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Confucius Institute at SDSU

CHINESE BRIDGE

2014 Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Prelimiary Competition

CI/SDSU participated at the 6th Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students


2013 Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Prelimiary Competition

2014 Chinese Bridge Summer Camp for U.S. High School Students

2013 Chinese Bridge Summer Camp for U.S. High School Students

2012 Chinese Bridge Summer Camp for U.S. High School Students

2011 High School Students Reflection Extract for Chinese Bridge Summer Program

 

 

 

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2014 Chinese Bridge Proficiency Competition - Preliminary Contest

Welcome to Chinese Bridge

You are cordially invited to participate in the 2014 Chinese Bridge Proficiency Competition Preliminary Contest sponsored by the Los Angeles Chinese General Consulate Office, and hosted by the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University. The competition is open to all students in grades K-12 under the judiciary region of Los Angeles Chinese General Consulate Office.

The subjects in the competition include Mandarin language proficiency, knowledge of China and Chinese Culture, and Chinese cultural skills. Please see the guidelines here.

 

 


2014 CHINESE BRIDGE SUMMER CAMP FOR U.S. HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

Spend up to 3 weeks in China living, studying, and exploring a culture different from your own! Activities will include learning Chinese in a Mandarin classroom, exposure into Chinese lifestyle, and touring renowned local tourist attractions! This 2014 Chinese Bridge Summer Camp Program will take you on a journey to Beijing and other parts in China that you'll never forget.

Date and Location

  • Program Dates: July 15- August 1, 2014
  • Location: Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Provinces of Shandong, Shanxi

for more information:

2014 Chinese Bridge Summer Camp for U.S. High School Students Flyer

CBD HS General Guidance

2014 Application Form for Students

2014 Application Form for Teachers

For more information please contact the Confucius Institute at 619-594-4791 or by email at Anne Chu chuanneci@gmail.com

Application Due: March 12, 2014

Final Payment Due: May, 2014

 

 


2013 Chinese Bridge Delegation to China

Program dates: TBA

Priority application deadline: TBA

Join school and district leaders for a one-week educational tour to China. During this program, you will visit schools, meet Chinese educators and students and participate in partnership-building activities. Learn about best practices, gather resources, experience Chinese culture and more.

For more information please visit college board

 


CI/SDSU participated at the 6th Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students

The 6th Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students opened on October 20, 2013 in Beijing. This project was sponsored by Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban, and organized by Yunnan Normal University in Kunming, Yunnan. After spending 2 days of whirlwind schedule visiting Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban office, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and other significant tourist sites, the entire group departed to Kunming, Yunnan for the competition starting on October 23, 2013.

The participants, consisting of 124 contestants, 150 observers, and 79 chaperoning teachers, with a total of 353, set a record high this year. Many local dignitaries, including Vice Governor of Yunnan Province, Feng gao; Assistant General Director of Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban, Wei Jing; Deputy Secretary-General of the Yunnan Province, Jie Yang; Director of the Department of Education of Yunnan Province, Jing Ping He; Superintendant General of Office of Education Council of Yunnan Province, Xiao Shan Liao; President of Yunnan Normal University, Lin Yang; Vice Executive Director of Yunnan Television, Shu Qing Zhao; and other distinguished guests attended the official opening ceremony on October 24.

The theme for the 6th Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition For Foreign Secondary School Students was “Learn Chinese, Double Your World学会中国话,朋友遍天下”. The unique features of Chinese cultural experience and Flower arrangement contest were the new categories added to this year’s competition. With total of 4 categories in the competition, a quiz of Chinese language and culture; self-introductory speech & talent show; sports contest infused with Chinese culture elements; and floral design, the competition took place on different locations on Yunnan Normal University campus and Kunming Ethnic Village. These categories not only tested the competitors’ knowledge and proficiency in Chinese language and culture, it also provided an opportunity for them to value the team spirits and an immersed experience to learn more of the many minority tribes abundant in the region.

Coming from all corners of the world, bearing distinguished culture background, speaking of different mother tongues, these contestants all bore one unique similarity, which was speaking Mandarin; this feature brought the hundreds of students closer together. It took no time for them to make new friends. At the end of the Competition, they had bonded life-long friendships.

The Competition ended on November 03. Madame Xu Lin, General Director of Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban, and other local dignitaries presented the winners awards to both team and individual winners. All students also participated in the evening’s entertainment show, providing performances of skits, ethnic dances, Chinese pop musicals and traditional songs, and musical instrumentals. Their outstanding performances received roaring standing ovations from the audience.

 

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Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Preliminary Competition

Please contact the department for assistance. On April 19th, 2013, the 2013 Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Preliminary Competition for Southern California was successfully held at the San Diego County Office of Education. The Competition was co-sponsored by Hanban, Confucius Institute Headquarters and the Education Department at the General Consulate Office of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles and hosted by the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University.

A total of 62 students from 14 K-12 schools throughout Southern California and Arizona enthusiastically participated in this competition. Over a hundred viewers, including parents and teachers, were present to cheer the students on. Counselor ZhuenMin Chen, and Educational Consul Liqun Li from the Education Department at General Consulate Office of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles, came to show their support to the program; Counselor Chen was also invited to be one of the judges and presented awards at the end of the competition. He encouraged the students to further their study in Mandarin. Other judges were Co-director of Confucius Institute at SDSU, Professor Wei Lu; Chinese teacher and Qi Gong Master, Ms. ShaoFang Lv; and Ms. XueYing Hu, a visiting scholar from Zhejiang Normal University. Managing Director of Confucius Institute at SDSU, Dr. Lilly Cheng, was the emcee of the competition.

The program for the competition tested the participants in their Chinese language proficiency and Chinese cultural knowledge. They also showed their talented skills in calligraphy, martial arts, dancing, singing, shadow play skit, etc. which featured a related theme to Chinese culture.

The top three winners from 6th – 12th grade section went to Jose Gonzalez from Accelerated Learning Laboratory High School in Arizona, Anne Zlatow from BASIS Oro Valley High School in Arizona, and Chrestina Mansoor from the Confucius Classroom at El Cajon Valley High School in San Diego. The top five winners from K-5th grade section were Leah Markworth and Magdalena Abboud from Riverview International Academy Elementary School, Asa Traylor, Christopher Santy, Justyne Higman and Owen Counts (tied for fifth place) from Barnard Mandarin Chinese Magnet Elementary School. All the participants’ performances were brilliant; they are remarkable evidence that demonstrated the impressive progress of the Chinese language education and Chinese culture in Southern California in the past few years.

The successful outcome of this competition was mainly due to the support from the Chinese teachers, parents, school officials, and the San Diego County Office of Education; as well as the intensive planning by the staff members and volunteers of Confucius Institute at SDSU. With the coverage from the local media, San Diego Chinese Press and WuZhouSiHai News, this competition received positive feedback from the local community.

 

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2013 Chinese Bridge Summer Camp for U.S. High School Students

On July 10 to 25, 2013, 17 high school students from various San Diego County Confucius Classroom Schools under Confucius Institute at San Diego State University, led by Project Coordinator Crystal Qian and Hang Xiao, bounded for Beijing to participate in the 16 day “Chinese Bridge Summer Camp for U.S. High School students.” Hanban, Confucius Institute Headquarters, organized a program for the students to visit various provinces and cities in China. From July 12 to 22, arranged by the Department of Education of Shandong Province, students from CI at SDSU along with those from CI at University of Memphis, Western Kentucky University, and CI at University of Texas in Dallas were assigned to the Shandong Province where they were hosted by Weifang No.1 Middle School, Zibo Experimental High School, and Shouguang Century School.

During the 10 days students spent in Weifang No.1 Middle School, the school assigned several outstanding English teachers and teachers on duty on a daily basis. The students are also offered many cultural experience classes which included: seal carving, Chinese ink painting, calligraphy, Kungfu, and traditional folk instruments and dancing classes. The students were able to visit several landmarks including the wetland park, memorial museum in Guangwen Middle School, Three Kongs, and Yangjiabu Kite Museum. The campers were excited each day as they prepared for the days activities. After the explanation from tour guides and teachers, the campers gained a deeper level of appreciation and understanding of Chinese culture, including Confucius, Confucianism, Shandong Province and local culture of the city of Weifang.

