Kim Besio, Ziskind Professor of East Asian Studies, and Andie Wang, assistant professor of East Asian Studies, with Ankeney Weitz, the Ellerton M. and Edith K. Jetté Professor of Art, as consultant, received a STARTALK grant of $102,074.97 from the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland.

The grant, titled “Learning Chinese through Art,” will allow them to offer a two-week teacher preparation program and a three-week Chinese language camp for local third and fourth graders in June and July 2018. This program aims to promote Chinese language learning and teaching in the local Central Maine community. With a focus on Chinese art, the program offers a 2-week long residential, culture-rich, content-based pedagogical training for preservice/inservice teachers of Chinese and a 3-week long beginning-level Chinese summer camp to students from ages 10-12.

During the first two weeks, the teacher participants learn the basics of teaching Chinese as second language through hands-on experiences and are guided to create lesson plans for the Chinese summer camp using the Backward Design and Content-Based Instruction approach. During the Chinese language camp of the third to the fifth weeks of the combination program, the teacher participants implement their lesson plans and the student participants learn basic Chinese through an art-based, culture-rich experience.

The teacher participants receive a certificate at the end of the 168 hour training whereas the student participants gain an opportunity to develop their interests in and awareness of as well as an initial understanding of the Chinese language, art, and culture, and learn to use basic Chinese to communicate about their personal information, preferences, and art-related daily activities.