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STARTALK program comes to campus

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Chinese Studies Program awarded federal grant to do critical language instruction

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages has won national funding to instruct Texas teachers on designing and implementing Chinese-as-a-second-language curriculum.

The Chinese Studies Program within in the department was selected to by the National Security Agency and the Central Security Service to receive a federal grant of $99,980 to launch a 2012 Summer STARTALK program.

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

Manuel Gutiérrez, Professor of Spanish Linguistics, will serve as director of the program officially known as “STARTALK Texas Teacher Program at the University of Houston.” The lead instructor will be Associate Professor Xiao-Hong Sharon Wen, director of the Chinese Studies Program.

The course is open to teachers of Chinese in K-12 public and private schools, community colleges, and Chinese heritage schools in Texas. All participants must have an undergraduate degree.

Designed as a graduate course, the three credits earned in the program (described in university parlance as CHNS 6371: Teaching Chinese as a Second Language) may be applied to the Alternative Teacher Preparation Program or the Master of Arts in teaching Chinese, leading to Texas teacher certification in Chinese.

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

The session will run from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. July 9 – 20 in the Language Acquisition Center in Agnes Arnold Hall on the main campus. Follow-up classes will be held from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Oct. 13 and Nov. 3.

A registration fee of $200 is due after being accepted in the program, but that amount is refunded to participants upon successful completion of the entire program. Scholarships are available to cover tuition, fees and instructional materials, as well as, part of the room cost for Texas-based participants who do not live in the greater Houston area.

For more information and to apply, go to The deadline to apply is April 3, 2012.