Volunteer students from China accompanied the campers for each class and activity. The volunteers invited all the campers to their homes to meet their parents, taste homemade food, look around the city, and hang out together to enjoy the day. During the closing ceremony at the school’s TV station, all the campers expressed their sincere thanks to the school, teachers and volunteer students and they also received the most delicate kite gift box from the school.

All the campers returned to Beijing on July 22, where the students were able to explore historic landmarks and enjoy the beautiful scenery before returning to the US. They visited the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the 2008 Olympic National Stadium, the Bird’s Nest, the National Aquatic Center, and the Water Cube. On the last night of the program, Hanban organized the closing ceremony at the Beijing Royal School. The student group representatives from the different provinces made a presentation board and performed on the stage to show what they had learned during the stay in their respective provinces. The campers expressed how they had benefitted greatly from the program. They were able to strengthen their friendship with Chinese students by experiencing unique customs and the local life. The students also hoped, through further learning and improvement of their language and learning skills, that they would be able to return to China, a country with a vast history and continued explosive development.

 

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2012 Chinese Bridge Summer Camp for U.S. High School Students

cbhssummer2012On July 14, 2012, 7 High School students from various San Diego County Confucius Classroom Schools under Confucius Institute at San Diego State University left the United States, bound for Beijing to participate in the two-week long 2012 “Chinese Bridge Summer Camp for U.S. High School students.” Upon their arrival in Beijing on July 15, Hanban organized a program for the students to visit various provinces and cities in which students gained first-hand experience regarding the lifestyles lived by Chinese natives. They returned to Beijing on July 25 and went on to explore historic landmarks and enjoy the scenic beauty. Students from CI at SDSU, those from CI at University of Alaska – Anchorage, and those from CI at University of Toledo were all assigned to the Henan Province group, hosted by Mount Song Shaolin Martial Arts Vocational Institute.

Mount Song Shaolin Martial Arts Vocational Institute, located in the beautiful scenery at the foot of Mount Song, is near the world-renowned Ancient Millennium Shaolin Temple. Martial arts education is a distinguished educational feature of the school. The summer camp volunteer teachers were selected from the outstanding students of the institute. They were close in age to the students, and even though there were communication problems, everyone was able to establish tacit understanding and quickly develop trust. During the summer camp, in addition to learning Mandarin daily, the students took Martial arts instruction. Furthermore, they visited the Shaolin Temple, the Song Yang Academy of Classical Learning, and other historic sites. By participating in a series of lectures and activities, the students gained a deeper level of appreciation of Chinese culture and martial arts. The first weekend after their arrival, students visited homes of local families to experience traditional customs and culture, which played such a significant role in the daily lives of Chinese commoners. All the students thought this was very enriching, even though they were exhausted from the lengthy excursions.

Students participated in a Mandarin proficiency test before their arrival in Henan to determine their level and to gauge their achievements after the 10-day workshop. It was rewarding that the students of CI at SDSU topped the test scores. There were 5 students who passed the level 3 exam and 2 students who passed the level 4.

After returning to Beijing, the students continued their language studies and visited the Lama Temple, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Great Wall, among other places of historic interest. The vibrant atmosphere of longstanding cultural relics and modern developments contrasted and complemented one another. Beijing may be perceived as a reserved and conservative city, however it is also a lively one; this left a powerful cultural impact on the students.

At the end of the summer camp program, the students, one after another, expressed how they had benefitted greatly from this activity. In addition to strengthening their language skills, they were also able to get a feel for China’s expansive culture and history. While participating in the various activities, students were able to experience unique local customs and various cultural practices. Many students expressed their wishes to apply for next year’s summer camp program and return to China again; they hope they will have the opportunity to travel to different cities, and gain more cultural understanding from the Chinese perspective. The students also ardently hope, through systematic professional learning, to go a step further and improve their language and learning skills to help them broaden their horizons, enrich their experiences, and improve their global perspectives.

 

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2011 High School Students Reflection Extract for Chinese Bridge Summer Program

“I have been all over the world ranging from Germany, Austria, England, Mexico, and Egypt and more but nothing quite like China… It was a trip of a lifetime and I would enjoy taking the trip again someday.”

-- Noah Rasnik

“All of the teachers were fantastic and all of our classes went smoothly…we learned a huge amount of Chinese for the short time we were there”

-- Gethin Wade

“I realized that parts of China have evolved to be just as modern and urban as the rest of the Earth’s greatest countries. Then there was my dream of learning Mandarin and that could not have gotten a better kick start than learning it in its country of origin.”

“Arriving, I had an anxious feel of having a language barrier throughout the whole trip, but it amazed me that about half of the people I came in contact with knew English surprisingly well! Most of the rest spoke a basic amount of English. The markets, malls and shops, whether inside or outside were the places where I would end up talking the most with the people of China.”

-- Hector Javier Gonzalez-Cazares

“The trip to China can easily be described as the most fun two and a half weeks of my life. The culture of the Chinese people along with the great attitudes of my fellow classmates and the friendly nature of our chaperons all contributed toward the everlasting experience in China.”

“When in Shanghai, we were able to feel as a college student in China would feel (which was great!) and sleep in the actual college dorms while taking Chinese classes and fitting right in with the college campus. While we were in Beijing we were able to become a classic tourist in China while staying at the fancy 5-star hotel and enjoying something to do every hour of the day from the minute we woke up to the minute we went to sleep. Both experiences combined, in my opinion, give the complete Chinese experience.”

--Luke Evans

“If I had the chance to do this cultural bridge experience to China again, not only would I not hesitate to jump feet first, I would encourage anyone to participate and be a part of this lifetime opportunity!”

-- Alexander Monta

“…the China trip not only brought a new experience into my life, but I also made a bunch of new lifetime friends on the trip that I wish to keep in contact with for a very long time.”

-- Raven Pope

“Because of the summer Bridge program, I now have the desire to continue my study of Chinese language and culture and I consider China as a second home.”

-- Andrew Afsahi

“One day an 8 year old girl tried to strike up a conversation with me to practice her English and it made my day.”

-- Megan Merrick

“It was so different and new and exciting that I took over a thousand pictures because I couldn't process that much information and I wanted to remember what I saw for years to come.”

-- Noah Kaufhold

“It was amazing to watch how quickly our novice students learned and how the confidence of our more advanced students grew.”

“I started our trip to China with high hopes and finished it with all even my best expectations surpassed. While I personally enjoyed the exposure to the language and culture, I was even happier to see our students embrace the experience, returning home with a passion to learn Mandarin and further explore China.”

--Rocky Cambell

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(1)

A Trip to Cherish for a Lifetime

Today is the day to reminisce the unforgettable visit to China. The duration of the trip was relatively short, but it left an impression in my mind that will last a life time. The trip has not fully soaked in. It all seems to have been a crazy dream. Before leaving my hotel room in Hong Kong, I played one more time with the switch that would turn the magical glass in my shower into a human body show case. As I flicked the switch, the glass would turn from an opaque glass to a see through glass. The friends with whom I shared this room, also found this magic glass rather fascinating trying to figure out how it worked. After looking around to make certain I had not forgotten anything, I piled my baggage outside my room, and went back inside to take one last glance at the fascinating magic glass. My actual visit to China was not to take a close look at Hong Kong’s massive skyscrapers or to play with a switch at a hotel room, but to learn about the culture, history and most importantly, the educational system implemented in various parts of China. Like the magic glass that had us all in aw, this trip throughout Beijing and the Henan Province was nothing short of magical.

