Utah state leads in Chinese language learning in U.S.

[Source]    Xinhua [Time]    2018-05-21 10:05:15 
 

Over 20 percent of American students who are learning Chinese live in the state of Utah, a local official said here Thursday.

The state still needs to do more to enhance Chinese language education, Utah State Governor Gary Herbert said at the opening ceremony of the 11th National Chinese Language Conference in Salt Lake City.

Chinese language and culture learning is an important way to build trust between the two countries, Herbert told more than 1,300 attendees at the largest annual gathering of Chinese language education practitioners in the United States.

State National Education Coordinator Howard A. Stephenson concurred. Stephenson said that it is necessary for American students to be bilingual "in order to compete and cooperate with China."

"Never in the history of the U.S. has it been more important to communicate clearly with China," said Stephenson, a veteran Senator.

"At this time we should be making every effort to increase access to Chinese language learning for all U.S. students," he said.

Stephenson shared his son's story. His son has studied Chinese for 10 years, saying Chinese language not only increased his intellect, confidence and employability, but also his compassion and empathy.

Stephenson paid respect to local teachers' dedication and assistance from the Confucius Institute, saying the teachers provided by Han Ban are crucial to the success of immersion language programs in the state.

He told Xinhua that the immersion programs are a technique used in bilingual language education in which two languages, both English and Chinese, are used for instruction in a variety of topics, including math, science, or social studies.

"I have complete confidence in Han Ban teachers, and am impressed with how committed they are to teaching Utah's math and science curriculum with full fidelity," he said.

Zhao Guocheng, deputy chief executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Han Ban) and executive deputy director-general of Han Ban, said Utah is a leading state in English-Chinese language immersion with over 10,000 students taking part in the program at present.

"The Chinese language teaching has gained great momentum from the increasing demand across the U.S. during the past decade," he said. "My colleagues and I are so happy and proud to be able to work together with communities across the U.S. to increase access to learning Chinese language and culture."

The three-day annual meeting is centered around the theme "From Classroom to Careers," showing how a strong foundation in Chinese language can translate into academic and professional success.

(SALT LAKE CITY, the United States, May 17 Xinhua)

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