High school students learning Chinese are invited to a 3-week long summer program on BYU campus to enrich their language and cultural proficiency.
Start: April 16, 2013
Contract Terms: Funded by the National Foreign Language Center
- Principal Investigator: Dana Bourgerie
- Website: http://chineseflagship.byu.edu
- Project Description
Approximately 4,000 students in 80 high schools in Utah are learning Chinese. STARTALK is a program catered to these students, developed by Professor Dana Bourgerie, as a Chinese-teaching tool for students all across the United States. The 2013 summer program included 60 students from grades 9-12 and lasted 3 weeks with 180 total hours of Chinese instruction at the Brigham Young University campus. This language immersion time is divided into different elements, namely 3 hours of daily classroom study, and evening and weekend language activities. These activities involve several other Chinese language instructors from around Utah. For the past seven years, the program has allowed students to be immersed in both the Chinese language and culture, improving their language skills and laying a solid foundation of cultural understanding. STARTALK is an ongoing program, which has allowed Professor Bourgerie and other instructors to refine the curriculum and techniques to meet students’ needs and increase their likelihood for success. This program has increased the enthusiasm of Chinese-language learners as they are able to see measurable improvement in their language proficiency.
One of STARTALK’s most impactful outcomes is that students can earn one year of high school credit for successful completion of the 3-week summer program. The language and cultural instruction and enrichment activities is comparable to that of one year of a Chinese high school class through BYU’s Independent Study Office. Professor Bourgerie has developed detailed lesson plans and cultural activities that allow the students to connect the language with their understanding of Chinese culture. This program demonstrates an increased communication and collaboration between university and second language educators, as represented by the BYU Chinese STARTALK teacher training program, the BYU Chinese Flagship Center, and high school programs across Utah and the United States.
This program is significant for any high-school aged student who is interested in increasing their understanding of the Chinese language and culture. This program serves as a platform for future experiences in Chinese. The program not only focuses on the needs of the students, but also focuses on the needs of the immediate community as well. The program is an opportunity for secondary students to learn Chinese in a setting outside of the traditional classroom. Because the program takes place at the BYU campus, it provides students with a taste of college life and further incentivizes them to continue their education by expanding their language skills. The program also focuses on meeting the needs of students who are more interested in a global education and multicultural experiences. Several Chinese immersion programs have been implemented through Utah in the hopes that many students will be able to compete in the global economy. The STARTALK program is a way that students can increase enthusiasm for learning the language while improving proficiency in the language.