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Thread: Edmonton’s Best Kept Secret – Chinese Bilingual Program

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    Default Edmonton’s Best Kept Secret – Chinese Bilingual Program

    Edmonton’s Best Kept Secret – Chinese (Mandarin) Bilingual Program

    By Wei Wong

    Who would have believed 25 years ago that learning Chinese would take root and flourish in a Canadian prairie city, when cities like Toronto and Vancouver are the choice destinations for Chinese immigrants and have larger Chinese speaking populations.

    From relative obscurity in the early 1980s to a headline proclaiming the “Best Chinese Language Program” in 2006, Edmonton’s Chinese Bilingual Program has become a welcome and positive language learning experience for many families.

    What’s interesting is that our made-in-Edmonton Chinese Bilingual Program has attracted the attention of university researchers, educators, school boards and ministries across the globe. Other municipalities have attempted, but have not succeeded in duplicating this unique and comprehensive program.

    What is so unique about Edmonton’s Chinese Bilingual program?

    First, it is open to absolutely everyone – it has to be, it’s offered by Edmonton Public Schools, funded by tax dollars. Kindergarten and Grade 1 are the preferred entry levels.

    Accessible from anywhere in Edmonton, there are currently 12 sites: 5 elementary schools – Caernarvon, Dovercourt, Kildare, Meadowlark, Meyonohk; 4 junior high schools – Londonderry, Ottewell, Parkview, Rosslyn; and 3 high schools – McNally, ME LaZerte, and Ross Sheppard. Almost 2000 active learners today.

    English and Chinese (Mandarin) are the languages of instruction during the regular school day in elementary school. Parents and students are pleased that there is no need to attend after-school or weekends classes.

    Kindergarten classes are offered as half-days, alternating with a Chinese teacher for Mandarin, and a non-Chinese teacher for English. From Grade 1 to Grade 6, wherever possible, a Chinese teacher teaches subjects in Mandarin, and a non-Chinese teacher teaches subjects in English. This has proven to be the most effective.

    The Alberta curriculum is covered in two languages. Art, music, physical education are subjects easily taught in Chinese and lend themselves to teaching Chinese culture and sharing of customs and festivities in schools. When culture is shared with the greater community, it instills pride and self-esteem in students. At every one of our bilingual schools, students are more than willing to participate in civic events and perform for the broader community.

    In junior high and high school, an extension of the Chinese Bilingual Program is offered – basically an intermediate and advanced (I.B.) level.

    Where families might have otherwise been disinterested in Chinese culture, the Chinese Bilingual Program has been responsible for bringing generations together.

    Examinations to test proficiency against international standards have recently started at the elementary and junior high levels and the preliminary results are gratifying. Several Canadian-born students have accomplished their personal goals to become teachers of Mandarin. We are heartened and proud that a made-in-Edmonton program can and will supply future teachers to add to the strong foundation that has already been established here.

    Someone asked at the recent Chinese Language Education Forum “What’s going to benefit you more in life – what you learn in trigonometry or a second language?”

    Give your children a gift that will last a lifetime: give them the gift of language.

    For more details, www.ecbea.org


    Wei Wong
    Edmonton Chinese Bilingual Education Association
    Awards & Scholarship Committee

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    "Kindergarten classes are offered as half-days, alternating with a Chinese teacher for Mandarin, and a non-Chinese teacher for English. From Grade 1 to Grade 6, wherever possible, a Chinese teacher teaches subjects in Mandarin, and a non-Chinese teacher teaches subjects in English. This has proven to be the most effective. "

    my mom was the english side of this for many years now and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    a wonderful program indeed.
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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    The Chinese bilingual program is wonderful. It not only taught me literacy in Chinese, but also kept me in touch with my culture. It is a something that I will have with me forever and for this, I am grateful.

    It is definitely something to consider...even if you're not ethnically Chinese. I mean, what's the harm in learning another language and about a different culture, right?

    Furthermore, look at how much China is growing right now....

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO
    "Kindergarten classes are offered as half-days, alternating with a Chinese teacher for Mandarin, and a non-Chinese teacher for English. From Grade 1 to Grade 6, wherever possible, a Chinese teacher teaches subjects in Mandarin, and a non-Chinese teacher teaches subjects in English. This has proven to be the most effective. "

    my mom was the english side of this for many years now and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    a wonderful program indeed.
    Teachers of both English and Mandarin have contributed to the overall success and reputation of the Chinese Bilingual Program. There will be public events over the next 2 years showcasing Chinese bilingual students, and we hope teachers of both English and Mandarin, past and present, will join the festivities.