Upon our arrival to Beijing, I did not know what to expect. We were greeted by immigration officers that looked almost as young as my oldest students at the high school I work at, 16 to 17 years old. Although, my documentation was all in order, I was worried about the unknown. To my surprise, when my turn came to present my documents, the officer was cordial and calmed. He never asked me the reason of my visit or asked me questions that made me feel anything other than a tourist. It was all very professional. After that, it was always the same ritual: to follow the crowd that descended from the same plane. We all have to read the signs that say “Baggage Claim” directing the people one or two floors down. As I looked ahead, I saw people hopping on the electrical stairs, five or eight at a time. We all looked like zombies going one direction until we all got to the luggage claim… 30 minutes later, out we went to meet with our tour guide, Ronald McDonald, which was his American name. He looked like a cartoon character, but with a twist of great intelligence, wit and knowledge. He was going to be the man with whom we were going to spend a great deal of quality time. After a few hours, he was one of us. He told us everything we needed to know to enjoy our stay. While we were in Beijing, Ronald told us stories, jokes and kept us all in check. His ultimate goal was to make us feel at home, and he did. After what it felt like a long ride to our hotel, we were amazed by the massive city of concrete, vegetation, cars, motorcycles bicycles and people. We had an idea as to what Beijing was like, but seeing it with our own eyes, made all the facts about China we read in books come to life. While a well-dressed gentleman was flaunting a last model, fine looking car, a family of four was riding a scooter across the city, helmetless. For some of us, this was something that we assimilated right away. For others, it was a complete cultural shock. Although we felt the hospitality of our Chinese counterparts even before leaving the US; our group leader, Mrs. Ann Chu, Hanban, The Confucius Institute and all the people we came in contact with, symbolically gave us the key to enter their community without any hesitation. Our stay at the magnificent hotels and our meals every three hours, always made us feel as their very special guests. This visit, I think has been my best gastronomical experience, by far, given that I have always had an interest for foods not available in the U.S. The Chinese regional food I had the opportunity to taste was one of a kind. Though, unable to identify it all, it was a joy to give my palate the chance to experience food that ranged from vegetables to meats and from noodles to beverages. Nonetheless, Peking duck, Beijing’s most famous dish, traditionally served with Mandarin pancakes and green onions, is still lingering in my palate. I can still smell and taste such traditional dish. After trying all kinds of delicious foods, came the unfortunate need to use the restroom more often than usual. While in China, I had no cravings for American food, rather, I had wished that the food I tried would have agreed with me a lot more.

Along with this adventurous gastronomical experience, came the constant use of the restroom. In many instances, we had our typical westernized toilet, especially in our hotel room. Conversely, there were places where we had to use squat toilets where we had to adopt a position as if we were about to start the Russian Squat dance: squat down with the arms folded, the only thing missing was the kick. At one point, I found myself in a situation in which the stall I entered, though with a westernized toilet, looked as if it had toilet paper available. To my surprise, at the end of doing my business, all there was left was about an inch long piece of paper. I was beside myself hoping to find a way out of this predicament. What is critical thinking for? I thought. Then, I remembered how resourceful an individual can become when it comes to finding an urgent solution. So, I opted for using one of my socks as bathroom tissue. Problem solved, but I became a man with one sock. I walked out of the bathroom unable to contain my laughter. It was a story to tell some of my traveling friends. And it snowballed from there. No matter where we went, we all had to adjust according to our own personal necessities. Whether we were visiting The Great Wall near Beijing or the Longman Grottos near Luoyang in Henan Province, we had to be prepared to do the “Russian dance”. One thing I learned for sure was that this visit had made one of my biggest dreams come true. Who would have imagined that I would have the opportunity to witness the beauty of China up close and personal? I was moved by the opulence of the Forbidden City and the majestic Temple of Heaven. Not to mention, the tranquility of the Chaoling Temple in Zhengzhou City Henan Province in Dengfeng.

Our highlight of this trip was not only the things man has created, but the warmth and hospitality of the Chinese people. From the day we arrived to the day we left, our hosts always extended their cordiality to all of us. Whether it was at a reception or a visit to an experimental school, our hosts always had a speech which we were all became part of. By the same token, seeing the ceremonial gift exchange was a beautiful and symbolic experience representing the reason as to why we were there : To Build a Chinese Bridge for American Schools. After listening to the lecture by Dr. Zhao Zhongjian and visiting the various experimental schools, I became aware of the importance of working together to build a stronger education system among these two nations. If we could only share what truly works and implement a uniform pedagogical approach and classroom management, we would not have to be dealing with poor scores across the board or discipline problems. As a prime example was our visit to the Henan Experimental Primary School. Most of us were amazed with the degree of discipline and engagement students displayed throughout all the subjects. In the music classroom, we observed and participated along with the students who were singing Jingle bells in Chinese while we sang in English. In the math classroom, young students were working out some algebra problems. None of us was surprised. Rather, we treasured the quality and advanced education these children were receiving at such early age.

What we witnessed during our trip in China was not a result of flicking a switch to experience something magical as we did in Hong Kong, but a product of the efforts put forth to improve the lives of what will become the future of the world: our children.

Jose Alfredo Barraza

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(2)

Memories. While I stood awestruck at the majestic beauty of the Forbidden City or ran my fingers over the 2700 year old Great Wall, the memories that flood my mind are of the people. From the infectious laugh of Ronald to the sharing of educational plans with the principals of the high schools in the Henan Province, I gained insights into a culture that I had limited information.

Memories of the people—the children in the primary school joining us in dual language rendition of It’s a Small World, the student’s in Allen’s class peering out of the classroom windows and waving to us, and the pride with which the Kung Fu students thrilled me with their skills. Most of all, it was the smiles on the faces of people from every walk of life—from the Hanban and Henan educational leaders to the mothers who waved the hands of the children in greetings. The smiles of the teenagers at the Great Wall who took pictures with us complete with a peace sign reminded me that peace is an idea that people hold dear. Within the temples, I watched the monks perform their daily rituals and these men and women drew me into their world and offered me a temporary sense of tranquility. Lighting and offering the incense to Buddha with Ann and Allen further intensified this feeling of serenity—I thank them for teaching me about the power of posing your requests to Buddha. My intention focused on the ability of all of us to participate in positive experiences in China and that intention did come to volition.

Memories of the culture—the Hanban Institute offered me a hands-on experience with the various artifacts that represent the grandeur of the Chinese—the bells, the clothing, the artistic crafts, paintings and sculptures. In addition, the energy of a vibrant and changing Beijing juxtaposed with the calm but, equally invigorating mood of the Hutong reflected the dichotomy of the country. The Hutong offered a welcomed relief to the fast pace of the city and I caught a glimpse of the China that I envisioned. The medley of cars, bikes and cars sharing the road with little regard to lights, road signs or markings left me in a state of confusion. On one occasion, I had the light but I was forced to run for my life as the cars were closing in on me—Pepe captured the moment on film! I never really figured out who actually had the right of way. I think that it came down to man vs. machine with the machine winning due to its sheer volume and speed. Last but not least, the adventures that we all had with the squatters are always part of our conversations, as well as the hunt for the western bathrooms!

Memories of lasting friendships-From sharing stories and laughter with my American peers to the intriguing conversations (via interpreters) with the Hanban and Henan educational leaders, the principals and the teachers, friendship were formed and cemented when we exchanged business cards. Out of respect to our hosts, we had the cards written in Mandarin.

Memories--First and foremost, I would like to thank Hanban for the opportunity to learn and to understand the culture of China. Armed with this knowledge, I can support the students as they learn the language and explore the philosophies and history of China. After experiencing the beauty of the country, I have a deeper understanding o f the rationale for the juxtaposition of a natural scene with a social or personal situation poetry written during the Zhou Dynasty in the form of Shih Ching. It is my hope to read the poems in Mandarin so that I can grasp the rhythm and therefore, truly appreciate the beauty of the poem. It is my hope that the students can also write shih poems in Mandarin about their experiences in China.

My gratitude also extends to Ann Chu and the Confucius Institute for the opportunity to enrich my knowledge of the country and to interact with other educators as we explore strategies and methods to engage our students in the learning experience. Ann provided us with countless opportunities to ask questions about history, culture and personal experiences. Also, her shopping and bargaining prowess needs to be addressed as she helped me to buy pearls for my daughters at the Pearl Market in Beijing—perfect pearls at a reasonable price.

