According to the College Board and Asia Society, the number of American K-12 students studying Mandarin Chinese has quadrupled from 50,000 to nearly 200,000 between 2007 and 2012. This is a huge leap in comparison to the year 2000 when there were only 5,000 American K-12 students taking Mandarin. From students to business executives and high-end retailers all over the world, people on Wall Street, Main Street, and Sesame Street suddenly want to learn Mandarin Chinese. Why this sudden boom in Mandarin Chinese? Is this interest in learning Mandarin Chinese here to stay or will it recede as did interest in Japanese during the 1980s?

If Mandarin is arguably one of the hardest languages to learn, are there any methods available that can make the learning process more affordable and easier, an equitable learning experience for all students? These are questions that educators around the world are being confronted with as the popularity of Chinese explodes. If the number of students interested in learning Chinese continues to grow exponentially, then our education system indeed has a great need for a cost- effective, convenient, and proven method that can allow schools to keep up with this Chinese language boom.

Over the past decade, parents and educators have started to realize that our children should begin to harness a more productive relationship with China than we have in the past. The well-being of the United States and China is now deeply intertwined, and our nation’s leaders recognize China as America’s most important partner. As a dominant economic power in the world, China’s economic prowess continues to grow year-after-year. Economists and business elites are predicting China will become the world’s economic leader within the next fifteen years (Committee of 100, 2012 US-China Public Perceptions Survey). Both countries need each other more than ever to resolve global and economic challenges. In May 2010, the U.S. government formally recognized the importance of Mandarin Chinese and China as a growing international business power by launching the “100,000 Strong Initiative.” This program is a call for public- private partnerships to facilitate 100,000 American students learning Mandarin in China by 2014. The crux of this initiative is to instill an interest in China and its culture among American students.

From the looks of it, Mandarin Chinese is here to stay for the long haul. Our world is now more interconnected than ever, and technology has made the world a smaller place. Children are growing up to compete in a global economy that is fueled and in many ways dominated by China. In 2011, Bloomberg Business & Financial News identified “Mandarin Chinese as the most useful business language worldwide after English.” Over 845 million people speak Mandarin, and 20% of the world’s population lives in China. Mandarin is already an official language of the World Bank and World Health Organization. Learning Mandarin has become essential for success in the international job market, particularly in Asia. An August 2009 New York Times article states, “China is becoming a new land of opportunity and employment haven for recent American college graduates.” In order to prepare students to compete in a globalized world, students will need to be able to interact with their counterparts in China on an equal footing. When a school adds Chinese to its curriculum, it is making the right decision for its students. There is an obvious link between education and economic development, and an absolute connection between academic achievement and workforce development. In order for students to become competitive players in today’s global workforce, it is imperative to become multilingual and multicultural. The NAFSA (the Association of International Educators) points out that 20% of US jobs depend on international trade and that trade depends, in some measure, on cultural understanding. Therefore, becoming bilingual is no longer something our students should just do for fun or as a hobby. Speakers of Chinese have an enormous advantage over their competition when applying to college, or seeking jobs and opportunities in today’s global Outside of economics, employment, and the business world, China has the oldest continuous culture and longest recorded history of over 5000 years. Chinese cultural influence in the world has historically been immense and is now experiencing a great revival. To fully understand the rich heritage and nuances of ancient and modern China, droves of students are flocking to schools that offer Mandarin Chinese and culture classes. This explosion of interest that is taking place in the classroom has caused public and private schools alike to seek out Mandarin Chinese instructors, even in the midst of budget cuts. On the one hand, the great demand for Chinese exists; on the other, limited budgets often restrict schools from acquiring the teachers and materials they need. Many school systems are just getting by and cannot justify hiring new instructors with full-time benefits as many educators are being dismissed to meet budget restraints. Likewise, private schools have a hard time justifying tuition increases. The budget crunch combined with many schools’ limited exposure to the options available for teaching Mandarin Chinese have prevented them from providing students with the opportunity to learn how to forge meaningful relationships with China.

