Mandarin Immersion Program
Why Mandarin Chinese?
In an increasingly global, technological economy, experts say, it isn’t enough to be academically strong. Young people must also be able to work comfortably with people from other cultures, solve problems creatively, write and speak well, think in a multidisciplinary way, and evaluate information critically.
(Soft Skills in Demand, Education Week, June 12, 2007)
Mandarin Program Enrollment Requirements
- Students enrolling are required to have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.3
- Students must maintain academic and behavioral standards to remain eligible for participation in the Mandarin Immersion Program
- Parental commitment to the success of their child includes but is not limited to:
- Reinforcement of their first language through daily reading
- Daily parental encouragement
- Partnership and consultation with teachers, administration and child
- Continued Mandarin language enforcement during long breaks to include review, extra curriculum programs and activities
- Homework in larger quantity than the traditional education program
- Daily and timely attendance with the exception of illness and family emergency
Mandarin Partial Immersion Program
- Two-way immersion allows students to maintain their first language while acquiring a new language
- Two-way immersion allows the possibility of students who speak Mandarin to attend our school as they learn English and students who speak English to attend our school as they learn Mandarin while helping one other
- Two-way immersion allows students to learn from one another
Benefits of Immersion Programs
- Exposing students to a second language at an early age aids in the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills
- Immersion programs have been shown to be most effective in helping students reach high levels of language proficiencies.
- Explicit instruction will be used to introduce a new language with individual and choral responses from the children.
- Guided and independent practice is used so children have the opportunity to review and apply the knowledge and skills that have already been introduced to them
- Inquiry and problem solving, where children are given hands-on tasks to test and apply what they have learned and to promote student interaction and conversation.
- Technology integration, where children use adaptive learning software such as BetterChinese to meet their individual learning needs and assess their progress.
- Specialized language acquisition strategies, where teachers use a range of skills to ensure material is accessible such as: body language, hand gestures, visual and audio aides, real life props, context, clear enunciation, and range of questioning techniques.
We use grade-appropriate Mandarin Chinese materials from Singapore and China. For example, in Mandarin Language Arts sessions, we plan on using a combination of Better Chinese (curriculum that has been designed specifically for US students learning Mandarin, and used by many immersion programs) and Singapore-based Chinese Language for Primary Schools.
Chinese culture is integrated into all subject areas. For example, in Math, children will learn to use an abacus, in Language Arts they will learn proverbs, in History they will learn about China, in Reading they will read about Chinese culture, in Art they will learn Calligraphy, and in Physical Education they will learn Tai Chi.
Three Meaningful Components
- Content-based instruction
- Social Studies, Religion, and Mathematics
- Explicit language instruction
- Chinese Language and Culture
- Experimental learning
- Berlitz partnership—Mandarin Immersion After School Program
- Cultural Festivals and Performances
- Skype Classroom Conversations and E-Pals
Formative and summative assessments conducted throughout the school year to measure student progress and teacher efficacy, and to adapt classroom practice to the needs of ours students.
- Parents are not required to learn Mandarin
- Homework is given that the students can independently complete
- The Academy has partnered with the Berlitz School to offer additional support after school for students to acquire Mandarin. This is an opportunity for the students that are not in the Mandarin program to acquire the language. The Berlitz after school course is offered for a nominal fee two days a week throughout the school year.