Chinese Culture and Public Speaking 5th grade and above
The Chinese Culture and Public Speaking class is a newly designed class at Newton Chinese Language School (NCLS). The goal of the class is to foster the learning of Chinese culture and public speaking skills in a dual-language classroom setting.The class expands horizons of traditional Chinese language schools, by focusing on China’s history and culture, rather than the Mandarin Chinese language alone. Since the class will be instructed in English, it is suitable for students that are not yet proficient in Chinese, including ones that do not speak Chinese at home. Naturally, students will be motivated to study Chinese the language to further their depth of learning as they advance the history, philosophy and other aspects of Chinese culture. As we observe in many Chinese language schools, parents are the primary motivator in young children’s studying of Chinese. However, as the students advance to higher grade, Chinese class registration rate starts to decline as students override their parents’ desire for more advance learning. This Culture class will give a reason for students to pursue deeper and wider Chinese language learning, by encouraging students to talk about Chinese culture in public speaking situations, in debates, and in classroom discussions. For young ethnic Chinese children growing up in the States, there are many challenges facing their racial and cultural identity: they identify culturally with mainstream USA, but the society often sees them in the ‘model minority’ stereotype, and the paradox of high expectations and low self-esteem often causes depression and other mental issues for 2nd and 3rd generation Chinese immigrants. It is the belief of this instructor, that the confidence derived from training in Chinese culture will go a long way in terms of improving the self-esteem of ethnic Chinese children. The class will be instructed in ‘Harkness Table’ style, and it will be yet another bold attempt among Chinese language schools. Originated from the Socratic Method, and widely used in many prestigious private schools in the US, the method is credited to nurture deeper learning, improving students’ confidence and communication skills.
Mr. Yang Li, the instructor for the Chinese Culture and Public Speaking class, immigrated to the US in the early 90’s. He received an MS degree in Computer Science from Vanderbilt University. Mr. Li has had a colorful experience in 20+ years in the US, from selling books door-to-door, to IT careers in various industry, to a selling career in the high-tech industry. Growing up in China, and well-read in his youth, Mr. Li has a solid foundation in Chinese history and culture, and along with communication and presentation skills honed in many years of professional selling, make Mr. Li an ideal candidate to teach the subject.