However, from Alaska to Florida, and California to New York, one highly-praised education vendor is giving schools with limited resources hope with its engaging, tested and proven, low-cost solution for teaching Chinese to students of all ages and faculty members alike: Mando Mandarin Online Chinese School. Mando Mandarin is changing the way schools are teaching Mandarin Chinese. Founded in 2007 as an online tutoring agency offering 1-on- 1 lessons, Mando Mandarin has grown to become a premier provider of synchronous distance- learning courses to elementary, middle, and high schools across America. Distinguishing itself from language software programs or other online vendors, Mando Mandarin connects students and classrooms to its live teachers who are located in China, providing students with the ability to interact with real, native Mandarin instructors Lessons are taught in real-time as students log-in to online classrooms and use webcams and headsets to communicate with their peers and teachers. Mando Mandarin’s unique methodology and personable teachers provide a very engaging approach and easy gateway into the language, making it much less intimidating to learn. Instructors place a strong initial focus on pronunciation, and utilize a modern and fast system for teaching new grammar and vocabulary.

All lessons are recorded which allows Mando Mandarin staff to provide school administrators, teachers, parents, and students with valuable feedback about each individual student’s progress. Students are invited and always have access to view all lesson recordings, so learners never fall behind, even if they must miss classes. During class, students can turn on their cameras, raise their hands, draw Chinese characters on the whiteboard, collaborate with other students, or send Chinese text instant messages to the teacher. Important dates, announcements, class materials, homework assignments, quizzes and exams are shared or distributed using email or Mando Mandarin’s web-based Learning Management System.

The Scenic Heights Elementary School, an Chinese-immersion public school in Minnetonka, MN, is bringing Mando Mandarin back to its school for a third consecutive year. While the school already has Chinese teachers on-site , they have also hired Mando Mandarin to complement and enhance their existing Chinese courses. According to their Principal Joe Wacker, “Mando Mandarin has been great. The kids are excited, they love the homework, and they love the teachers. It’s been so successful that our Spanish teachers wish they had something like this for Spanish. I’m overly-pleased about it. The main thing is that the kids are really happy about it. One of the kids even wrote a letter to The Minnetonka School Board to thank us for how much Mando Mandarin has done for him. I’ve been thrilled with what [Mando Mandarin] has done. Next year we will have more students who will take Mando Mandarin classes.“

Mando Mandarin allows client schools, depending on their budgetary and scheduling restrictions, to choose from several different course options ranging from full intensive (five days per week) academic curricula, or short-term verbal (communicative) enrichment-based classes. Communicative means the classes focus on language that is used on a day-to-day basis for practical or business purposes. The communicative methodology applies a very practical approach to learning and is geared towards learners who just want the bare basics, to speak and understand basic Mandarin. After just ten hours, students will be able to begin expressing themselves using Mandarin using small-talk or in brief conversations. Classes begin with pinyin (the phonetic transcription of Chinese words, a system using Roman alphabetic letters to represent Chinese characters as syllables that makes learning to pronounce Chinese words much easier) and basic, commonly used phrases in what is commonly called “survival Mandarin.”

The academic approach is an in-depth study of Chinese which takes a closer look at grammar rules, cultural significance of the language, nuances of the Chinese language and is  typically for schools who want its students to prepare for standardized exams or reach very high levels of proficiency in speaking and writing. At the end of just the first ten hours of Mando Mandarin lessons, students are expected to have learned at a minimum: Pinyin and the four different Chinese tones the basic foundation of the Chinese pronunciation and writing system Chinese cultural references. Chinese history and traditional and modern culture ask for directions, traveling in a taxi order food and drinks numbers, money, time and dates other useful phrases, customized according to what the students want to learn Type and write some Chinese characters Mando Mandarin courses also do provide formative and summative assessments, assignments and projects, and feedback on students’ progress. Mando Mandarin’s methodology utilizes an “East meets West” approach which has combined TCFL (Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language) perspectives from the top Chinese universities and American universities and experts. Teaching strategies and materials are formulated and continuously improved by our Education Directors who have a combined Chinese teaching experience of over 30 years. As an American-born Chinese student of Mandarin myself, I could barely speak the language when I was a child. I also knew how hard it was to learn Chinese from an American’s point of view. After years of schooling when I finished my studies at New York University, I realized it was in my best interest to get in touch with my roots, become a better Mandarin speaker, and see what opportunities were available in the world’s fastest growing country. So, in 2007 I moved to Shanghai to find the best way to learn Chinese. I interviewed over 30 different schools, and tried many programs. Eventually, I met a group of teachers who really impressed me with their varying approaches to teaching Chinese; each had a tremendous track record for successfully teaching thousands of students. I brought these teachers together to share their knowledge and resources amongst each other, to create a new, 21st century approach to teaching Chinese for the future. Together, we formed Mando Mandarin.

