STARTALK program focusing on Chinese language, culture kicks off at Troy University

Posted: Monday, 27 June 2016

TROY - High school students and language teachers from throughout the Southeast have embarked on a 15-day residential immersion in Chinese language and culture at Troy University through the University's STARTALK program.

Now in its sixth year at the Troy Campus, the STARTALK program began Sunday and will run through July 10. The program is supported through a $110,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, National Security Agency. The grant was secured by Dr. Rui Feng of TROY's College of Education in cooperation with Dr. Iris Hong Xu, professor of Chinese culture and language, and her team.

The 24 students taking part in the program will have the opportunity to participate in study abroad programs in China through the Center for International Languages and Cultures (CILC) at Troy University. In addition to the language studies, students will be exposed to Chinese culture through learning Chinese Kung Fu and Dragon and Lion dances, Fan and Umbrella dances, making Chinese-related arts and crafts, playing traditional games, cooking and writing calligraphy.

Aside from working with the students one-on-two to assist their learning of the Chinese language and culture, the 12 teacher participants will receive training in academic courses on second language acquisition theories, classroom management, curriculum development, planning teaching, textbook selection and evaluation, testing and assessment and Chinese cultural traditions. Teachers will undergo academic training and cultural immersion opportunities similar to the student workshop so that they will have a broader understanding of Chinese culture and thoughts when they return to their own classrooms.

The STARTALK program was launched nationally in 2006 with the goal to advance the nation's capacity in critical languages.