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    This program is perfect and a great way to possibly foster more Mandrin bi-lingual folks to help us as we move forward with Prince Rupert to China. Access to that market is crucial for us...
    Since calm logic doesn't work, I guess it is time to employ sarcasm. ...and before you call me an a-hole...remember, I am a Dick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS
    This program is perfect and a great way to possibly foster more Mandrin bi-lingual folks to help us as we move forward with Prince Rupert to China. Access to that market is crucial for us...
    Parents who are prepared to enrol their children in second languages are thinking ahead of the average Canadian family and most Canadian companies for that matter.

    With the changing demographics and economic shift, Mandarin Chinese would be a choice second language to learn.

    Edmonton’s Chinese (Mandarin) Bilingual Program is closing in on a quarter-century of experience. Right from the start, it was developed for Canadian children to succeed in learning Mandarin during regular school hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouse
    The Chinese bilingual program is wonderful. It not only taught me literacy in Chinese, but also kept me in touch with my culture. It is a something that I will have with me forever and for this, I am grateful.

    It is definitely something to consider...even if you're not ethnically Chinese. I mean, what's the harm in learning another language and about a different culture, right?

    Furthermore, look at how much China is growing right now....
    The program has continued to grow and is accessible from anywhere in the city.

    I'm curious to know which schools you attended, and did you find it always easy to get to school?

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    I'm curious to know which schools you attended, and did you find it always easy to get to school?
    I attended Londonderry Junior High and Ross Sheppard High School. I managed to pass the grade 7 Chinese proficiency exam and got placed into advanced Mandarin program -- my bilingual education proceeded from there.

    It was no trouble at all to get to school as I didn't live too far away from either locations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO
    "Kindergarten classes are offered as half-days, alternating with a Chinese teacher for Mandarin, and a non-Chinese teacher for English. From Grade 1 to Grade 6, wherever possible, a Chinese teacher teaches subjects in Mandarin, and a non-Chinese teacher teaches subjects in English. This has proven to be the most effective. "

    my mom was the english side of this for many years now and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    a wonderful program indeed.
    I've heard from many teachers that it is a delight to teach the English component. If you don't mind me asking, what school at what grade levels did/does your mom teach?

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    Quote Originally Posted by W Wong
    Quote Originally Posted by IanO
    "Kindergarten classes are offered as half-days, alternating with a Chinese teacher for Mandarin, and a non-Chinese teacher for English. From Grade 1 to Grade 6, wherever possible, a Chinese teacher teaches subjects in Mandarin, and a non-Chinese teacher teaches subjects in English. This has proven to be the most effective. "

    my mom was the english side of this for many years now and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    a wonderful program indeed.
    I've heard from many teachers that it is a delight to teach the English component. If you don't mind me asking, what school at what grade levels did/does your mom teach?
    canaervan (sp?) kindergarten.
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouse
    even if you're not ethnically Chinese. I mean, what's the harm in learning another language and about a different culture, right?

    Furthermore, look at how much China is growing right now....
    Why learn another language? Check this out

    Advantage for Life: Learning another language

    http://www.ucalgary.ca/lrc/AdvantageForLife.htm

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    Thanks for the link W Wong.

    As a parent of a child in the chinese (mandarin) bilingual program, I am indebted to the parents who help created and maintain the program. Their hard work created the foundation where it is now the best. Thank you!!!

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    After we celebrate Chinese New Year in February, Edmonton's first Mandarin Bilingual Literary Festival will be held at the Royal Alberta Museum on February 24. with participants from all grade levels.

    This event will highlight the skills of our students in both Mandarin and English.

    Mark your calendar!

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    When I started grade 7 at Londonderry Junior High School, I had the option of studying either French or Mandarin. I picked Mandarin because i felt it would help me more in my future. And it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The teachers were great and not only did I learn the language but also the Chinese culture. One of the benefits I had from taking this program was a trip to China. It was an experience that I will never forget and has helped me in my current position of teaching english to students from China.

    I also took the Mandarin program in Victoria for my Grade 12 year. It was clear to me that Edmonton's Chinese Bilingual program was more comprehensive and more capable of teaching Mandarin to those who lack a background in it.

    I would encourage everyone who is thinking about taking a second language to seriously consider Edmonton's Chinese bilingual program. You won't regret it.

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    Almost every one of our Chinese Bilingual junior high and senior high schools organize trips to various areas of China every year.

    irh, you'll be happy to know that Londonderry Junior High School is now twinned with #57 Middle School in Beijing and there have been student exchanges over the past couple of years. Students from Beijing have stayed with host families in Edmonton while attending regular classes at Londonderry for a few weeks at a time. Outside of school, they are treated as a member of the family and do everything with their hosts. The school treated the last group with a trip to the Rockies.

