A special summer workshop at the University of Colorado is teaching Chinese teachers about working with educational technology. Teachers of Mandarin Chinese have 10 days to learn to incorporate technology in K-12 classrooms that encourages active foreign language learning.
A federal grant called STARTALK is enabling CU’s Teaching East Asia program to host its fourth summer workshop for Chinese teachers. There is a critical need for certain foreign languages, including Chinese, and the goal is to increase the opportunity for Americans to learn those languages.
The workshop is open to teachers from all over the nation, and has 18 participants. 6 are from Colorado.
Jon Zeljo, a senior staff associate with the Teaching East Asia program, said he wants to see more Colorado schools offer Chinese. Challenges include the lack of a central person at the state level who can help with organization and communication and the limited availability of people who are both fluent in Mandarin Chinese and qualified to teach, he said.
“There are a lot of people interested in Chinese programs in schools, but there’s no organization or way to communicate,” he said. “Colorado is way behind. We’re trying to create some momentum where we can get the dialogue going.”
Participants in the summer workshop include a teacher at Boulder Valley’s Boulder Preparatory High School and two teachers from the St. Vrain Valley School District, along with St. Vrain’s Chinese program coordinator.
In Boulder Valley, Fairview High School also offers Chinese, but there wasn’t enough interest to keep a class going at Southern Hills Middle School. At least three area private schools also offer Chinese classes — Dawson School in Lafayette, Shepherd Valley Waldorf School in Niwot and Broomfield Academy.
In St. Vrain, coordinator Yinyan Huang said nine teachers are teaching Chinese classes in 12 schools in the fall.