A Summer of Chinese Language and Culture
By MAYA MASHEB
This past summer, many Jericho students participated in the Chinese Flagship program.
Students who participated received the opportunity to study Mandarin Chinese and culture in an engaging learning environment. The program was offered to students in grades K through 12 for a period of one to six weeks. World Languages curriculum associate Dr. Margarita said that 87 students participated in the program this past summer and “were very excited about it.” Freshman participant Kristina C. said, “I liked seeing friends and meeting new ones and continuing to learn Chinese after
many years of not learning it.”
Learning Chinese can be beneficial to a student’s performance inside of school, but it can also bring them closer to the career of their dreams. Shouqian Shi is the lead instructor of the K-12 Blended Pilot Project, a collaboration between the Hunter Chinese Flagship Program and the Jericho School District. The aim of the plan is to prove that high school graduates can achieve an advanced level of proficiency in Chinese using blended learning. Shi discussed how there is a correlation between studying a language and gaining high scores on SAT and ACT exams. “Generally speaking, studying a new language supports academic achievement,” said Shi. Additionally, students may be able to accelerate in their studies of Chines by participating in the summer program, although it would not be likely for a middle schooler to be placed in a high school class. Dr. Margarita explained that, “It depends on the age, the grade and what is developmentally appropriate for that child.”
The Chinese population is now over 1.3 billion people, and those who are proficient in speaking the language are needed in all fields of business. Mandarin Chinese is anticipated to grow larger than any other language in the world. According to Shi, “Students are trained with authentic language skills including writing letters, ordering food in a restaurant and purchasing plane tickets which are used in the professional world. These skills are what colleges and employers look for.”
The Flagship Program is taught by the use of blended learning. This style of teaching combines face-to-face classroom learning with the use of online and mobile instruction. Shi explained how the use of classroom time and one-on-one online sessions ensures that the students get a necessary amount of individualized attention. Technology plays an important role in the program.
Luckily, the program will be continuing next summer from June 27th to July 22nd. Anyone interested
in participating can contact Dr. Margarita. The deadline for the application is March 15th, 2016.
The original version of this article reported that the program was held at Hunter College. It was held in Jericho.