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Falls Church City Schools Join Confucius Classrooms Network

Falls Church City Schools have been accepted as a member of the second cohort of schools in the Hanban – Asia Society Confucius Classrooms Network.


Falls Church City Schools have been accepted as a member of the second cohort of schools in the Hanban – Asia Society Confucius Classrooms Network.

This national network of 100 Chinese language programs will be developed over three years. With this second cohort, the network represents over 15,000 students in 23 states and the District of Columbia; public schools, independent schools, and charter schools; elementary, middle, and high schools; and urban, rural, and suburban schools.

Each Hanban-Asia Society Confucius Classroom will work with a partner school in China to enhance opportunities for language learning and to provide students, teachers, and administrators with opportunities to conduct exchanges and joint projects. The network is linked through an online community where teachers will share resources and best practices in an effort to build models for the field.

Since Mandarin Chinese was first offered in 2007 as a foreign language option at George Mason High School, the program has expanded to five levels of Chinese study, including Mandarin Chinese International Baccalaureate examinations in the current school year. Since 2007, GMHS Mandarin Chinese students have participated in two school exchanges with #3 High School Nanning, won prizes in area foreign language competitions, participated in a summer camp in China, created a vibrant Chinese Culture Club, formed a prize-winning Dragon Boat team, and taken part in an intensive summer study program at Taipei Normal University in Taiwan. As a member of the Confucius Classrooms network, plans are to expand the use of technology in Chinese language classes, generate interest in Chinese language study and Chinese culture through summer enrichment camps for elementary and middle school and cultural activities in the high school during the school year, expand the current partnership with #3 HS Nanning, and provide opportunities for professional development and communication between area Mandarin Chinese teachers.

As part of its continuing effort to help American students become more globally competent, Asia Society has been supporting the development of Chinese language programs in schools across the United States. This work includes the Chinese Language Initiatives e-newsletter, the annual National Chinese Language Conference co-organized with the College Board, which will be held in San Francisco, CA April 14-16, 2010, and the development of resources for the field, including the “Learning Chinese in American Schools” DVD and the “Meeting the Challenge” report on Chinese language teacher preparation.

The Confucius Classrooms Network has been established with the support of an International Expert Advisory Committee and in partnership with Hanban, the affiliate of the Chinese Ministry of Education that supports the teaching and learning of Chinese language and culture in all corners of the world. The Network is more than just an attempt to recognize excellence in Chinese language teaching-it is the beginning of an ongoing process of field building with the goal of establishing high quality, sustainable Chinese language programs in all regions of the U.S., and one important step toward strengthening Americans’ understanding of China.

Asia Society has designed the selection process for the 100 U.S. schools, assists them in creating links with schools in China, convenes an annual meeting in conjunction with the National Chinese Language Conference, provides support through e-newsletters and professional development seminars, and collects data to assess progress.