Also my thanks to Allen, Mr. Lee (awesome whistler and informative tour guide), Ms. Ly (Hanban intern), Ronald (hilarious and knowledgeable tour guide), Dr. John (touched by his concern for the dying friend and his prescription of Chinese herbs to ease the journey of death)) and the students in all of the schools for their enthusiasm and all of our hosts for their generous gifts and toasts for good fortune and happiness. In addition, I would like to thank Allen, as he spent the time to describe the process of instructing the students in the acquisition of the language.

On a personal note, I would like to thank my peers for the array of pictures and videos that they eagerly shared. As I view the pictures, more memories flood my mind and each memory stirs up a different emotion. I need to note that Tim and Pepe were able to capture my reactions in an array of pictures—some of them are very amusing—special thanks to them for their friendship and help.

Sylvia James

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(3)

Through the generous invitation from HANBAN, I had the privilege of visiting China again this time visiting the Henan Province, one of the oldest in China. This year three of our Theme Integration Specialists were able to attend the trip to further gain and enrich their understanding of the Chinese Culture as we continue to develop our curriculum mapping for our program.

I can't stress enough the importance of these trips especially for Barnard Mandarin Chinese Magnet School because of the wealth of opportunity that we are able to gain to enhance our program and to truly advocate our students to be global citizens.

Once again, through the China Bridge Program, Barnard forged two partnerships with two schools in the Henan Province. First was a Cultural Exchange Partnership with legendary Shaolin Wushu Vocational School where it boasts 28,000 students who practice the art of Kung Fu. Barnard through the collaboration with CI at SDSU will officially invite the demonstration team to our school to perform and teach our students the ancient form of martial arts that's been practiced for thousands of years.

Second partnership that was created was between Barnard and Henan Experimental Primary School in Zhengzhou where it boasts 7,000 students. Principal Sun Gu Jie who heads this enormous school is a visionary leader who truly understands the importance of Global community and was ecstatic about our new sister school relationship. Although it was a short trip to Zhengzhou,our discussion was strategic and fruitful to bring our two schools together to interact.

By the end of this year, principal Sun and his teachers will visit Barnard to participate in the official signing ceremony that will be attended by many dignitaries.

Barnard is grateful to HANBAN and the CI at SDSU for their continued support for Barnard Mandarin Chinese Magnet program and look forward to another progressive year. Xie Xie.

Edward Park

Principal

Barnard Mandarin Chinese Magnet School

SDUSD

A California Distinguished School

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(4)

Dearest Friends and Colleagues of the Confucius Institute:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every person responsible for our outstanding trip to China with the 2011 Bridge Delegation.

This was, to be succinct, the experience of a lifetime. Upon arriving in Beijing, we were greeted and taken care of from that point forward. I found the CI staff, especially Ms. Anne Chu, our guide and caretaker during the entire trip, to be courteous and faithful to what I felt was the main goal of our journey: to experience a country vast in landscape and history, yet intimate in tradition, language and warmth. I was continually smiling and agape at each new, profound piece of history, each cheerful and welcoming face, and each new delicacy set before us on every table.

The highlight of the trip for me, personally, was our journey to the Henan province, where we were treated as honored guests, and were able to experience such phenomenal treats as the Shaolin Temple and school, and well as the White Horse Temple and the Longmen Grottoes. Words cannot express how meaningful those visits were to me, and my appreciation and respect for the Chinese language, culture, people and history was compounded yet again after this brief time.

Thank you again to all involved. It is with renewed vigor and attention that I look forward to progressing our own Mandarin language program at Montgomery Middle School. I feel that after this experience I will be better able to assist our dear Xi Lao Shi in the classroom, as well as being able to add my own personal travelogue to accentuate with stories, pictures and artifacts, the wonder that is the Chinese culture and language.

Thank you again, and I look forward to a long and prosperous relationship between myself, the Confucius Institute, and Montgomery Middle School.

Sincerely,

Timothy Dobbins

Montgomery Middle School

Cajon Valley Union School District

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(5)

The China Bridge for American Educators was very well planned. The receptions, the travel arrangements and the tours from city to city were very well executed. I believe that made the trip enjoyable. The trip itself was educational. The Program was characterized by lessons in rich history and culture of china. The drive from the Beijing airport to the hotel seemed like Beijing could be in any city of the western world. But tucked away behind all the glitz and glamour are years of rich tradition and history. This trip helped me see how culture, tradition and civilization could well integrate, they could overlap, yet each having its own place in history.

The trip ranged from visits to temples to excellent restaurants to some great schools. We traveled by bus and walked a lot.

The visits to the temples showed how sacred religion is a part of the Chinese culture. We experienced a couple of the most famous temples in China like the White Horse Temple with its rich history. We learned the relationship between China and India and how Buddhism began to gain ground in China.

Our visit to the Museums was also another treasure of arts, tradition, history and culture. We visited the Imperial Palace, while it is known as the Imperial Palace many now know it as the Forbidden Palace. It earned the name because ordinary people were barred from entering the grounds until 1911. We learned that the palace was built by a million workers including one hundred thousand artisans. The Great Wall also utilized hard human labor in being built.

Chinese art were everywhere not only in the Museums. The grottoes of Longmen contain the largest and most impressive collection of Chinese art. These works, entirely devoted to the Buddhist religion, represent the high point of Chinese stone carving, again another example of human endeavor in doing some phenomenal work that will live forever.

The Chinese are very proud of their history and culture and much has been done to preserve and to pass it on even to the younger generations. Though this is a country with over a billion people the number appears to be well managed in terms of traffic and accommodation.

The food was very interesting and I must say I was quite adventurous in my eating. I learned new foods and enjoyed most of them. We enjoyed theatre in many different forms and on various stages, again an educational piece.

I cannot but mention Shaolin and Kungfu. I learned that Kung fu is really a term that refers to any individual accomplishment or refined skill that is achieved after hard work. The Shaolin School was amazing in terms of skill display and discipline which evidently translates into other areas of society. The discipline of the Chinese is also evident in the schools, no matter how large these schools were, the students appeared to be happy, cheerful, ready to learn, focused and disciplined. It is noteworthy to say that the general belief is that schools in China are focused on Technology, Science and Math. But in reality, the education is well rounded; subjects include the Performing Arts, Visual arts, Music, PE and learning English.

Now I can say I have visited Beijing, Luoyang, Zhengzhou in the Henan province.

I left with the belief that China is poised to conquer the world in the 21st Century.

Abimbola

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(6)

When we arrived at the Beijing airport and were driving in to the XiYuan hotel, my first impressions were: this could be any big city in the world, and there is a lot of green in the city.

My preconceived notions of China were of a city with a more traditional architecture and layout, like the Hutong that some of us visited. It didn’t really dawn on me that with 20 million people in Beijing, you’ve got to go up, with lots of housing.

Everywhere that we went, the cities were clean. There wasn’t the graffiti that you see in other big cities around the world. The city planners also have obviously gone to a lot of effort to incorporate greenery and open spaces within the cities. I was also struck with the obvious use of manual labor rather than automation for tasks. I still marvel at the number of people on the streets every day sweeping, and only seeing one automated sweeper the whole trip, and that was a hotels. The abundance of employable individuals made experiences in dining and shopping very different than in the US. The number of waiters/waitresses and store clerks were significantly larger than you would find here.

I was impressed with the schools that we visited, and was interested in the differences in the school systems in China and the US. The different requirements in compulsory education, class sizes and styles, school types and supervision were fascinating. The contacts that we were able to make with the teacher that toured with us from Luoyang #1 High School and the administrators that we met were very useful. Our school will be establishing a sister school relationship with the school in Luoyang that we visited.

The touring that we were able to do was amazing. Seeing pictures of the Forbidden City and the Great Wall are impressive, but nowhere near the experience of being there oneself. The temples that we visited were serene and the Zen music presentation was amazing.

The experiences in China have opened doors for communication and collaboration between schools in the US and China, and we are looking forward to those opportunities. The touring has helped me to develop a sense of the history and society within China, which will help with the relationships with our Chinese colleagues.

