers and practiced saying full sentences in English to greet one another and introduce themselves. In addition, students successfully learned to sing 2 songs in English. Fu Ailing used different teaching methods to make the class relaxing and interesting for students. She used TPR to help students remember nouns and verbs and designed different games for her classes. At the end of the summer training, the students reported that they enjoyed the English class very much and hope to continue learning next summer.   In addition to teaching English to the students, Fu Ailing also held a round table discussion with the local teachers and other volunteer teachers. This meeting helped Fu Ailing to better understand the teachers' difficulties and needs in teaching in this region. She also exchanged ideas with the teachers about cooperative learning.   After returning to her home school, Fu Ailing conducted a presentation for her students and colleagues. As a result, some teachers at her school have shown an interest in volunteering at Jinye Primary School with Fu Ailing the following summer. "In my own community", said Fu Ailing, "more people began to care about the education, the English learning of the kids in mountain areas".  
Critical Language Project
4 years 8 months ago
  Wendy Pugh, World Cultures Coordinator at Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC) in Washington, DC, received a CLP grant to purchase Arabic language resources for students. CHEC purchased textbooks and CDs on language instruction and Arabic culture to help expand the Arabic language program developed by TCLP teacher Yasser Eldeabes. The school also used the purchased books to implement an Arabic Reading Group that focuses on Arabic language and culture and is open to all students within the District of Columbia Public School system.  
Critical Language Project
4 years 8 months ago
  Leah Christman, superintendent of Southern Lehigh School District, was awarded a CLP grant to help fund a one-month school visit from TCLP alumna teacher Hanan Gawdat. Hanan, who had been teaching Arabic for the school remotely, visited the school throughout the month of November. During her visit, she delivered lessons to students enrolled in the Arabic program and leda field trip to the nearby Penn Museum at the University of Pennsylvania to learn about Middle Eastern culture. Middle and high school teachers at Southern Lehigh also invited Hanan to visit their classes to discuss different of Egyptian culture with students and foster interest in learning Arabic.  
Critical Language Project
4 years 8 months ago
  TCLP Alumnus School, Lakes International Language Academy (LILA), received funding to help implement a CLP titled “Welcome, Friends!” in cooperation with Deyang Forest Language School in China. This project provided an exciting English-immersion learning experience for 22 visiting students from China and forged new international friendships. During a two-week summer camp on the school's campus, Chinese and American students strengthened skills in their respective target languages by speaking to one another in casual settings, traveling, and participating in fun activities.   LILA teachers gained experience in teaching English as a second language, which is a different but positive perspective than teaching immersion Spanish or Chinese to native English speakers. In addition, the host families in the community shared the language-learning experience, building interest in long-term hosting and cultural exchanges.The opportunity to meet and interact with Chinese guests helped expose the community to a different culture, celebrating diversity while appreciating their similarities. The positive and lasting impact of this project was visible in the progress that Chinese students made in building their English skills and the fast friendships that the Chinese and American students (and their families!) made during the camp. As a result of the project, LILA has strengthened the relationship with the school's sister school and helped introduce students and families in the community to a broader cultural experience.  
Critical Language Project
4 years 9 months ago
  Exchange teacher Wei Wei received a CLP grant to implement the Joy of Eight Project at her U.S. host school, Roton Middle School. The project encompassed various activities with the overall goal of motivating middle school students enrolled in Mandarin classes to continue to study the language after they enter high school.   Teachers from Roton Middle School and Brien McMahon High School designed two major events as part of the Joy of Eight Project: a tea ceremony in the middle school library and a Chinese culture fair on the high school campus. Both of these events included a number of activities to give students a deeper understanding of Chinese language through culture. Activities included: a chopsticks competition, tiger dancing, fan dancing, making paper lanterns, practicing calligraphy, riddle games, playing musical chairs, playing jiguchuanhua, making dumplings, and singing Chinese songs. The opportunity to interact with students at Brien McMahon gave the middle school students a firsthand look at the engaging program opportunities available to them at the high school.   The middle school students also participated in two fields trips to New York City, where they toured museums related to Chinese culture, history, and art. While in New York City, the students had the opportunity to experience the life of a Chinese immigrant in the U.S. on an experiential walking tour. Students also scripted, filmed, and edited a short video that documented the Joy of Eight project. As a result of this project, there students were motivated to continue studying Chinese language and culture.  
Critical Language Project
4 years 9 months ago
  Exchange teacher Min Haiwei received a CLP grant to increase exposure and understanding of Chinese culture in his host community of Cumberland, Maryland. Mr. Min organized a Chinese New Year event at a local shopping center to garner community support for the Chinese Immersion Program at West Side Elementary and to introduce members of the local community to the vast and rich heritage of China.   Several special activities took place during the day-long event. The celebration began with a traditional Chinese Lion Dance performed by the Wong People from Washington D.C. Attendees also had the opportunity to learn about the Chinese language, calligraphy, paper cutting, and traditional crafts related to Chinese New Year. Performers and craftsman from Shan’xi Province performed puppet shows and demonstrated their craftsmanship throughout the event. In addition, West Side students in the Chinese Immersion Program performed speeches in Chinese and cultural songs and dances. The celebration culminated with a Chinese New Year parade, in which children carried lanterns that they constructed during the program.   The project was hugely successful in raising awareness and appreciation of the Chinese culture. Many mall shoppers that happened on the event made a point to tell a staff member how much they learned and how they enjoyed the evening. Survey results were resoundingly positive.  

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