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Issue Date: September 2012

Character Study

Q: What is the biggest challenge of teaching Chinese to young Americans?

A: The biggest challenge for young children in America is limited exposure to the native language. Most of my students’ families don’t have any Chinese background. Secondly, the students’ foreign language class time is way below the level of other countries learning English. Mandarin Chinese is a very different system from Western language. It takes a long time to learn.

Q: What was the main focus of the master teacher workshop?

A: The focus was literacy, and the Web-based materials we developed target character recognition and production and reading comprehension. I want to update and refine the Hawken Lower School Chinese program and I’m going to further promote the application of computer technology in Chinese teaching. I love to use technology to teach.

Q: What have your students taught you?

A: The little ones love to speak the language, and the older ones enjoy Chinese history and writing Chinese characters. When we talk about the Chinese New Year, we not only look at how it’s celebrated, but who celebrates it.

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