UH Receives STARTALK Grant to Train Teachers of Chinese as a Second Language

Twenty Teachers Participate in Two-Week Residential Program

In Texas, 20 teachers from grades K-16 schools and colleges will participate in a two-week residential program for instruction on teaching Chinese as a second language funded by a $92,050 STARTALK grant at the University of Houston (UH), July 8-19. star

The Chinese Studies Program within the department of modern and classical languages at UH received the federal grant for the 2013 summer STARTALK program. The program is open to teachers of Chinese as a second language in K-16 public and private schools, community colleges, and Chinese heritage schools in Texas.

STARTALK is a language learning program established by President George W. Bush in 2006 as part of the National Security Language Initiative to expand national capacity in critical languages. 

“The STARTALK Program at UH fulfills the urgent need for training teachers in grades K-16,” said Manuel Gutierrez, director of the STARTALK Program and professor of Spanish linguistics at UH. “This is particularly significant in Texas where both the Chinese and Asian populations are the third highest nationwide, below only California and New York according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Due to the lack of qualified teachers in K-16 schools and colleges, instructors in Texas are frequently unable to offer Chinese courses despite the sustained demand for students and their parents.”

Gutierrez serves as director of the program officially known as “STARTALK Texas Teacher Program at the University of Houston.” The lead instructor will be professor Xiaohong (Sharon) Wen, director of the Chinese Studies Program.

Course work will focus on understanding the nature and process of learning Chinese as a second language, identifying crucial issues in Chinese foreign language pedagogy, and enhancing participants’ ability to develop appropriate teaching plans and materials.

“The Texas Teacher Program at UH fulfills three critical needs. First, the program provides a path to a career in Chinese education by combining a quality graduate course with an alternative certification process. It meets the requirements for obtaining a Chinese teacher certificate in Texas. Second, the program meets the requirements for teaching Chinese at Texas community colleges. To be a foreign language instructor in Texas community colleges, one must have a graduate degree with 18 hours in that language field. UH will offer the graduate course (CHNS: 6397 Issues in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language) to meet the requirement,” said Gutierrez. “Third, the University of Houston is the only institution in Texas that offers a master’s degree with a focus on teaching Chinese as a second language.”

The sessions will run from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. July 8-19 in 201 Agnes Arnold Hall and the Language Acquisition Center on the main UH campus. A follow-up class will be held from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Nov. 2. For more information, please visit http://www.uh.edu/class/mcl/chinese/startalk/index.php  

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About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 40,700 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country. For more information about UH, visit the university’s newsroom at http://www.uh.edu/news-events/