Arlington High welcomes new Mandarin teacher
As Arlington High School students enter a classroom hung with red-and-gold masks and a wall-length watercolor dragon, Xu Qiang greets them, “Ni hao.”
“Ni hao,” each responds, guessing the meaning: “Hello.”
Later, Xu locks himself out of the classroom and tells the laughing student who lets him in, “Xie xie.” He repeats the performance for one boy who doesn’t get it.
“Thank you,” the boy says, scribbling. He corrects himself: “Xie xie.”
In another lesson, Xu asks the class, “Tung xuemen hao?” (Students, good?). They answer, “Lao shi hao.” (Teacher, good.) Then Xu has them switch roles.
“You are my teachers, too,” Xu explains.
Recently an English teacher in Mianyang City, Sichuan, China, Xu — who also calls himself Oliver — is among two-dozen teachers selected from 700 applicants to teach Mandarin abroad through the federal Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP). It’s AHS’s third year offering Mandarin and second year hosting a TCLP teacher.
“I hope students come away with an understanding of Chinese culture, recognize the similarities we have with people from other countries and acknowledge and appreciate the kind of things they can offer to us,” said AHS Principal Maria Villano, who met AHS’s 2012 TCLP teacher, Bo Yu, in Washington, D.C. last summer. “To have a teacher fluent in another language bring that whole culture to share with us, gives us a better understanding and grasp of the language and people.”
Arlington Public Schools foreign language director Catherine Ritz, who picked up Xu in D.C. this summer, agreed.
“Oliver brings such an authentic perspective to the classroom, I think it’s mutually beneficial,” Ritz said. “He is learning a lot about our education system and our culture and we learn a lot of things from him, as I have already. Students are really getting a different perspective, which is enriching.”
Read more: Arlington High welcomes new Mandarin teacher - - The Arlington Advocate http://www.wickedlocal.com/arlington/news/x1903464575/Arlington-High-welcomes-new-Mandarin-teacher#ixzz26SaIoIAf
Xu Qiang teaching Mandarin Class at Arlington High School.