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SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY
CHINESE FLAGSHIP PARTNER PROGRAM
Charles Egan, Director; Hsiu-huei Lin Domizio, Associate Director
The Flagship Model
and the Future of Chinese Language Teaching
Second International
Conference on Chinese
Language Pedagogy
August 15, 2009
© The Language Flagship 2008
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LANGUAGE FLAGSHIP CENTERS
Chinese
Arizona State University Partner Program
Brigham Young University
Indiana University Partner Program
Ohio Public Schools K–12 Flagship Program
Ohio State University
Portland Public Schools K–12 Flagship Program
San Francisco State University Partner Program
University of Mississippi
University of Oregon
University of Rhode Island Partner Program
Nanjing University, China
Qingdao Center, China
© The Language Flagship 2008
LANGUAGE FLAGSHIP GOALS FOR STUDENTS
• To help students reach professional-level language
proficiency (ILR 3; ACTFL “Superior”) while pursuing
academic majors of their choice. Flagship sponsors
programs in a range of languages critical to U.S.
competitiveness and security.
• To prepare graduates with the academic and linguistic
skills to become global professionals and leaders in their
chosen fields.
GOAL FOR THE FIELD OF LANGUAGE TEACHING
• “The Language Flagship leads the nation in designing,
supporting, and implementing a new paradigm for
advanced language education.”
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The Typical Undergraduate Chinese Program (1)
• Courses are designed for slow or middle students, and
don’t sufficiently challenge the best. Students develop
relatively low expectations for proficiency.
• Students are mostly passive learners, digesting
textbooks and doing required homework.
• Students hear and speak language class Chinese, but
seldom use the language outside. They do not often
experience language use that is above their proficiency
levels (e.g., lectures, academic discussions by native
speakers, television news), nor do they have much
chance for extended informal conversation with peers.
© The Language Flagship 2008
The Typical Undergraduate Chinese Program (2)
• Balancing the needs of non-heritage and heritage students is a
struggle, made doubly difficult because “heritage students” includes
a great range of individuals, with different strengths and
weaknesses. One size does not fit all. (Two sizes doesn’t either).
• There is an imbalance of four skills training in the B.A. curriculum:
elementary/low intermediate courses focus on speaking and
listening over reading and writing, and upper level courses do the
opposite.
• The interpersonal and interpretive modes are weighted over the
presentational mode. Thus in speaking students lack a sense of
proper register, and in writing they do not use proper 書面語.
The Typical Undergraduate Chinese Program (3)
• Class design tends to take precedence over curriculum design.
Articulation is a particular problem at the upper levels.
• Study abroad programs are a gamble – the quality is mixed, and
articulation with home institutions is often poor. Many students are
just out to have fun. Entrance to local culture is a problem.
• It is upon their return from study abroad that the best students are
ready for high level language and culture courses, but for most there
is only a little time left.
• The graduate with a B.A. in Chinese generally attains no higher than
ILR 2 (Advanced), if that. That is a “working knowledge” insufficient
for professional use. Yet do teachers really know that even that
proficiency level has been attained? B.A. Programs seldom offer
summative assessment.
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SFSU Chinese
Flagship
Partner
Program
KEY
FEATURES
• Eligibility – SFSU students with minimum
3.2 GPA, by application
• Minimum ILR 1/1+ at entrance, by standard
assessment measures (STAMP, HSK, TOP,
etc.)
• Regular diagnostic assessment by standard
measures, to identify areas of need
• Individualized study plans
• Cumulative electronic student portfolios
• Three-year core curriculum
• Faculty mentoring in a chosen field of study
• Mini-pipeline – assistance for elementary
and intermediate-low students to reach
entrance level
© The Language Flagship 2008
Curricular path
for an incoming
freshman student
with no
background in
Chinese
(1)
• Summer Intensive Elementary Chinese – The
equivalent of one year of Elementary Chinese will be
offered in an 8-week (150 class hours) program at
SFSU. In addition to receiving language training,
introduction of electronic media using Chinese, such as
email, internet, blogs and forums, and texting, will
encourage students to become self-learners.
• Year 1 – students enroll in regular intermediate Chinese
courses, and also in special Flagship Preparatory
sessions for accelerated work in reading and writing. A
conversation partner system will be instituted, and
students will meet with Chinese-speaking Faculty Mentors
in their specific disciplines.
Curricular path
for an incoming
freshman student
with no
background in
Chinese
(2)
• Summer in Qingdao – upon verification of
ILR 1/1+ proficiency, and acceptance to the
Flagship cohort, students attend intensive
language courses at the Chinese Flagship
Qingdao Center in eastern Shandong
Province.
• Year 2 – at SFSU, students enroll in two
Flagship courses per semester, a demanding
Content-Area Course taught by a Chinesespeaking faculty member (topics will vary),
and a related Language Strategy Course in
the Chinese Program. They will also meet
regularly with Faculty Mentors in their major
discipline.
•
Year 3: The “Capstone Year” – at the Chinese
Flagship Overseas Center at Nanjing University in
Jiangsu Province, students undertake a challenging
semester program that combines special advanced
Flagship courses with direct enrollment (for grades)
in regular Nanjing University
courses. Subsequently they are placed in fourmonth internships in various locations in China to
gain practical experience working in their disciplines
in Chinese-speaking environments.
•
Year 4 – at SFSU, Flagship students complete
culminating projects with the assistance of their
Faculty Mentors. In addition, they will take
advanced courses in Translation and Interpretation,
on the premise that these are skills that need to be
developed for accurate cross-cultural
communication. Students who successfully
complete university and major requirements and
reach ILR 3 through summative assessment will be
awarded Flagship Certification.
Curricular path
for an incoming
freshman student
with no
background in
Chinese
(3)
Incorporating Flagship Methods
in the Regular Chinese B.A. Curriculum (1)
• Raise standards. Classes may become smaller, but in
the long run the program will be stronger.
• Introduce technological tools early to help students
become self learners. Assign conversation partners to
assist, and to provide informal language practice.
• Institute ongoing electronic portfolios that will follow
students through their undergraduate careers.
Formalize periodic diagnostic assessments.
• Set study plans and goals with each student that take
into account his/her fields of interest. Set benchmarks.
Incorporating Flagship Methods
in the Regular Chinese B.A. Curriculum (2)
• Rebalance the four skills in the curriculum. Increase reading and
writing at the lower levels to better prepare students for advanced
work. Increase the focus on listening and speaking at the upper
levels to develop educated speech.
• Articulate with study abroad programs. Keep tabs on students
through web-based tools. Give them assignments and deadlines.
• Reconfigure upper level offerings to include more Chinese for
special purposes courses (e.g., Business, Science, Politics)
• Encourage Chinese-speaking faculty around campus to offer their
courses in Mandarin, on a Language-Across-the-Curriculum model.
Tutoring support in the Chinese Program would support them.
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