USF Hosted the First Florida K-12 Chinese Conference with Success
February 22, 2011

On February 18, 2011, nearly one hundred school administrators and Chinese language teachers from across Florida attended the first statewide conference on K-12 Chinese. The conference was designed to foster a state network for K-12 Chinese programs to share teaching/learning resources and provide professional development for teachers. Based on initial feedback from the participants, the conference provided much needed information to both administrators and Chinese language teachers. They are looking forward to follow-up networking activities and future annual events.

USF gave special attention to this conference. President Genshaft, Provost Wilcox, and Senior Vice President Holbrook delivered welcome remarks. Special guests of honor who gave welcome speeches were Education Consul Dr. YAN Guohua of the Chinese Consulate General in Houston and Ms. Lori Rodriguez, Bureau Chief of Student Achievement through Language Acquisition, Florida Department of Education.

The morning General Session included two keynote speakers: Chris Livaccari (Asia Society) who spoke on “The Challenge of Global Competence and Chinese Language Learning,” and Dr. Yu-Lan Lin (CLASS) who spoke on “Advancing the Chinese Language Field in the 21st Century.” The afternoon break-out sessions were focused on teacher development (by Dr. Eric Shepherd and Yu-Lan Lin) and resources for school administrators (by Chris Livaccari and Kun Shi). More than forty teachers were glued to Dr. Shepherd’s presentation on “Learning Chinese: Doing Globally” (a pedagogy of Learning in the Culture). They expressed a great interest in Dr. Shepherd’s teaching method and want to learn more from him in the future.

During the day, a ceremony was conducted to unveil the first Confucius Classroom in Florida at Thurgood Marshall Middle School of the Pinellas County Schools. The USF Confucius Institute plans to build more Confucius Classrooms in the Tampa Bay area in the near future.

As the conference ended at 3:00pm, there wereperformances by Dr. Shepherd’s students and several professional artists. The three students (Tina Danh, Jessica Church, and Marsha Louis) are in their first to third year of learning Chinese as a minor, but their excellent language and performing skills deeply impressed the audience. The professional artists are Ms. Zixuan Xie (acrobatics), Mr. Nan Zhang (face-changing), Mr. Wensheng Yang (Mongolian song), Prof. Honglu He (erhu), and Ms. Jianghua Zou (pipa).

This statewide conference was hosted by the USF Confucius Institute, and the co-sponsors included Miami Dade College Confucius Institute, USF World, USF College of Education, USF Department of World Languages, Florida Department of Education, and Florida Chinese Language teachers Association.

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(Report and photos by USF Confucius Institute)