Hamilton Awarded STARTALK Grant for Chinese Language Instruction Programs

Hong Gang Jin
Hong Gang Jin

For the third year, Hamilton College is the recipient of STARTALK funding to operate two programs for Chinese language this summer—a Chinese teacher development program and a week-long intensive learning Chinese immersion course for students in grades 8 and 9.  This year’s grant of $125,000 will fund the ACC-STARTALK Teacher Program for non-native K-12 Chinese Teachers and ACC-STARTALK Youth Camp for Utica BOCES students on the Hamilton campus July 1 through 14.

The grant proposal was submitted to STARTALK by William R. Kenan Professor of East Asian Languages and Literature Hong Gang Jin and Associate Director of Foundation, Corporate and Government Relations Amy Lindner. Jin is the Hamilton STARTALK program director.


STARTALK’s teacher program offers advanced Chinese language courses and pedagogical workshops to K-12 teachers from all over the U.S. The Youth Program not only functions as a hands-on teaching opportunity for teacher participants, but also provides opportunities for 16 local students to enjoy face-to-face interaction with teachers on campus and with native teachers in ACC in Beijing via Skype.


According to the grant proposal, the Chinese Summer Immersion Program for Central New York Students aims to provide a highly-rewarding summer immersion experience for 16 8th and 9th grade students who have taken at least two years of Chinese language through their local Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). By the end of the program, students will be able to engage in simple conversations with native Chinese speakers, read simple email messages in Chinese, and write and present a group project on topics of family, school, restaurants and animals in simple Chinese.


The two-week teacher development program at Hamilton is for 12 non-native Chinese teachers and will work specifically on six content areas of teaching: Standards-based instruction, thematic unit design, teaching in target language, providing comprehensive input, task-based language instruction and assessment, and technology use in a language class.


The workshop is being offered by Hamilton in conjunction with Associated Colleges in China (ACC), an educational consortium of more than 50 colleges and universities administered by Hamilton and hosted by Minzu University of China, and Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools (CLASS) a preeminent organization for secondary and elementary-level teachers of Chinese.


STARTALK, now in its sixth year, is an initiative to expand and improve the teaching of strategically important foreign languages that are not widely taught in the United States. It is a component program of the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI), which is jointly operated by the Secretaries of Defense, State, and Education, and the Director of National Intelligence.


STARTALK offers dozens of summer programs around the country for students and teachers of Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Urdu, Swahili, Persian, Russian and Hindi.


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