TCLP exchange teacher Chang Jen-Yin and students after their Chinese New Year Celebration Performance.
This year, TCLP exchange teachers completed a variety of Critical Language Projects (CLPs) that supported the Arabic and Mandarin language programs at their host schools.

During the Spring 2023 Semester TCLP exchange teacher Chang Jen-Yin, hosted at O B Gates Elementary School (Chesterfield, VA), established a Chinese Cultural Exhibition Center. The project was funded by a CLP grant awarded in Round 24. The project consisted of not only a Chinese New Year celebration event, but the creation of “reading corners” and a partnership with Ms. Chang’s home school in Taiwan. On January 23, O B Gates K-5 students, faculty, parents, and community members were invited to attend the Chinese New Year celebration show. Ms. Chang’s Mandarin Chinese students utilized words and phrases learned in class to perform a play written by Ms. Chang that retold a folktale, “The Story of Nian.” In addition, students practiced Tai Chi and played traditional Chinese instruments. To help students learn associated vocabulary and grammar, Ms. Chang and school faculty set up “reading corners” with books and audiobooks having been made available for 1st and 2nd graders. Finally, Ms. Chang helped foster a relationship with her home school in Taiwan, furthering their learning through the promotion of cross-cultural interactions. Taiwanese and American elementary school students were able to exchange video and learn “in context,” seeing how English and Mandarin Chinese can be used in everyday life. Overall, Ms. Chang’s CLP was able to benefit more than 70 school faculty, 650 O B Gates Elementary School students as well as countless parents and community members, helping all who attended or were of assistance of the project to learn about Mandarin Chinese and Chinese culture. A recording of “The Story of Nian” performed by O B Gated Elementary School students can be found here!

On April 28, 2023, TCLP exchange teacher Heba Ismael, hosted at Plantation Middle School (Plantation, FL), held an Arab Culture Day. The after-school event was funded by a CLP grant awarded in Round 24. Nearly 75 attendees had the opportunity to experience eight “cultural stations” which were organized and ran by Ms. Ismael’s students. At each station, attendees learned about different aspects of Arabic culture and traditions as well as associated words and phrases in Arabic. More than ten stations were available for Plantation Middle School faculty and students to visit. Students conversed with and welcomed attendees in Arabic at the “Greeting Station,” and discussed design preferences at a “Henna Art Station.” After visiting all the stations, participants could get a taste for traditional Arabic cuisine, enjoying handmade snacks such as Falafel wraps and Hummus. Overall, the after-school Arab Culture Day was a success, allowing students and faculty at Plantation Middle School to learn more about the modern Arab world, while Ms. Ismael’s students were able to practice words and phrases they learned throughout the school year in her class!

On January 27, 2023, TCLP exchange teacher Huang Hsin-Yi, hosted at the East Voyager Academy (Charlotte, NC), held a Chinese New Year Celebration. The showcase was funded by a CLP grant awarded in Round 24. Around 400 East Voyager Academy PreK-8 students, staff, parents, and community members attended the all-day event during which they were able to experience an authentic Chinese New Year celebration. Under the leadership of Ms. Huang, students were able to utilize their knowledge of Chinese language and culture to craft performances for attendees of the event. Each grade level prepared unique presentations including dragon and lion dances, poetry recital and Chinese drum performances. Through the event, the greater East Voyager Academy community was exposed to Chinese cultural traditions and celebrations while students learned about cultural diversity and the ways in which holidays, such as Chinese New Year, are celebrated in China. The project was a great success resulting in school leadership planning to make the Chinese New Year Celebration a yearly tradition! By continuing the work of Ms. Huang, Easy Voyager Academy hopes that students will become more interested in studying Mandarin Chinese and that the community will gain a greater appreciation for cultural diversity. A recording of the East Voyager Academy of Charlotte 2023 Chinese New Year Celebration can be found here!

On May 5, 2023, TCLP exchange teacher Abdelkrim Hayab, hosted at Twinfield Union School (Plainfield, VT) facilitated a Moroccan Soiree event. The project was funded by a CLP grant awarded in Round 24. Over 100 students, staff, parents, and community members attended the event where students in Mr. Hayab’s Arabic cooking club prepared traditional Moroccan food and drinks. This followed 16 sessions of cooking classes for club members, including other students, and parents. In addition to the event, Mr. Hayab and the club students shared a cookbook that they had created, which featured recipes for traditional Arab dishes and drinks written in both Arabic and English for attendees to bring home. The event provided students the opportunity to further their learning outside of the classroom, through exposure to new words and phrases in Arabic related to cooking and cuisine. Overall, the event allowed members of the Twinfield Union School community to learn more about Arab culture and cuisine, and the opportunity to try authentic Moroccan and Arab dishes. The cookbook created by Mr. Hayab and the Arabic cooking club students can be viewed here!