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Confucius Institute and ESC Region VI Launch Chinese Language Pilot Program This Fall

- Released on Sep 01, 2008

College Station -- Since the semester started on August 25, 2008, some 50 ninth and tenth grade students at Navasota, New Caney, and Splendora high schools have been participating in a new Chinese language pilot program managed by the Confucius Institute at Texas A&M University (CI-TAMU) and ESC Region VI, in which faculty from the CI-TAMU delivers Chinese language classes to high school students in three school districts via video conference. Randy Kluver, director of CI-TAMU and director of the Institute for Pacific Asia at Texas A&M University, said that there has been a rapid rise in the number of students learning Mandarin over the last few years nation-wide. Like many other states, Texas has seen an increasing demand in Chinese language classes. “One of the obstacles we face here in Texas is that we do not have an established certification process for Chinese language teachers,” said Kluver. “We can’t certify teachers fast enough to meet demands. The CI-TAMU is developing this pilot program to provide an alternative to solve the problem.” Martha Green, Coordinator of Learning Services for the Office of International Outreach at Texas A&M University, worked very closely with Region VI to train the teachers and develop the curriculum. “This is a first for the three participating districts to use video conferencing technology in teaching their students. I think everyone, especially the students, is very encouraged by how well it works,” said Green. The lead teacher of the program, Jun Xing, who is a visiting scholar from Ocean University of China and assistant director of CI-TAMU, agreed that the program has received very positive feedback. “None of these students have prior experience with Chinese language, but they are all progressing very quickly,” said Xing. The one-year pilot program is renewable for a second and third year, with the potential to offer the service to more students in more schools.