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Local Educator Among 400 to Visit China for Language Program Orientation

Sue Murphy to Participate in One Week Program to Support Local Education

June 23, 2006       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Sue Murphy to take one-week educational tour to learn about Chinese culture and language

Bay City Schools administrator Sue Murphy is among 400 educators heading for China for a one-week educational tour to learn about Chinese culture and language as part of an effort to build and expand Chinese language programs in U.S. schools.

The event will allow educators to experience China firsthand, learn about the culture and the dramatic pace of change under way in the world's most populated nation.

The trip, June 27 - July 5, is sponsored by Hanban, China's Office of Chinese Language Council International, in partnership with the College Board, the Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools (CLASS), and the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL).

Ms. Murphy is Director of the Bay City Public Schools Gifted and Talented Program, and is in charge of Professional Development, Special Projects and Elementary Support.

Besides cultural enrichment, this tour is aimed at providing incentives and strategies for the educators to support the growth of Chinese programs in their own schools and districts.

"We appreciate the support of Hanban, which will enable more American students to learn the Chinese language, discover the vibrant culture of China, and participate more fully in the cultural exchange between our two countries," said College Board President Gaston Caperton, adding:

"More than 200 million children in China are studying English, yet only 24,000 children in the United States are studying Chinese. In addition, China's tremendous economic growth will create new opportunities and challenges for our country. It's time that we offer a twenty-first-century choice to our students."

Educators will meet with Chinese education leaders, build sister school and city ties, and network with other U.S. school leaders who are bringing Chinese language programs to their districts and schools.

Delegates will visit Beijing from June 27 - July 1, and will travel in small groups to other cities and provinces to meet with local education commissions from July 2 - 5.

Ms. Murphy said: "I'm very excited to be given this opportunity to travel to China, Beijing and Inner Mongolia, in particular, because it will connect very closely with our district's new International Chinese Immersion preschool and also with our district's vision to offer Chinese as part of our K-12 foreign language program offerings."

In an Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) survey in 2004, nearly 2,400 high schools expressed an interest in offering the AP Chinese course in 2006-07, but many schools either are understaffed or have no teacher of Chinese, and see no prospect of finding the teachers necessary to build their programs. This increasingly common predicament underscores the critical shortage of qualified teachers of Chinese in the United States. According to the Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools, there are currently only about 250 Chinese language teachers in U.S. secondary schools.

In April 2006, the College Board and Hanban announced a partnership to build and expand Chinese language programs in U.S. schools. In addition to educational tours, the partnership plans other programs to help educators create or grow Chinese language and culture programs in their districts.

Over the next three years 250 guest teachers from China will be placed in American classrooms. The plan will also enable the College Board to support nearly 300 American teacher candidates in their efforts to attain state certification to teach Chinese.

This summer, 60 American teachers of Chinese will benefit from intensive, three-week Summer Institutes to be hald at Beijing Normal University and Shanghai International Studies University. These programs will expand to include greater numbers of teachers and will involve cities beyond Beijing and Shanghai in the coming years. In all, nearly 600 current and aspiring American teachers of Chinese will have access to these programs over the next five years.

Established by the Chinese government in 1987, Hanban is the nation's official agency authorized to promote Chinese language and culture internationally, fulfilling a function similar to that of the UK's British Council and France's Alliance Française.

For more information contact Suzanne Murphy, Bay City Public Schools at 989/671.8180 or via email to

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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