My personal mission in life is helping to preserve balance and a prosperous, peaceful relationship between the United States, China, and the rest of the world. Mando Mandarin’s vision is to bring people together and create mutually beneficial relationships by building bridges of understanding and opening channels of communication, by connecting people through Chinese language and culture. Now, more than ever, we need to inspire children to become future ambassadors of cultural awareness. Therefore, Mando Mandarin is about more than just teaching language. At its core, it’s really about bringing people together and creating relationships on a grassroots level. Mando Mandarin’s track record has proven that we offer one of the most effective and economical ways for schools to offer their students to learn this essential language. Hiring a teacher to teach Mandarin Chinese could cost some schools upwards of $45,000 per year. Schools can now hire Mando Mandarin teachers for less than 20% of that amount. We also offer free demo lessons that are designed to reveal some of our best practices and teaching methods, provide client references and transparency, and answer any questions your school may have. For more information about how we teach, pricing, or free demo lessons, please email us support@mandomandarin.com.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mike Cheng is the Founder and President of Mando Mandarin, the #1 Online Chinese School for all ages and levels (www.mandomandarin.com). He is a pioneering American educator who has connected schools and students around the world to teachers who are physically located in China. Mike regularly travels between New York and China while building a Sino-American education and business network. He believes the world needs more unofficial ambassadors of socio-cultural exchange between nations –those who can build bridges of peace and eradicate barriers to understanding. Mike has been seen in USA Today, Yahoo!Finance, Morningstar, CNBC, The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, Los Angeles Daily News and MarketWatch, among many others. He has also been invited as a speaker at American Express and NYU Steinhardt Graduate School of Education. He currently lives in Flushing, NY where he has an interest in politics and aspires to become a community leader. His hobbies are hanging out with his bearded-collie, traveling, learning foreign languages, martial arts, and basketball.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Mike Cheng, Founder and President
Phone: (888) 516-2636
Email: mike@mandomandarin.com

Los Angeles Public School Students Learn Chinese from Real, Live Teachers in Shanghai, China

LOS ANGELES, Ca. (June 25, 2010)— At Florence Nightingale Middle School, a public school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, sixth-graders are getting a head start on their foreign language skills by participating in a Chinese language program facilitated by Mando Mandarin Online Chinese School. Mando Mandarin specializes in teaching Chinese to students of all ages in a fun and relaxed environment. The classes utilize a synchronous distance-learning platform, which means that students in the USA are taught in real-time in a virtual-classroom setting by live native Chinese teachers who are located in Shanghai, China.

“Most schools don’t teach foreign language courses until high school, which is a shame because the students’ curiosity and desire to learn is there now. Our students are eager to learn and are capable of learning a language that’s very empowering to them,” said Robert Elsinger, Nightingale Middle School teacher.

Mandarin is currently the most widely spoken foreign language in the world. The course at Nightingale Middle School is the first of its kind offered at the school and aims to give students the knowledge to thrive in an evermore diverse and global economy.

Mando Mandarin’s President and Founder Mike Cheng reiterated, “Today, it is imperative not only to expose students to the language and culture of rising China, which will soon surpass Japan as the world’s 2nd largest economy – but also to give them the experience of communicating in a distance-learning setting. Global business is increasingly conducted online through worldwide virtual teams. We allow students at a young age to enjoy learning the language of the future using a 21st century approach. Our program teaches skills that give them a competitive edge which lasts a lifetime.”

Through Mando Mandarin Online Chinese School, students are encouraged to practice basic conversations in Mandarin without boring repetitions using a unique learning method. Using the Mando Method, which has summarized over 100 Chinese grammar rules and sentence structures using mnemonics, students learn faster than when using traditional methods. They are also taught Chinese history, traditions and modern culture through stories, videos and assignments that are emailed to them after each session. Mando Mandarin teaches both customized lessons for enrichment-based learning as well as standardized, accredited courses. The length of each lesson is tailored to meet the schedule of each individual school.

