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The STARTALK Texas Teacher Program at the University of Houston

The Chinese Studies Program, MCL, CLASS, UH

StarTalk is a federal grant for the National Security Language Initiative of critical languages

Dates: July 9-20 (8:30-3:30) 2012, plus follow-up sessions, 9:00-2:00 Oct. 13 & Nov. 3, 2012.

Location: Language Acquisition Center, 311AH, University of Houston, Main Campus.

Application Deadline: Tuesday,  April 3, 2012. Only 20 seats are available. Download the application

Along with their other application materials, applicants should include a one-page essay in English, that describes:

  1. What do you hope to achieve by the end of the program?
  2. What project do you plan to develop to share with other teachers. The projects may include a standards-based curriculum design with theme-based units, daily lesson plans, curriculum materials tailored to their own students, or a course syllabus with instructional and assessment samples.   

Who can participate?

  • Participants must hold an undergraduate degree.
  • Teachers of Chinese in K-12 public and private schools, community colleges, and Chinese heritage schools in Texas.
  • Out-of-state teachers who pay for their own transportation to Houston and room cost are also welcome to apply.

What is the cost?

  • Zero for participants who fulfill the course requirements and successfully complete the entire program. Scholarships are offered to cover tuition & fees, instructional materials, and part of the housing cost for non-local participants.
  • Awards ($400) are available for participants who produce a good quality program project and are willing to share with the public. The best practices will be posted on our post-program website: STARTALK Texas Chinese Language and Culture Resources at UH for interested teachers.
  • The registration fee ($200) is due after being accepted to the program. The fee, however, will be refunded to the participants upon successful completion of the entire program.
  • The participants will receive a certificate for their successful completion of the entire program.

What is the program?

  • A 3-credit graduate course (CHNS 6371: Teaching Chinese as a Second Language) which may be applied towards the Alternative Teacher Preparation Program or the Master of Arts in teaching Chinese, leading to Texas teacher certification in Chinese.
  • Participants will work on curriculum design, materials, and instructional development during the program. Participants will develop an understanding of the nature and process of learning Chinese as a foreign language, identify critical issues in Chinese foreign language pedagogy, and enhance their ability to develop appropriate teaching plans and materials.
  • Each participant will develop a program project based on his/her teaching needs, implement the project when returning to school in fall, evaluate it in actual teaching, and report the results to the class in follow-up sessions.
  • There is an online post-program center that uses materials created by the participants, which include standards-based curriculum with theme-based units, daily lesson plans, curriculum materials tailored to particular student groups, and the course syllabus with instructional and assessment samples, videos, presentations, teaching points and cultural resources.
  • This intensive program consists of 70 contact hours: July 9 – July 20, 8:30-3:30, and two follow-up on the spot and on line sessions, 9:00-2:00, Oct.13 and Nov.3, 2012. 

What is the curriculum?

  • Conceptualize the National Standards; apply the standards to theme-/content-based curriculum design and learner-centered instruction. See the national Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (on the web at
  • Discuss SLA theories via examination of critical issues such as learning processes, comprehensible input, interactive learning, and task-based instruction.
  • Examine Pedagogical Grammar such as tones, characters, sentence structures, pragmatics and culture.
  • Hands-on experience and microteaching. Use the national standards and teaching principles to evaluate sample teaching plans and curriculum materials. Develop curriculum and/or  instructional projects for your students.
  • Conduct performance-based assessments with a focus on "what students can do with language" rather than "what they know about language." 

What are the program activities?

  • The curriculum and instructions are designed to appeal to different learners. Through lectures, observations, hands-on activities, presentations, and collaborative learning, participants construct their knowledge in a learner-centered environment, and develop their capacity to become master teachers.
  • The participants will first evaluate existing curriculum materials and instructional plans, and report their assessments. 
  • They will then design a standards-based curriculum with theme-based units, including daily lesson plans, curriculum materials tailored to their own students, or the course syllabus with instructional and assessment samples.
  • The projects will include curriculum goals for theme units, objectives for each lesson, and instructional focus for each class activity, with formative / summative assessments integrated throughout the process.
  • The projects developed will be learner-centered and task-based, helping students develop communicative competence, cognitive skills, and learning strategies.