Teaching LCTLs in K-12 Schools: Case Studies from Chinese Teachers

Project Directors: Wenhao Diao (University of Arizona), Yang Xiao-Desai (San Francisco State University), and Yi Xu (University of Pittsburgh)

The 2017 National K-16 Foreign Language Enrollment Survey Report includes data that show net growth in high school programs across almost all languages; but predicts the greatest increases in LCTLs, such as Portuguese, Korean, Persian, Arabic, and Chinese. Growing pains are felt all around and it has become quite evident that LCTL teachers are in short supply and that language teacher preparation programs in the US are not adequately preparing these teachers for the classroom. The latter is due in part to a dearth of research focusing on FL education in K-12 contexts (Urlaub & Watzinger-Tharp, 2016) but also to the fact that K-12 language teacher preparation programs do not address the specific linguistic and cultural issues of LCTLs like Chinese which is the most studied language in the K-12 context at this time and the focus of this study.

To address these issues, the Teaching LCTLs in K-12 Schools project will:

  • Survey K-12 Chinese language teachers nationally in different school contexts to expand on recent research to create a composite image of typical experiences, perspectives, and practices and conduct case studies of two focal sites (Northern California and Southern Arizona) with very different Chinese presence;
  • Develop a handbook for LCTL teachers consisting of case analyses of real classroom scenarios and toolkits for teachers, including general best practices and scenario-based strategies;
  • Present a professional development workshop to guide educators in implementing the toolkits demonstrated in the handbook.
  • In addition, one of CERCLL’s Professional Learning Online Network Spaces (PLONS) will focus upon this project, providing a place for educators to share classroom activities, ideas and issues that have emerged from discussions in this project.

Materials are forthcoming, and will be available as a resource on CERCLL’s website.