The interactive, lively nature of the program allows students to learn Chinese with less effort and in a shorter period of time, in a very exciting and engaging way. Students work from computer stations and are able to raise their hands to ask questions and interact with the teacher through webcams, live-audio, instant messaging, and by email.

For more information about the Mando Mandarin Online Chinese School, visit the website at www.mandomandarin.com or call 1-888-51MANDO (1-888-516-2636).

###

The New York Times has published at least one article about learning Chinese every week for the past several weeks.  The world is beginning to recognize the importance of learning Chinese.  I hope you sign up for a free demo lesson so you can see why we’re the best online Chinese school for you and for the Chinese language!  Below I have copy/pasted an excerpt from this week’s NYTimes Opinion section:

http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/07/will-americans-really-learn-chinese/

We’d Better Learn It

Bruce Fuller

Bruce Fuller, professor of education and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, served as a sociologist at the World Bank. He is the author of “Standardized Childhood.”

Imagine that your monthly mortgage bill arrives, unremarkable except that it’s suddenly written in Mandarin. Then, your bank sends over a Chinese translator to explain that you are falling deeper into debt. Mind-boggling? Well, this is America’s contemporary predicament as the Chinese finance a growing share of our national debt. Beijing holds $1.8 trillion in U.S. bonds and other instruments of borrowing. We are fused at the hip with the Chinese, economically speaking.

We are economically fused at the hip with the Chinese, so we must bear down.

So, we better get to know them. They certainly want to know us, sending over hundreds of teachers to spark our children’s interest in Mandarin and East Asian ways. Affluent urban parents get it. (One San Francisco colleague felt compelled to apologize that his 6-year-old daughter had access only to a dual-language Spanish-speaking school, rather than to the Mandarin immersion he wanted.) But unlike Europe, the U.S. has no coherent strategy for making our society bilingual, unless you count our growing Babel of texting as a second tongue.

We are pathetically slow in realizing that East Asia will soon dominate the global economy. We believe, as did the last living Romans, that the American empire will reign forever. So, we fail to grasp the hard work, collective spirit and enormous investment in public institutions advanced by Chinese citizens.

Close

We must learn the language and engage them at a human scale as first steps in appreciating the strengths of East Asian cultures. These virtues already lift America’s best universities. Over half of Berkeley’s undergraduates are now of East Asian descent.

Rather than bumbling along, government and corporate leaders should advance coherent policies for bilingualism. Europe began this process about four centuries ago. Washington moves quickly when military interests dominate. My Arabic-speaking son, Dylan, was offered $20,000 up front to staff intelligence outposts in the Middle East. But Mandarin? What’s the rush? The count of American high school students enrolled in Chinese classes is less than those studying German.

Instead, President Obama’s ballooning budget for education could focus dollars on teaching foreign languages. This should be co-financed by multinational corporations who richly benefit from the bilingual skills and graduate training of top Chinese students, financed in part by American taxpayers. Cash-strapped school districts need strong incentives to rethink their language programs. And let’s see language as a window into China’s cultural assets and cooperative skills, not simply as a tool to expand market share.

mansfieldnewsjournal.com


September 27, 2009

New languages more foreign to U.S. students

CINCINNATI (AP) — American students are falling far behind their international counterparts in learning second languages, creating economic disadvantages for U.S. businesses and raising national security concerns.

Virtually all European and Asian elementary students study a second language, but 97 percent of Ohio and Kentucky students do not because their schools don’t offer it

American companies lose an estimated $2 billion each year because of employees’ inadequate language skills and poor cultural competence, according to the Committee for Economic Development in Washington, D.C.

“It’s always been a good thing to know more about the world and to speak another language, but now it’s become an issue of our economic security, our national security and our public diplomacy,” says committee President Charles Kolb. “Speaking a second language gives our young people an edge in terms of the competition we’re facing around the globe. Believe me, you win kudos if you’re negotiating in another country and you’re fluent in that language.”

The U.S. State and Defense departments have called languages like Arabic and Farsi critical to national security and economic development, and are infusing $750 million into their study.

Some Ohio schools have added Chinese, Japanese and Russian, but language experts say it doesn’t make up for the fact that the country’s approach to language education has been too little, too late and too disjointed.

