man being interviewed
This year's TCLP exchange teachers achieved a wide variety of accomplishments.

Exchange teacher Ezzat Belal, hosted at Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts in Michigan, created his own website, titled “Arab Culture,” in which he shares information about the traditions, customs, clothes, festivals, and geographical features of Arab countries. This website is not just for Mr. Belal’s students, but is also meant for parents, teachers, and other members of Mr. Belal’s host community to learn from.    

Mr. Belal was also featured in community media due to his connection to the school and community. Mr. Belal was first featured in Kalamazoo Public School newspaper “Excelsior” in a two-page spread. The article discussed Mr. Belal’s outreach activities, his professional background, and his goals to teach and learn during the 2023-2024 school year. Mr. Belal was also interviewed by Public Media, a local media outlet that serves to inform, educate, enlighten, and foster dialogue between people of diverse backgrounds. Mr. Belal used this opportunity to share his experiences teaching in the Kalamazoo community.    

Mr. Belal was actively engaged in both the school and the community. Mr. Belal visited the local Islamic center, church services, and engaged in activities at a downtown park, explored a museum, and the public library. Mr. Belal attended community events, like Latinx events, where he introduced Egyptian traditions and culture to residents.

Above: Exchange teacher Ezzat Belal is interviewed for his feature in local news outlet Public Media 

In January 2024, Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP) exchange teacher Li Chun-Yi, hosted at Unity Charter School in Mooresville, NJ, travelled to Washington, DC, to participate in a Taiwan Center for Mandarin Learning (TCML) Seminar and Workshop held by the Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC), Taiwan. Ms. Li was invited to share her observations and experiences promoting Mandarin learning in her local community. The seminar was held at the Culture Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Gaithersburg, MD, from Friday, January 18 to Sunday, January 21. Topics of the seminar included “Integration of Learning Centers and Mainstream Community Resources,” “Marketing and Promotion of Learning Centers,” “Current Situation and Observations of Chinese Language Learning Centers in Taiwan,” and many others.

Exchange Teacher Giving Presentation

Above: Exchange teacher Li Chun-Yi presents on her experiences teaching at her host school in the U.S.

On December 20, 2023, Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP) exchange teacher Laila Taik hosted at Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy Charter School in Brooklyn, hosted a professional development workshop for faculty members at Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy Charter School. Ms. Taik was invited to present “Professional Learning Topic: Building Engagement in the Classroom” by the coaching group. Ms. Taik was selected as the presenter as she demonstrated mastery in creating engaging lessons to get students excited to take risks in the Arabic classroom. During the session, Ms. Taik showcased how she implements Flipgrid to increase language immersion in the classroom, the classroom language she uses for call and response, and pen pal writing activities.

Notably, in February 2024, Ms. Taik was interviewed and featured on the YouTube Channel “The Brainwaves Video Anthology”. This YouTube channel has interviewed a wide range of leading professionals in education and the humanities, including renowned linguist Noam Chomsky, Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Friedman, among others. Ms. Taik gave several different interviews in which she discussed her experience thus far teaching Arabic in the United States, her use of technology to continue teaching in Morocco during the COVID-19 pandemic, and finally those who inspired her love for teaching. Ms. Taik’s interview on “Teaching Arabic in America” can be found here; Ms. Taik’s interview on “Teaching in the Global Pandemic” can be found here; Ms. Taik’s interview on “Teachers Make a Difference” can be found here

Exchange Teacher Giving Presentation

Above: Exchange teacher Laila Taik engages fellow teachers during her workshop

Xiang Keyuan hosted at Bellows Free Academy Fairfax in Vermont conducted virtual language exchanges between Bellows Free Academy (BFA) students and students at her home school in China. During one online meeting, Chinese students sang an English song to BFA students and introduced the history and culture of dumplings, after which the 6th grade BFA students introduced themselves in Mandarin, sang a Mandarin song, and talked about their Halloween costumes and how they celebrate Halloween in the U.S.   

Within her community, Ms. Xiang initiated an adult Mandarin club at the public library, attracting 11 adults and 2 children, who eagerly asked questions about China's culture and scenic spots. She always encouraged school students and adults in the community to learn Mandarin at various events. 

Ms. Xiang celebrated festivals with her community. To celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival, Ms. Xiang dedicated eight hours to crafting mooncakes and sharing the story of Chang'e with 55 participants. For the Lunar New Year, Ms. Xiang celebrated with her Mandarin students and their families. Ms. Keyuan and her students and their families enjoyed traditional food such as dumplings, rice crackers, and tea eggs. Ms. Keyuan also gave out red envelopes, each containing one RMB yuan. Finally, event attendees participated in paper cutting, and students took turns singing songs in Chinese and performing dances. This Lunar New Year Party was the final part of Ms. Keyuan’s Capstone Project, which involved several weeks of in-class preparation for the festivities.

exchange teacher instructs group of individuals at library

Above: Exchange teacher Xiang Keyuan assists attendees of her Mandarin Club at the public library with paper cuttings