    Likewise, Londonderry students have been hosted in Beijing as well - a fantastic learning experience of a lifetime.

    A 25th Anniversary Commemorative Book is being published to celebrate the successes of Edmonton's Chinese Bilingual Program - many students have shared experiences like yours - it'll make a compelling read.

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    The announcement by Denis Herard, Alberta Minister of Advanced Education (Edmonton Journal 10 November 2006) with regards to the Alexander Rutherford high school achievement scholarships is a welcome change to the many students who are learning languages such as Chinese (Mandarin). Learning other languages well is no less an achievement than learning physics or chemistry.

    Only now, Grade 12 students can start using their marks in Mandarin as one of the designated subjects to qualify for the Rutherford scholarships.

    The government is right in trying to foster a diversity of talents to maximize creativity and productivity. The question is “Why has it taken so long?”

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    Can I be sarcastic and say "It's Alberta?"
    Since calm logic doesn't work, I guess it is time to employ sarcasm. ...and before you call me an a-hole...remember, I am a Dick.

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    Mayor Mandel is in China visiting Chengdu and Beijing this week. I hope he continues to raise the awareness of his hosts by telling them that many Edmonton students are serious about learning Mandarin to enhance our communications with people, businesses, educational institutions and governments in China.

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    My brother is serious about learning Mandarin so he went to China to teach English, and learn Mandarin on the side. It's great to see Mandarin being taught in Edmonton though.

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    Default Edmonton's Chinese community making a Capital Statement

    Edmonton's Chinese community making a Capital Statement

    JOELLE TOMEK
    Examiner Staff, July 18, 2007


    A group of local volunteers won’t let anything rain on their parade.

    Members of Edmonton’s Chinese community are pooling their time and creative juices to build an elaborate display for Capital Ex.

    With a non-profit budget and no float-building experience, the team started from scratch to create their 60-foot parade entry.

    About 30 Chinese elders will take turns carrying a 16-foot wide banner, followed by ribbon dancers, lion dancers and children carrying signs representing Edmonton’s 12 Chinese bilingual schools.

    “We always let the elders lead in Asian culture,” says Peter Wong, president of the Edmonton Chinese Bilingual Education Association (ECBEA), one of the groups featured on the float.

    Volunteers range in age from preschool to more than 80 years old. The youngest children will sit around the float’s focal point, a bright inflatable dragon on a trailer surrounded by balloons.


    Led by the local Chinese Benevolent Association, Edmonton’s Chinese community contributes a float to the parade every second year. The city has about 40 Chinese cultural groups, which take turns sharing the spotlight. This year, the ECBEA and Assist Community Services Centre were chosen because the ECBEA is celebrating its 25th anniversary and Assist is turning 30.

    The groups have spent the past five months designing the float, practising dance routines and raising money for the project. And volunteers will be working right up to parade day on July 19 to put it together.

    “We picked up the dragon just a couple days ago,” says Stephen Tsang, chair of the 25th anniversary committee.

    Last weekend the group braved 30 C-plus mercury to build a frame around the trailer that will hold the dragon.

    The original plan was for two dragons representing ECBA and Assist to wrap around a giant globe, but the cost estimate came in about $52,000 over their $8,000 budget. Even with a simplified design, the final tab was about $15,000.

    Tsang hopes the colourful display will pique interest in the bilingual program outside the Chinese community.

    “I purposely choose mainstream venues to run functions rather than always putting (them) into China Town,” says Tsang, who has organized 25th anniversary celebrations all over the city, including events at the Royal Alberta Museum and West Edmonton Mall.

    With locations throughout Edmonton, the program is the largest program of its kind in North America, training students in English and Mandarin, the most common language on mainland China.

    The project is also designed to boost awareness of Assist, which helps Chinese immigrants adjust to life in Canada.

    About 120 volunteers are working on the float but ECBEA past president John Yee, says many others offered behind-the-scenes help. More than 50 local groups chipped in to support the project.

    “The whole community’s involved in one way or the other,” Yee says.

    - [email protected]

    -30-

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    I understand that a China sponsored (funded) language program is displacing many local programs (locally paid for) and that not everyone is happy about that loss of local control and diversity to what is perceived as a monopolizing force. But the monied crowd wins every time. I.e. We sponsor, we provide the books and materials, you pay less, how can you not adopt our program?

    Can anyone clarify this situation?
    Last edited by KC; 18-08-2012 at 09:44 PM.

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