Fewer than 2,600 of Ohio’s 320,000 juniors and seniors take Advanced Placement tests in a foreign language, “a sign that most students do not commit to the most challenging, long-term study of a foreign language,” said a 2007 report by Ohio’s Foreign Language Advisory Council.

Five decades of research shows kids learn a second language best when they study it early, and over an extended period. But fewer than 5 percent of elementary students in Ohio and the U.S. have access to a foreign language program, and the average high school language student studies only two years.

“As a nation, we don’t put our money where research and good practice tell us to,” says Kathryn Lorenz, associate professor of French at the University of Cincinnati. “We know that students who start language study early do much better than those who start in high school.”

Other countries have emphasized the importance of their students becoming bilingual and multilingual speakers by requiring foreign languages in primary school. Longer school days or years often help make the language studies possible.

Neither Ohio nor Kentucky requires foreign language for high school graduation, and neither state includes it on statewide exams.

Ohio’s education department and Legislature have debated requiring foreign language education for many years, but run into funding and staffing obstacles, said Deborah Robinson, world languages consultant for the Ohio Department of Education.

“One of the big issues is teacher capacity,” she said. “Ohio graduates around 200 to 225 foreign language teachers per year, but doesn’t produce even enough Spanish teachers to meet the need, let alone Chinese or Arabic.”

China, meanwhile, is making English a priority. Officials are recruiting native English speaker to teach the language to kindergartners.

Each year, 20 million more Chinese learn English, a trend that experts believe will lead to there being more Chinese English speakers than native English speakers by 2029.

___

Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com

computer-learningAccording to the New York Times Bits blog, a recent study funded by the US Department of Education (PDF) found that on the whole, online learning environments actually led to higher tested performance than face-to-face learning environments. “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction,” concluded the report’s authors in their key findings.

The report looked at just under one hundred studies that compared the performance of students in online learning environments (or courses with an online study component) to those who were given strictly face-to-face instruction for the same courses. What they found was that students who completed all or some of their coursework online tested on average in the 59th percentile, compared to the 50th percentile for those who received only classroom instruction, and that the results are statistically significant.


Online Education on the Horizon


While the study certainly provides a vote of confidence for online learning, it’s important to note that it doesn’t necessarily demonstrate that online learning is more effective as a medium than classroom learning. “In many of the studies showing an advantage for online learning, the online and classroom conditions differed in terms of time spent, curriculum and pedagogy. It was the combination of elements in the treatment conditions (which was likely to have included additional learning time and materials as well as additional opportunities for collaboration) that produced the observed learning advantages,” writes the authors of the report (emphasis theirs). “At the same time, one should note that online learning is much more conducive to the expansion of learning time than is face-to-face instruction.”

In other words: all things are not equal. Students spending three hours per day in an online environment under the guidance of a great professor are likely, and not surprisingly, going to be better prepared than those spending an hour per week in a classroom with a mediocre one. And because the study’s results were correlational and not causal, it is impossible to say for certain whether it was actually the online learning environment that caused better tested performance. We can conclude that those in online learning environments tested better, but not necessarily why.

Further, the meta-study did not look at enough K-12 research to draw any conclusions — simply because it doesn’t exist. Researchers warned that “various online learning implementation practices may have differing effectiveness for K–12 learners than they do for older students,” which seems plausible. A major part of the job of a good educator is to equip students with the necessary mental tools to be able to continue learning on their own. Those skills are likely to be less developed in younger students, making face-to-face teacher intervention more necessary.

So while the classroom is ultimately here to stay, we can probably safely assume that there will be more use of online learning tools in the future. In that case, what might online education look like?


The Framework for Taking School Online


As part of their research, SRI International, which conducted the study for the DoE, constructed a conceptual framework of the different types of online education. They broke learning down into three types: expository (learners receive information via digital means), active (learners build knowledge by manipulating online tools), interactive (learners build knowledge through collaborative interaction).

online-learning-framework

Until recently, online learning has mainly been of the expository sort, essentially a traditional lecture format adapted for the web. But newer, social and multimedia technologies are allowing online tools to evolve to offer more active and interactive lessons. No longer is online learning just reading a module and answering questions — it can now include synchronous or asynchronous discussions and peer-to-peer learning exercises. As a result, online learning is becoming a more useful tool as both a replacement for and enhancement to traditional face-to-face learning.


