This fall, the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School (PVCICS) of Hadley, Massachusetts, presented some of its best practices in immersion education at two foreign language conferences: the annual conference of the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA), held in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, and the annual convention of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL), held in Denver, Colorado.
At the November ACTFL conference in Denver, Colorado, PVCICS Principal Kathleen Wang and PVCICS teachers Hsiu-wen Hsieh, Aiping Dong, Yu-Ju Tai, Su Lu, Yaching Hsu-Kelkis, and Wan Wang did two presentations, one entitled "Using the Arts to Build Chinese Proficiency: Examples from Immersion” and one entitled “Creating Chinese Thematic Units to Improve Proficiency: Examples from Immersion.”
During the arts and Chinese proficiency presentation, PVCICS faculty members presented practical strategies to build students’ Chinese proficiency, especially for abstract subjects and concepts. According to Ms. Hsieh, "Communicating abstract subjects and concepts in Chinese is especially challenging for students in an immersion environment. Abstract subjects are often packed with content making them more difficult for students to retain and effectively use.”
Explaining how PVCICS addresses that challenge, Ms. Wang said, “By integrating the arts into core subject curriculum, we create a full sensory environment to make learning more meaningful and personally connected to students’ lives. At this conference we were able to demonstrate how to do this in the classroom.”
During the workshop “Creating Chinese Thematic Units to Improve Proficiency: Examples from Immersion,” Ms. Lu, Ms. Hsu-Kelkis, and Ms. Wang shared their experiences creating content-based Chinese thematic units. According to Ms. Wang, “Thematic units can be taught using a variety of strategies in an immersion setting to increase students’ language proficiency and content knowledge. When we implement these methods, we promote both content and language proficiency.”
The Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School (PVCICS) is based in Hadley, Massachusetts and prepares K- 8th grade students for academic and personal success through rigorous study and instruction aligned with the state and federal government standards, augmented with Chinese language and culture. PVCICS's goals are to graduate students with excellent scholarship, high proficiency in Mandarin Chinese and English, plus sensitivity to multiple cultures. PVCICS serves the Pioneer Valley region.
For more information, please contact PVCICS at .