“National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC) is the largest annual gathering practitioners, policymakers, and school leaders with an interest in Chinese language teaching and learning in North America.”
Representing Chinese with Meggie, Weiky, our new instructor, attended the fifth NCLC in Washington, DC this April. Below is Weiky’s report on the conference.
This year’s theme was State of the Field: Proficiency, Sustainability, and Beyond. Many Chinese language educators have discussed about what the successful models for early Chinese language learning program should look like. Many of Chinese with Meggie’s practices correspond to the suggestions of experts in the field promoting early childhood total foreign language immersion.
Regarding teaching methodology, there were several sessions discussing how guided play, games, and arts can support language learning for preschoolers. This methodology is, in fact, what Chinese with Meggie has always emphasized and applied in our classrooms: using play-based methods to expose our children to the target language even without their full awareness of the outcome of the learning process.
Besides the teaching methodology, what makes Chinese with Meggie stand out is our respect to each student’s learning differences. During a discussion of effective differentiated instruction, some of our peers complained that even though they understood respecting individual difference could promote students’ learning process, they could hardly apply that when they were facing 15-20 youngsters at one time. Unlike most programs with 15-20 students, our small-sized class allows our teachers to closely work with 4-5 children at one time. In this way, we can pay attention to each individual’s learning needs and differentiate our instruction accordingly. In addition, during a “data-sharing practice” session of the conference, the speakers encouraged teachers to work as a team to share students’ information, including teaching tips, students’ personalities, etc. At Chinese with Meggie, this practice is one of the core values of our teaching team. Our teachers work closely as a team and rotate to teach the same class so that we can get to know each student in the school and share teaching tips for different children. In addition to that, we also strive to expand our “data-sharing practice” by providing feedback to parents as well. Besides updating parents on each child’s progress, we also encourage parents to provide any information that can assist us to better understand each child. Parents can also use the materials we provide to work together with their children after class. In this way, our teaching team has cooperated both teachers’ and parents’ efforts to make the learning process the most comfortable and effective for our students.
With more attention to early childhood Chinese language teaching and learning in North America, Chinese with Meggie is glad to be one of the pioneers in this emerging field of early childhood language instruction.
- Chinese with Meggie Language School, Austin, Texas