University of Vermont

Asian Studies Outreach Program

Start Talking: CESS Awarded a National Security Language Initiative Grant

New grant provides Vermont students with the opportunity to learn Chinese, and Vermont Chinese Language Teachers with the opportunity for professional development

"Ni Hao!"

A new StarTalk grant at the College of Education and Social Services will result in more Vermont high school students being able to converse in Chinese, and for Chinese language teachers to increase their expertise for teaching the Chinese language. The free weeklong summer program at the University of Vermont will provide 25 students and 15 teachers with the opportunity to take part in the unique combined StarTalk program.

STARTALK’s mission is to increase the number of Americans learning, speaking, and teaching critical need foreign languages by offering students (K–16) and teachers of these languages creative and engaging summer experiences that strive to exemplify best practices in language education and in language teacher development, forming an extensive community of practice that seeks continuous improvement in such criteria as outcomes-driven program design, standards-based curriculum planning, learner-centered approaches, excellence in selection and development of materials, and meaningful assessment of outcomes.

This combined program provides opportunities for teachers and students to learn the Chinese language together. Held on the campus of the University of Vermont, the student program begins on July 27 and finishes on August 3. The teacher program aims at upgrading teachers' knowledge and expertise for teaching the Chinese language. Participants study in-depth content on Chinese culture and the Chinese language from renowned scholars to expand their knowledge base. They examine the latest methodology for Chinese language instruction and practice them when they teach in the student program. The student program aims at generating student interest in learning the Chinese language. Participants learn the language at the beginning level with the teachers through various fun activities such as games, handicrafts, mini dramas.

The applications forms and informational material can be found here:

The teacher and student program is open to Vermont schools and the schools in New York, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts that are close to the Vermont boarder. The student program enroll beginners only. Applications are to be available at the Principal's Office and the Guidance Department of each school in mid-April.

STARTALK is the newest of the component programs of the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI) announced by former President Bush in January of 2006. The initiative seeks to expand and improve the teaching and learning of strategically important world languages that are not now widely taught in the US.

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