The Teacher of the Future


A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called In the Future, the Cost of Education Will Be Zero. In it, I argued that online learning technologies and open source materials have the potential to drive the cost of a quality education down very close to free and provide access to learning opportunities for people who otherwise couldn’t afford it. The post stimulated a lot of great discussion and debate.

Some people thought it was great that web technologies and open source and Creative Commons licensing concepts were enabling the playing field to become more level. Others accused me of advocating the closure of all schools (not quite what I was getting at), or that I was painting teachers as an unnecessary aspect of the learning process (for the record, my brother and my fiancé are high school teachers, my sister-in-law runs summer and after school education programs, and both my parents have worked in the public schools — I don’t want any of them to lose their jobs).

But that does raise a good question: what happens to teachers if more education moves online?

echo360

As it turns out, not very much. The word education, after all, comes from the Latin educare, which means, “to lead out.” I.e., think Socrates. Anyone can absorb information from a book or video, but good teachers will always be necessary to draw out that knowledge and help students develop the skills needed to think critically about the information they consume. In other words, online learning tools are just like any other tools in a teacher’s bag of tricks: what matters is how they’re applied. The instruction of good teachers will be made better by the proper application of web tools, while bad teachers won’t necessarily be made better by utilizing online education methods.

It comes down to knowing how to best use the tools at your disposal to maximize the impact of education for students, which has always been what separates good teachers from bad ones. The major difference between teachers of today and teachers of the future is that in the future educators will have better online tools and will require better specialized training to learn how to utilize them properly.


Conclusion


Teachers will certainly need to adapt in order to use new tools and methods, but that’s nothing new. Online education may never completely replace face-to-face learning, though as the Department of Education study shows, with enough time and under the guidance of a good teacher, online learning environments can produce results that are just as good or better than classroom learning. Online learning is likely to be used more often to enhance face-to-face learning in the future, however, and in communities where classroom learning is infeasible due to lack of funds, online learning is an adequate stand-in.

blackboard

I recently talked to Shai Reshef of the University of the People, an online-only institution aiming to bring quality education to students, mostly in developing nations, for whom cost is a prohibitive barrier to traditional classroom learning. Reshef told me that his University really acts as a guide, helping people to organize the types of knowledge discovery and peer-to-peer teaching activities they’re already doing into a more formal program of study. And does the University of the People model still have room for teachers? You bet.

Even though most of the courses offered by the school can be completed without the intervention of a professor, teachers are still necessary to provide help and guidance when needed and to create courseware. In fact, over 800 professors from around the world have already volunteered their services to the University of the People.

For Reshef, online learning is a way to bring quality education to the masses. Teachers will always be a part of the equation, and online learning is just another tool at their disposal.

New studies are showing that online learning edges over traditional learning methods!

I personally haven’t read the report myself, but I can testify that learning Chinese online has great advantages over learning Chinese in a traditional setting.  Among other benefits, when students learn Chinese using a computer, they practice the “type-to-learn” method which is one of the most effective ways to learn how to read Chinese characters.  In the digital age, typing in Chinese and reading Chinese on computers is of utmost importance.  Everything is done by email nowadays, especially when communicating internationally.  On another note, talking to a teacher who is physically located in China while she delivers the lesson adds excitement to the lesson as well.  It’s pretty cool to be able to talk to someone who’s experienced modern China and ask her all sorts of questions about their culture, society, economy, lifestyle, and nuances that Americans will never be able to truly learn about just by reading blogs or newspaper articles.  If you haven’t experienced Mando Mandarin lessons yet, then you haven’t yet realized that learning Chinese has become lots of fun.  What are you waiting for?

-Mike Cheng

Founder, Mando Mandarin

Article Below From: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/technology/24bits-002.html?_r=1

August 24, 2009
Bits

Learning Online May Be Better

By STEVE LOHR

A recent 93-page report on online education, conducted by SRI International for the Education Department, has a starchy academic title, but a most intriguing conclusion: “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”

The report examined the comparative research for online versus traditional classroom teaching from 1996 to 2008. Some of it was in K-12 settings, but most of the comparative studies were done in colleges and adult continuing-education programs of various kinds, from medical training to the military.