Tim Towler

San Diego High – School of International Studies

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(7)

The China Bridge for American Educators was very organized and well planned. The preparation before the journey and the dinner that covered the culture and expectations of the trip in San Diego was enriching. The receptions, the travel arrangements and the tours from city to city were very well executed in China. This made the trip enjoyable. The trip itself was educational. The Program was characterized by lessons in rich history and culture of China. The drive from the Beijing airport to the hotel seemed like Beijing could be in any city of the western world. However, the tour guide brought to life the rich traditions and history of the city. This trip helped me see how culture, tradition and civilization could well integrate, they could overlap, yet each having its own place in history.

The trip ranged from visits to temples, museums, excellent restaurants to some great schools that represented the educational system in China. The visits to the temples showed how sacred religion is a part of the Chinese culture. We experienced a couple of the most famous temples in China like the White Horse Temple with its rich history. We learned the relationship between China and India and how Buddhism began to gain ground in China.

Our visit to the Museums was also another treasure of arts, tradition, history and culture. We visited the Imperial Palace, while it is known as the Imperial Palace many now know it as the Forbidden Palace. It earned the name because ordinary people were barred from entering the grounds until 1911. We learned that the palace was built by a million workers including one hundred thousand artisans. The Great Wall also utilized hard human labor in being built.

Chinese art were everywhere not only in the Museums. The grottoes of Longmen contain the largest and most impressive collection of Chinese art. These works, entirely devoted to the Buddhist religion, represent the high point of Chinese stone carving, again another example of human endeavor in doing some phenomenal work that will live forever.

The Chinese are very proud of their history and culture and much has been done to preserve and to pass it on even to the younger generations. Though this is a country with over a billion people the number appears to be well managed in terms of traffic and accommodation。

We enjoyed theatre in many different forms and on various stages, again an educational piece. Shaolin and Kungfu were awesome experiences. I learned that Kung fu is a term that refers to any individual accomplishment or refined skill that is achieved after hard work. The Shaolin School was amazing in terms of skill display and discipline which evidently translates into other areas of society. The discipline of the Chinese is also evident in the schools, no matter how large these schools were, the students appeared to be happy, cheerful, ready to learn, focused and disciplined. It is noteworthy to say that the general belief is that schools in China are focused on Technology, Science and Math. But in reality, the education is well rounded; subjects include the Performing Arts, Visual arts, Music, Physical Education and learning English.

I have truly enjoyed visiting Beijing, Luoyang, Zhengzhou in the Henan province. Also, I would recommend this journey and cultural learning experience to all educators. An international network for administrators, teachers and students is a 21st Century skill that we all can master.

Rochelle Johnson-Evans

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(8)

The Confucius Institute, China Bridge Summer 2011 experience has been a life changing experience for me. I had always dreamed of travelling to Asia but was especially interested culturally by China. The Chinese Bridge program was extremely well organized with a truly well thought out design and focus. What I appreciated the most was the ability to discover a new educational system and to interact with dynamic participants in the Chinese push towards 21st century global learning.

The team of guides, hosts and Hanban representatives who greeted and accompanied us throughout our travels in Beijing and Henan province were always dynamic, knowledgeable and eager to show us a country that they truly love and appreciate. Ronald (our Beijing guide) Alan (our Henan province host), Hutong (our Hanban intern) and David (our physician) made sure everyone was accounted for and healthy but also were willing to engage us in a friendly welcoming way. Their command of English was remarkable and their ability to infuse enthusiasm into every situation was also a highlight for me.

This experience would not have been as complete and informative had it not been for Anne Chu our San Diego State Confucius institute project manager. She truly exemplifies what a Bridge experience with China should be. She was able to introduce us to essential elements of Chinese culture prior to our trip and was constantly aware, "on the ball" with respect to proper etiquette and any of the expectations from our hosts during the course of the trip. Much credit should be given to her love for China and her ability to convey it to a group of American educators. She knows how to clearly set the tone for a formal encounter as well as retain the enjoyment of a visit to a monument. In short, she is versatile and her biculturalism is remarkable. She is a true asset to the China Bridge program.

During the course of our China Bridge experience, I was given an opportunity to write and deliver a speech in a key high-school we visited. Even though it involved staying in the hotel and writing when others were out exploring, I felt it was a privilege and an honor to be able to do this given the attention and care we had received from all of our Chinese friends.

The Chinese Bridge itinerary was extremely well put together and there was a true balance struck between essential meetings and sightseeing. I was truly impressed by the quality of the conferences we attended- especially the initial one where we were all gathered and listened to a Powerpoint presentation on the educational differences between the US and China. The University professor who presented was able to summarize American educational policies in a succinct yet complete way and I found myself wondering how bewildering it is to come all the way to China to gel clarity on US policies.

I still feel the sights and sounds, the energy and the experience of this truly unique experience. I would be willing at any time to present and share my positive new knowledge of China and its wonderful people.

Philippe Poncey, M.A. UCSB , National Board Certified Teacher 2002,

San Diego City Schools Teacher of the Year 2009-2010

 

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2011 Reflection for China Bridge Summer Program(9)

To Whom It May Concern:

I had a life changing experience on my Chinese Bridge Delegation Trip to China. I never even let myself dream of a trip to China because it seemed so impossible. I have taught medieval Chinese history for 11 years and so it was fantastic to visit places that I teach. For example, The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven, The Summer Palace, several Buddhist temples and, of course, The Great Wall of China. I am so excited to teach my future students about Chinese history from experience, rather than simply from a textbook. This is a most powerful gift that Hanban gave to me and it will never go unappreciated.

Beyond enhancing my teaching, the CBD trip allowed me to experience Chinese education. I was very impressed with the two schools we visited. I couldn't believe how advanced the campuses and teaching tools were that these schools offered their students. I am excited to have made potential pen pal relationships to share with my American students. At these school visits and everywhere we went, we experienced amazing hospitality. The Chinese are gracious, generous, and so kind.

Throughout the trip, I reflected how even though our lands are so far apart, our goals for our students are so close. We want our students to be motivated, caring, and globally minded individuals. This trip gave me a different perspective upon the Chinese educational system; one I am anxious to learn from. For truly Confucius had it correct, "I hear and forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." It is my goal to continue to learn of China through this quote.

My sincere thanks to Hanban and the Confucius Institute of SDSU. Your generous gift of this trip has inspired a teacher which will enhance the teaching of Chinese history and culture for students in many years to come. Truly these words do not express the appreciation I have for the experience.

Thank you,

Jodi Willhite

Montgomery Middle School

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(10)

This summary report will focus on the trip that I took to China, Beijing in the period of June 17th to June 26th, 2011. This report will provide an overview of the learning opportunities I was afforded through the Hanban Institute. Hanban is the executive body of the Chinese Language Council International Institute, a non-governmental and non-profit organization affiliated to the Ministry of Education of China. Hanban has made a commitment to build a bridge with the world by making the Chinese language and culture teaching resources and services available to all overseas Chinese learners. Hanban provides resources and a support system to the Chinese Confucius Institutes which is how I became aware of this opportunity. One of my professors, Dr. Ward, in my doctoral program provides this opportunity to all of the students as a chance to become more diverse and immerse ourselves in a different culture. Most students in the doctoral program are administrators which may use this opportunity to bring the Chinese culture to their perspective schools. Many educators in the United States participated in this trip; however, my group consisted of three of us from the doctoral program and 21 other educators involved in the Chinese Confucius Institute. My report will provide information about the Chinese schools we visited as well as the various sites and meetings we attended. The trip in essence provided me with a wholesome cultural learning that met my expectations and more.

First of all, the whole trip was planned by Anne Chu, coordinator at the San Diego Confucius Institute, so the planning and organization of the whole trip was taken care of and basically all I had to do was pay my fees, get a passport and pack. This is what made it so stress free and allowed me to focus on the trip itself. The flight was lengthy, about 24 hours with layover included, however, the flight took place during the night and morning, which really gave me plenty of time to rest and sleep. Upon our arrival, we were welcomed by a tour guide, whom was knowledgeable and had a great personality. The weather was warm and moist, about 72 degrees, nothing close to what I experience in the Imperial Valley, 119 degrees. Our first day there we checked in to a beautiful hotel with all the amenities. We were all provided with a nice welcome bag that included our itenary for the week and a few gifts from Hanban. Our first day there we were welcomed by Hanban representatives and educators. They provided informational power points of each of the provinces each group was going to participate in. My group was 1A and we were designated to go to the Henan Province for three days to visit a primary and secondary school and many cultural and historical landmarks.

