Mandarin Immersion Program

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)

We developed our Mandarin program to help instill these skills in our students, and to further expand their global knowledge and citizenry. 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.

Program Components

Our program consists of the three meaningful components.

Content-based Instruction

  • Social Studies
  • Religion
  • Mathematics

Explicit Language

  • Chinese Language
  • Chinese Culture

Experimental Learning

  • Berlitz partnership—Mandarin Immersion After School Program
  • Cultural festivals and performances
  • Skype classroom conversations and e-pals

Curriculum and Teaching Strategies

Curriculum

RTCA uses grade-appropriate Mandarin Chinese materials from Singapore and China. Mandarin Language Arts incorporates a combination of Better Chinese (curriculum that has been designed specifically for US students learning Mandarin, and used by many immersion programs throughout the country) and Singapore-based Chinese Language for Primary Schools. Chinese culture is integrated into all subject areas to promote a more practical understanding of the history, people, and lifestyle represented by this Immersion language program.

Teaching Strategies
  • Explicit instruction is used to introduce a new language with individual and choral responses from students.
  • Guided and independent practice is utilized to allow children the opportunity to review and apply the knowledge and skills that have already been introduced to them.
  • Inquiry and problem solving are vital, where students are given hands-on tasks to test and apply what they have learned and to promote interaction and conversation.
  • Technology integration, where students use adaptive learning software, such as Better Chinese, to meet their individual learning needs and assess their progress.
  • Specialized language acquisition strategies (body language, hand gestures, visual and audio aides, real life props, context, clear enunciation, and range of questioning) are techniques woven into the communication instruction process.

Two-Way Immersion

In the 2018-19 school year, RTCA welcomed 50 international students from China to our campus and launched our two way immersion program. This program not only strengthened the exchange of language and culture, it positioned our academy and our students to beneficially impact the world.

The two-way immersion program allows students to maintain their primary language while acquiring a new one, and allows our native-Mandarin-speaking students and native-English-speaking students to help one another.

Requirements for Enrollment

Students enrolling in the immersion program are required to have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.3, and students must maintain academic and behavioral standards to remain eligible for participation in the the program.

Parental commitment to the success of their child(ren) includes but is not limited to:

  • Reinforcement of their first language through daily reading
  • Daily parental encouragement
  • Partnership and consultation with teachers, administration and student
  • 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

Assessment

Formative and summative assessments are conducted throughout the school year to measure student progress and teacher efficacy, and to adapt classroom best practices to the needs of ours students.

Parental Support

Parents whose students are enrolled in the Academy's Mandarin program are not required to learn the language. Assigned homework can be completed independently by the students without parent intervention.

RTCA partners 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.