Over the 12-year span, the report found 99 studies in which there were quantitative comparisons of online and classroom performance for the same courses. The analysis for the Education Department found that, on average, students doing some or all of the course online would rank in the 59th percentile in tested performance, compared with the average classroom student scoring in the 50th percentile. That is a modest but statistically meaningful difference.

Until fairly recently, online education amounted to little more than electronic versions of the old-line correspondence courses. That has changed with arrival of Web-based video, instant messaging and collaboration tools.

The real promise of online education, experts say, is providing learning experiences that are tailored more to individual students than is possible in classrooms. That enables more “learning by doing,” which many students find more engaging and useful.

Philip R. Regier, the dean of Arizona State University’s Online and Extended Campus program, sees things evolving fairly rapidly, accelerated by the increasing use of social networking technology. More and more, students will help and teach one another, he said.

“The technology will be used to create learning communities among students in new ways,” Mr. Regier said. “People are correct when they say online education will take things out the classroom. But they are wrong, I think, when they assume it will make learning an independent, personal activity. Learning has to occur in a community.”

COMMENT Isn’t it a self-selecting group that would want to learn online? Could this be a reason why those taking online courses do better? There’s a certain drive and motivation necessary to force yourself to learn something you don’t have to. — KV, Aug. 19

I’d like to share with you some exciting news from Congress (July 15, 2009)

Keep an eye out in 2009-2010 as Mando Mandarin begins its expansion into schools throughout America!

—–

July 15, 8:33 PM

WASHINGTON – A bill pending in Congress would dramatically expand Mandarin Chinese language classes for American students. The measure, the U.S.-China Language Engagement Act, would award competitive grants to schools to “establish, expand or improve” Chinese language and cultural classes. It also expands technology options to help American schools establish “virtual connections” with schools in China.
Please click on this link to read more:
http://www.examiner.com/x-15615-Asia-Headlines-Examiner~y2009m7d15-Congress-targets-Chinese-language-education

If you have been considering taking Chinese lessons with us, now is the time to sign up! We are still offering 1-on-1 lessons at a flat rate of only $15 per hour! Sign up now before prices go up in the Fall of 2009! Try a free trial lesson by clicking here: http://www.mandomandarin.com/contact/free-trial-lesson.html

Regards,
Mike Cheng
Founder & President of Mando Mandarin

Web:      http://www.mandomandarin.com
Office:    (888) 516-2636
Direct:    (347) 374-1006

———————-

Mando Mandarin provides schools with turnkey courses in Chinese as a foreign language taught by live instructors at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time teachers.  We guarantee that our students will be able to have conversations in Chinese after only 36 lesson hours.

At present, our certified teachers have taught over 10,000 combined lesson hours.  Be a Mando. Speak Chinese in 36 hours guaranteed.

Learning Chinese Through Podcasts

by Praveen Sequira

The term Podcast is a combination of two words, iPod and broadcast. The credit of the word can be given to Adam Curry who was instrumental in creating the application AppleScript that helps to download the audio files to iPod, a revolutionary music player that was invented by the Apple and changed the way we listen to music forever.

While podcasting was introduced to aid the iPod owners, technology has taken it much further today. These days any computer with a sound card and mp3 players of all kinds can be used to listen to podcasts.

Podcasting typically refers to a broadcast that’s recorded digitally and made available online to be downloaded to a person’s audio player. Podcasting became popular in 2003 and lots of websites started offering their content in this format. The trend caught on rapidly and today one cannot even imagine an internet without it.

The advantage of podcasting over other formats is its ability to download automatically using software such as RSS. Initially every blogger worth his salt, put a podcast on his site to attract more traffic. Now of course corporations and lots of educational sites these days use podcasting to enable easy learning and many Chinese language sites offer it free.

There are lots of benefits of using this technology if you want to learn Chinese through music you can download music on the iPod .For people who want to take their learning outside the classes, podcasting helps them to download the lectures and discussions in the classroom and later listen to it at leisure. For slow learners it’s a boon as they can rewind and listen repeatedly till they get it right.

Anyone can become a broadcaster with basic hardware and some software knowledge. A simple microphone, a headset is all that’s needed for hardware. There are a lot of software available online which can used to produce the broadcast. The last but not the least is a web space, which would host your finished file. This is how many educational sites are able to offer free online audio lessons.

However there are always two sides of a coin. While podcasting has been touted as the most popular and easy way of educational learning, there are many features that defeat the very purpose of its existence.