School Visits

The first school we visited was the secondary school, Luoyang No. 1 Senior High School. This school has over 3,000 students that board in their facilities. Students stay in the school Sunday night to Friday night and go home with their parents for the weekend. Luoyang is part of the Chinese International Program. In 2007, they became “School Base of Chinese Language Promotion” of Hanban. They welcome overseas students and they also send students overseas. The school provides their teachers with strong training programs to ensure they strengthen their ability to Teaching Chinese as a Second Language (TCSL). Luoyang offers three courses for overseas students; primary, intermediate and advanced Chinese language courses. The courses include: listening, reading, writing and an elective course: calligraphy, painting, history or geography. Oversees students are required to pass the HSK exam and need a third degree to attend the regular classroom and the courses there include: Chinese, English, math , chemistry, physics, biology, history, music, P.E. and much more. Students that graduate from Luoyang are given a diploma and are recommended for the first-class universities.

Luoyang also has a teacher and student exchange program where students can visit any of the partner schools oversees during their summer or winter vacation. Students that participate in the U.S. Program attend Luoyang for two years and then go to Green River Community College for two years. Their test scores determine their eligibility for First-Class Universities.

As we visited the school, we walked their hallways and buildings where we visited the amenities provided for students, including, cafeteria, counseling rooms and classrooms. We also observed classroom instruction where large classes of about 40 to 50 students were being instructed by one classroom teacher through a teacher directed lesson.

The second school we visited was Henan Provincial Primary School. This school is under the direct leadership of the Department of Education Henan Province. They have a total of three primary schools with over 7,000 students and more than 450 faculty members. All three schools are top schools in the Henan Province. All students are provided with deep learning in basic skills in math, reading and writing. The classes include hands-on activities in science, arts and technology. The school is equipped with state of the art technology which includes a media center and computer labs. In addition, the facilities are equipped with a planetarium and science lab rooms. The school provides an afterschool program where students can participate in music, dance, folk music, piano, Olympic math, writing, English and calligraphy. The school has established the Thumb PE Club program where students learn to become experts in table tennis, football or basketball. The school provides specialized classroom teachers for art, music and other subjects.

The school was approved by the state administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and has high qualifications to employ foreign teachers. The school has sent seven teachers to Singapore and United States to learn from them. The administration is making great efforts to build partnerships with schools that will engage in a student exchange program where students can visit each others’ schools in winter and summer.

The third school we visited was the Shoaling Vocational School in Denfeng for a show by the students. This school also houses thousands of students and it is a boarding school. The students learn basic skills in reading, writing and math; however, they have a large focus on Kung Fu (Wushu). The performance integrates distinct Chinese characteristics such as, Shaolin Warriors, Wulin Hanyun, Shaolin 18-kind weapon show, Kung Fu Animals and harmony between nature and people.

The schools we visited were each unique in their own way and in the curriculum they offer to the students. However, it is evident that the China government has put a great amount of time, effort and funding to ensure their schools are successful and place an expectation of excellence in what they do for students.

Cultural Sites Visited

We had the opportunity to visit many historical landmarks and cultural sites. The following are sites we visited:

Longmen Grottoes

The Longmen Grottoes where we viewed some of the most beautiful caves with enormous Chinese Buddhas carved into the caves. We climbed several steps to view many of the caves. The Longemen Grottoes are one of the most beautiful eight famous scenic sports in Luoyang City. The chief Buddha Losana is 17.14 meters high, the head 4 meters tall and ears are 1.9 meters long. The stone carving has a majestic and intellectual feature that provides visitors with historical knowledge.

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest wonders of the world and was listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987. The Great Wall winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching approximately 8,851.8 kilometers (5,500 miles) from east to west of China. We were there for two hours and actually climbed the Great Wall, which was very tiring, but exciting.

Forbidden City

The Forbidden City was built in 1406 to 1420; the complex consists of 980 buildings with 8,707 bays of room and covers 720,000. The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese architecture and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was built as the home for emperors to live in for over 500 years.

White Horse Temple

The White Horse Temple is the birthplace of Chinese Buddhism. The temple was built by Emperor Ming in 68 AD. The temple has various temple sites to visit, a pond and a serene and comfortable atmosphere. It was a great place to visit.

Shaolin Temple

The Shaolin Temple is well known for being the first temple to introduce Kung Fu. It was established in the 5th century and it continues to be famous for its Chinese martial arts.

Henan Museum

Oldest Flute in China 8000 years old, one of the three top museums in China with 130,000 cultural relics. They also had many artifacts, such as, vases, arrows, etc. that were over 2,000 years old.

Chinese Restaurants and Meals

The restaurants and meals were superb. A simple dinner consisted of a 10 or more course meal. We ate wonderful Chinese delicacies, such as their noodle soup and fish. The Chinese officials made every effort to make every meal special for us and were very accommodating.

Overall, this trip was a great learning experience with many great memories. This trip provided me with an insight to the Chinese culture and their belief system in education. Their actions and programs are evidence of their true value for education. I myself will use this educational experience, first of all, to recognize that each culture values their language and their historical background. Also, it is important to know and understand others’ educational systems so that we can model what works and understand the learning opportunities we provide for students that come from different countries. I think as educators it is necessary for us to be aware and knowledgeable of as many cultures possible so that we can better understand how to educate our ever-changing students.

Grace Cortez-Jiminez

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(11)

First and foremost I would like to extend my warmest gratitude to the Confucius Institute and the Department of Education in China for providing such an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. The visit to China during June 2011 has provided me with a greater and deeper understanding of Chinese culture and society. From the large amount of construction and ambitious attitudes I witnessed in China, it is evident that it is a country growing and modernizing very quickly. I was fortunate to visit many cultural sites that I will always remember and cherish, like the White Horse temple, Longmen Grottoes, Shaolin temple and Kung Fu academy, just to name a few. It was very exciting to visit the Henan province and experience the culture there. I was amazed and deeply moved by all of the hospitality and warmth of our Chinese hosts.

I was also given the opportunity to visit two schools; one high school and one elementary school. These experiences proved to be the most meaningful as I was able to see and hear first-hand the progress and rationalization behind recent educational reforms in China. I was able to make comparisons between the two education systems and gain a deeper understanding of why Chinese students and American students have such differing experiences. There were opportunities to interact with students and educators, which proved to be not only interesting, but also valuable to my experience.

I was very appreciative of the effort the administrators made to form partnerships and establish friendships with American schools. The school where I teach is not currently offering courses in Chinese and the purpose of my visit was to look into the options available to establish a Chinese program and search for qualified teachers and/or programs that can help to get us started. I am happy to say that I was able to learn about a few programs that can help us at our school. My next steps are doing some research/surveying in the community and making sure there is an interest and way to sustain the program over a longer period of time.

This trip to China affected me on a variety of levels. I was challenged and educated professionally. I was moved and awed with the culture and history. I felt inspired by the progress and ambition I witnessed. The guides and group leaders were so helpful and understanding. It made me feel so welcomed and honored to be a guest in China. This experience was very humbling but at the same time it brings me hope and motivation. I expect this exchange of knowledge, culture and progress continues for years to come.

Whitney Chase

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(12)

I would like to start by thanking the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University for arranging this trip and collaborating with the Hanban Organization, for what proved to be a life changing tour. My goal in attending the trip was to learn how to strengthen the foreign language programs at my school and to learn how to establish a strong Chinese program. This objective was accomplished while participating in many of the opportunities provided by the delegation trip. The three main areas that stand out involve the detailed itinerary, what I gleaned about the history and culture of China, and the unforgettable hospitality.

During our time in Beijing, I enjoyed meeting the other state and school delegates and learning about the various provinces and schools we would be visiting. We traveled to a few cities in the Henan province over the course of 3 days. The trip involved visits to Chinese schools at the elementary and high school levels, along with visits to a large Kong Fu school. We had meaningful discussions with the principals, school leaders, teachers, and students at these schools. After observing classrooms, we learned how to form partnerships with Chinese schools and network with U.S. colleagues. The presentations provided information on best practices and what resources are needed in order to build and support an effective Chinese language and culture program at our schools.

