Federal grant will fund Chinese language instruction for teachers

Posted: Wednesday, 27 April 2011

TROY—Troy University will train K-12 teachers in Mandarin Chinese this summer thanks to a grant sponsored by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Troy University STARTALK is the first program of its kind to be offered in Alabama, and TROY houses the state’s only Confucius Institute.

“It’s also a significant step for the state to earn a grant that addresses a key deficiency,” he said. “Given Alabama’s increased association with China and Chinese business, it’s very appropriate.”

The $98,750 STARTALK grant will enable the Confucius Institute at Troy University to provide free intensive training of 100 instructional hours July 11 – 22 on the Troy Campus to 25 instructional supervisors, methods instructors and potential master teachers. Participants must hold an undergraduate degree and must be teaching in, or are seeking to teach in, a K-12 Mandarin Chinese program in Alabama, Louisiana or Tennessee.

“Our goal of the program is to develop a cadre of teachers of Mandarin with the dispositions, knowledge and skills needed to create and support a new generation of highly effective world language educators,” said Dr. Iris Xu, Director of the Confucius Institute and Asian Studies at TROY.

Dr. Xu said the program would help develop a professional learning community that could support program participants as they began classroom instruction.

“This training program is designed to solve the problem of a shortage of qualified and professionally trained Chinese language teachers in the region,” she said.

STARTALK was launched in 2007 as a summer language program for K-12 students and teachers with the goal to advance the national capacity in critical languages.