I truly appreciate the time and consideration the Hanban and Confucius Institute put into planning the activities that educated us on the rich Chinese culture still preserved amongst the modern developments in the various cities. Some of the places we visited were the Forbidden City, China’s Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, the Shaolin Temple, and the Longmans Grotto. Everyplace was interesting and beautiful. The pride of the Chinese people was very evident as their accomplishments as a people were celebrated. The entertainment shows and performances were absolutely amazing. I was in awe of their talent.

One of the things that I will never forget about China is the wonderful hospitality shown us at all levels. My flight to and from China on Cathay Pacific was very relaxing and stress free. We were treated like very important guests at all of our hotels. The food was really good and I enjoyed trying all of the local cuisine. We were served very filling meals and some of the local or customary drinks. Foot and full body massages were made available, along with many other spas pampering at the hotel in Beijing. I enjoyed shopping in the local shops and seeing how rich and different the culture was throughout various provinces. The Chinese people really took customer service to a fantastically high level.

As I reflect on this trip, I have already recommended it to many of other administrators and colleagues. It was very informative and the information gleaned is valuable to those who are seeking to develop and expand their Chinese language program. I found the collaboration and discussions with other delegates extremely helpful, because I learned what strategies they used to create an effective program and what areas to avoid. Thank you again Hanban and the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University.

Reashon L. Villery, SDSU Doctoral Program – EDL Prek-12 Specialization

Principal at Crawford High School – San Diego Unified School District

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(13)

It is now almost three weeks since Cathay Pacific Jet touched down at LAX and ended my adventure in China. The Chinese Summer Bridge program gave me an opportunity to see how such a large country values, pays for, and promotes education. My group and I felt so lucky to be able to go to the Henan province to see, taste, feel, and hear first hand the unbelievable changes enveloping China and its educational system. We visited four cities: Beijing, Kaifeng, Luoyang, and the capital of Henan…Zhengzhou.

All of the schools we visited were impressive, not only in terms of sheer size and number of students, but to their total commitment to the educational process. This commitment was not just in terms of the government, but also could be felt from administration, teachers and especially the students of each of the schools we visited. You could tell that education is one of the most important activities that a young person must undertake and everyone, young and old took this seriously.

I was struck by how important the testing in China is and how one test can determine everything for a person at such a young age. Combined with the “one-child” policy, both student and parent know that this test will determine their child’s place in the society. Not only if they will go to university, but also how much they earn and whom may they marry when they are old enough. We think about “high stakes” testing in the U.S. and often question the administration, validity, and value of these tests for our children, but our tests do not have such life changing possibilities attached to them. We heard the Chinese government through its schools is trying to make the educational system less stressful and perhaps introduce more “American style” creativity and less note memorization into the system. However, I feel this may be a Sisyphean task, given that parents want their kids to know what they need to know to take the test that will determine their child’s future. After talking with several students at the Number One High School in Luoyang, there was not the smallest bit of equivocation when asked which system produced better students, “the Chinese system…or course.” However, they also acknowledged that they wished they had more time to “have fun” and be “a kid.”

Educationally speaking, I learned so much and it really confirmed a lot of the ideas I’ve been thinking about since I started teaching overseas six years ago. However, we didn’t just visit schools; we visited historical sites wherever we went. The Forbidden Palace, The Great Wall, and Tiananmen Square, were all incredible. Each of these left a lasting imprint in my mind. However, for me, The Longmen Grottoes and Shaolin Temple were extra special. I felt in both places, a spiritual quality that was quite special. The Ancient Buddhas carved into the sheer cliffside along the Yi River were something unbelievable to behold. Their sheer size, both large and small, led me to think and ponder the capacity to do such work and the love and patience one must have in order to do it.

I am so pleased and grateful for the chance to go on this journey with the Confucius Institute at San Diego State, sponsored by Hanban. I have been very fortuitous in my lifetime to do things I never would have dreamed, I would be able to do when I was younger. I am so thankful to Professor Lilly Cheng for giving me this opportunity and the opportunity to extend my trip. Only with her guidance and trust could I have been able to do something like this. A special note of thanks goes to Anne Chu, who was our dynamo, problem fixer, people soother and all around wonderful person. Anne made everyone feel comfortable and at the same time made sure we were on time for all of our appointments. Her professionalism and ability to relax and have fun made for a wonderful eight days.

Finally, I’d like to end with a quote Lu Xun, one of the major Chinese writers of the 20th century. He said: “Hope cannot be said to exist, nor can it be said not to exist. It is just like roads across the earth. For actually the earth has no roads to begin with…but when many people pass one way, a road is made.” I feel like I’ve helped build a tiny fraction of this road, or bridge if you will. Let us hope that the American and Chinese people will continue to have these types of exchanges across that bridge.

Jonathan Green

Montgomery Middle School

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(14)

This was my third trip to China and my second trip to Beijing. My previous trips were totally as a tourist and I experienced many of the “Top Ten” sites in both Beijing and Shanghai; however, this trip provided me with the opportunity to go beyond the typical tour sites and have experiences that I never would have had on my own.

I found the lectures in the opening session very informative regarding the educational system in China, the efforts being made to modify the current system, and the comparison of the US and China educational systems. I found this excellent preparation for the visits we made to middle and high schools in the central province of Henan.

There we experienced modern buildings and equipment along with traditional classrooms, and enthusiastic, and respectful students, especially at the Henan Provincial Experimental Primary School. I still have memories of our exemplary student guide. As one with a science background, I particularly enjoyed interacting with student who were displaying various science related projects and experiments in their classroom laboratory. It was rewarding to see such enthusiasm for science and experimentation.

Beyond the classroom, I was impressed by the lack of evening lights in Beijing. Except for the obvious evening gathering places, most of the city appeared to conserve electricity in the evening. From our 15th floor room in Beijing, it was surprising to look out in the evening into a city of 20 million residents and see very few lights left on in the adjoining buildings. It also appeared as if we were looking out onto the country side. It was also surprising to me to see how rapidly the urban environment changed to countryside when we drove out of the city. This was even more surprising when we were in Henan Province. There the countryside and farming seemed to reach almost into the city. Also, every inch of land seems to be cultivated on every hillside regardless of the terrain.

Obviously the tourist’s site which we visited also made a great impression regardless whether they were in Beijing or Henan. We had the opportunity to tour the White Horse Temple, the Longman Grottoes, the Shoalin Temple, and the Henan Museum. While each site was unique, the experience of seeing first hand these wonderful sites and to learn about the history and culture of the Henan Province was very rewarding. In Beijing the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and the Temple of Heaven also contributed to a better understanding of the Chinese people and their history. Both our guide in Henan and Beijing brought to life the history and culture of the Chinese people as we prepared to tour and while we were touring each site. The visit to Hanban Headquarters also provided a great introduction to what we would latter see and experience.

As a follow up to the visit, I hope to become involved with assisting with the hosting of teachers and delegations from China to SDSU through my affiliation with the Fulbright Association. Each year we arrange several unique San Diego experiences for visiting Fulbright exchange scholars and students. Hopefully, Confucius Institute visitors will be able to be included in some of these activities. I also look forward to returning to China in the future and feel that I have more confidence in my ability to venture beyond the major cities and tourists attractions.

Mary Ann Lyman-Hager and Wayne Richard Hager

July18, 2011

Narrative by Wayne Hager

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(15)

As I reflect on the faces of China, several images come to mind. First, the face of our young “guides” at the Henan Provincial Experimental Primary School, where we were greeted and escorted with such love and attention that the enthusiasm was contagious. Despite what many would consider impossible class sizes, we observed a great deal of attention to the needs of individual students. In turn, students were respectful of time and of each other’s personal space. It gave me a glimpse of what could be in our setting. But as I reflect on American education, we often do not have the homogeneity or “shared vision” that I believe was present in the schools we visited. Perhaps this is not true in every classroom in China, but it certainly was the case in the schools we visited.

The second vision I have is that of the sheer magnitude of the monuments and public spaces. This feature has two implicit purposes: 1) to accommodate the largest possible number of people so as to make the current ruler or party feel powerful and appreciated; 2) to allow as many people as possible to be gathered together so as to have them feel as if they are part of the fabric of the nation and that they collectively share a common purpose. Both are worthy goals and functions of these vast public spaces, and if the first was the more important early on in Chinese history, the second has a very powerful impact on the current pride Chinese rightly feel in their evolving economic and global role. To repeat, the sheer magnitude of these spaces is impressive, almost overwhelmingly so.

As I had said in my brief thank you to educational officials in Henan province, we were given a unique opportunity to view China from the inside out, and this cannot ever be replicated in a commercial tour of the country’s important tourist spots. Although we did see some of these spots, they were presented in such a way that they reflected a collective consciousness of the importance of social life and religion to Chinese people from the early stages of Chinese history to the present. Having the historical backdrop helped us understand Chinese philosophy as it is reflected in the educational system.

For the third vision, I look to the future of Chinese language education as it could be in California and the US. As far as continuing programs, I would like to unite our Confucius Institute and others with the national Language Resource Centers across the US to come up with a strategy for making the wealth of materials available to CIs usable in the schools where Chinese will be institutionalized. Attention to the STANDARDS (ACTFL) will permit teachers to create lesson plans that will be acceptable to states across the US. LARC can sponsor teacher institutes, share our grant-produced Lesson Plan Generator that is standards-based, and work within our network to make these concepts a reality. A second area that I would like to work on is Teacher Credentialing. That is where we are most vulnerable. While it is a wonderful thing to have guest teachers, ultimately there needs to be a cadre of credentialed teachers in place to support the programs on an ongoing basis. We are looking at many possibilities for “fast-tracking” credentialing procedures so that we can have the teachers we need for Chinese.

Mary Ann Lyman-Hager

LARC Director and Professor of French

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(16)

China was, as Maryanne stated, a life enhancing experience. I was humbled by the hospitality we received, the care that was taken at every step to ensure our comfort and our ability to see and experience China.

The trip for me was a whirlwind of tastes, sites, information and friendships. I constantly had to remind myself that I was in fact in China. I look back at my pictures and I am amazed that I was actually there! My experience made me wish that I knew more of China's history. I have sought out more information on the places we visited and the historical significance of them since I have returned.

My experience found the people to be friendly and helpful. Even if we couldn't communicate directly in the same language, people were willing to try (and with a cheerful way). I was impressed with the size of every city and the combination of modern and traditional. I am still trying to comprehend the immense size of the population of the country and area's we visited (an elementary school with 7,000 students! and High School math classes with 65-70 students)! I was very interested in learning how there is a struggle to change the education system in China with families wanting change and critical at the same time. This similarity to our current issues with education reform was surprising to me (although it shouldn't have, each time I travel I am reminded of how similar people are and how small the world can truly be).

I enjoyed the chance to try different foods and drink. While many buffets offered wide varieties and at time more western options, my favorite meals were the ones in restaurants where the menu was pre-decided and we sat around the table with the lazy-susan and tried each of the items served.

I know how lucky I was to go on a trip with our CI contact, Anne, our entertaining tour guides, our teacher contact, Alan, and the Doctor. Seeing other CI groups and the different attitudes and reactions to the trip made me thankful for the preparation and care SDSU CI took to ensure our readiness and openness to take in this experience and enjoy it to its fullest. While it was unfortunate that a large part of our time was spent on a bus, our tour guides did an amazing job of providing history and culture for us that we would not have had access to on another trip.

The trip left me inspired to learn more about China, its culture and its language. I can't wait for an opportunity to return and see other places in China. I have found myself talking with 2 principals about the program and encouraging them to consider learning more to start programs at their schools.

I took over 2,500 pictures on the trip in a hope to capture and bring home a piece of the experience to share with my friends and family. I am still going through and uploading them to my shared photo site. What I have can be seen here

Leigh Murrell

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(16)

China was, as Maryanne stated, a life enhancing experience. I was humbled by the hospitality we received, the care that was taken at every step to ensure our comfort and our ability to see and experience China.

The trip for me was a whirlwind of tastes, sites, information and friendships. I constantly had to remind myself that I was in fact in China. I look back at my pictures and I am amazed that I was actually there! My experience made me wish that I knew more of China's history. I have sought out more information on the places we visited and the historical significance of them since I have returned.

My experience found the people to be friendly and helpful. Even if we couldn't communicate directly in the same language, people were willing to try (and with a cheerful way). I was impressed with the size of every city and the combination of modern and traditional. I am still trying to comprehend the immense size of the population of the country and area's we visited (an elementary school with 7,000 students! and High School math classes with 65-70 students)! I was very interested in learning how there is a struggle to change the education system in China with families wanting change and critical at the same time. This similarity to our current issues with education reform was surprising to me (although it shouldn't have, each time I travel I am reminded of how similar people are and how small the world can truly be).

I enjoyed the chance to try different foods and drink. While many buffets offered wide varieties and at time more western options, my favorite meals were the ones in restaurants where the menu was pre-decided and we sat around the table with the lazy-susan and tried each of the items served.

I know how lucky I was to go on a trip with our CI contact, Anne, our entertaining tour guides, our teacher contact, Alan, and the Doctor. Seeing other CI groups and the different attitudes and reactions to the trip made me thankful for the preparation and care SDSU CI took to ensure our readiness and openness to take in this experience and enjoy it to its fullest. While it was unfortunate that a large part of our time was spent on a bus, our tour guides did an amazing job of providing history and culture for us that we would not have had access to on another trip.

The trip left me inspired to learn more about China, its culture and its language. I can't wait for an opportunity to return and see other places in China. I have found myself talking with 2 principals about the program and encouraging them to consider learning more to start programs at their schools.

I took over 2,500 pictures on the trip in a hope to capture and bring home a piece of the experience to share with my friends and family. I am still going through and uploading them to my shared photo site. What I have can be seen here

Leigh Murrell

 

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2011 Reflection for Chinese Bridge Summer Program(17)

Reminiscing about my recent trip to China, I was awed by the hospitality and generosity shown by all our hosts to all members of our delegation. From visits to historical sites and modernized schools, our delegates were truly wowed. Of the many sites seen during my remarkable journey, I was particularly interested in our visits to the local schools.

Through a first-timer's eyes, the schools in China were fascinating. The size of the school and the amount of students is astonishing. For many of them, it was their first trip to China and introduction to the local education system. For me, this trip would mark my second journey to China, and I was familiar with the education system as I had previously taught English in a local Chinese school for a year. During that year in China, I had first hand experience working in a Chinese primary school. Additionally, I was able to visit many other schools in the city I resided. I wanted to compare the schools I worked out to the top notch schools we would be visiting.

During our visit to Henan Primary Experimental School, the topic of student behavior came up. As we walked through the classrooms, I observed the reactions of my peers. Some of my fellow delegates noted that student behavior was first-rate despite the large numbers of students in class. While visiting with the principal, one of the delegates asked about consequences for poor student behavior to which the principal responded curtly, "Consequences are not needed since behavior is always good" (not his exact words but his meaning). I was shocked at this statement. From my own experience teaching in China, from talking to my peers, from listening to my Chinese colleagues, student behavior is an issue and problem. There were constant issues with student attentiveness. With that in mind, I did not feel the principal presented an accurate view of student behavior.

The classrooms appeared to have adequate resources. Several classrooms had a fairly modern Smartboard. When visiting a science classroom, I was overjoyed at the sight of actual science materials! This was due to the fact that as well as teaching English, I taught two classes of science during my time working in China where there were no materials to conduct any type of experiments. So I smiled when I saw students actually working in small groups analyzing their findings. While this school seemed to have sufficient resources, I wondered about the other schools in the city. Were the majority of the schools more similar to the school I worked at, or the school our delegation visited?

While I only touch on my experiences visiting Henan Primary Experimental School, there are countless experiences that will remain with me from the China Bridge Trip. It was an exceptional opportunity to see the beauty of China and even makes me want to return there to teach again.

Albert Leeruangsri

 

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Last Update: March 11, 2014