First and foremost, most students listen to the players while traveling or when they are outside the classes, so they aren’t able to concentrate due to the noise around and cannot take the notes for further learning. For that reason alone, the class room lectures are not recommended for broadcasting.

Besides that, while recording, it can catch any background sound that’s present at that time, causing it to be unclear when loaded. Also its not interactive, students can only listen and sometimes have queries that go unanswered. There are other methods available on the net that help better learning and though podcast is here to stay, it may not be the best way of learning the Chinese language which needs a lot more interaction on part of the faculty as well as the student.

Bull Market in Chinese Teachers Hits Wall Street Just in Time

By Janet Frankston Lorin

Source: Bloomberg News

July 24 (Bloomberg) — When the Yonkers, New York, public schools sought to hire a Chinese-language teacher, Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio expected to fill the job within weeks. He was off by two years.

Schools in the U.S. face a shortage of instructors in Chinese, stymieing efforts to prepare pupils for careers tied to China, the world’s fastest-growing economy. The Schenectady, New York, schools will require only a third of pupils in grades 5 and 6 to take Chinese because the district couldn’t find instructors for all the students, Ron Hamelin, world-languages coordinator, said in an interview on July 18.

Programs to teach Chinese in grades K through 12 have almost tripled since 2004 to at least 779, say the Asia Society and the College Board, two New York-based nonprofits. Americans fluent in Chinese will be needed for finance, business, diplomacy and security agencies, according to the U.S. Defense Department’s National Security Education Program.

“The need for Chinese has come to us in a flash,” said Jacque Bott Van Houten, who oversees foreign languages for the Kentucky Department of Education, in Frankfort. “We haven’t had longstanding programs at any level to teach Chinese, and all of a sudden we’re called upon to produce a plethora of teachers.”

The openings in schools coincide with the loss of 94,000 jobs in the securities industry worldwide in the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The bull market for Chinese-language teachers may not appeal to those thrown out of work in the current financial market turmoil.

First-Graders

“It is highly unlikely former Wall Streeters fluent in Chinese would turn to teaching,” said Donald Straszheim, vice chairman of Roth Capital Partners in Los Angeles and former chief economist of Merrill Lynch & Co. in New York, in a July 21 e-mail. “The pay differentials would be prohibitive.”

Demand to teach Mandarin, the main Chinese dialect, is popping up all over the U.S. The private, all-girls Brearley School in New York, which charges a $33,000-a-year tuition, will start teaching Chinese to all 50 first-graders in September, adding to instruction for grades 5 to 12, Stephanie Hull, head of the school, said in an interview on July 2.

The Benjamin Logan Local Schools, a public system near Bellefontaine in central Ohio, began teaching Chinese in elementary classes last year, after dropping French in 2006 for lack of demand. Chinese will be mandatory in grades K through 4, starting in August, to help prepare students for future jobs other than at the region’s Honda engine, automobile and motorcycle plants, said curriculum director Emmy Davis-Smith in an interview on July 14.

Acquiring Words

Parent Kelli LeVan said Chinese may give her daughter Baylie, 7, and son Brock, 8, an edge when they apply to college or for jobs.

“They talked all the time about the new words that they learned,” LeVan, 38, said in interview on July 18. “Hopefully, they’ll continue the program to have that advantage.”

While the Chinese-language curricula have spread, they reach only a fraction of the more than 97,000 public schools counted by the National Center for Educational Statistics, a Washington-based U.S. agency.

“If you go the route of assuming that everyone speaks English and you don’t know other languages, we put ourselves at a distinct competitive disadvantage,” Robert Slater, director of the National Security Education Program, in an interview on June 19. The program provides scholarships allowing college students to learn languages, such as Mandarin and Arabic, that are deemed critical to U.S. interests.

Kentucky’s Rules

To get certification to teach Chinese in public schools, applicants need more than proficiency in the language. The No Child Left Behind U.S. education law adopted six years ago made hiring harder by requiring institutions that receive federal funding to employ candidates with state certification, said Van Houten in Kentucky.

The requirements vary among the 50 states. In Kentucky, teachers need a bachelor’s degree, must pass a national examination for teachers, and have to complete special classes tailored to Mandarin, Van Houten said in an interview on July 17.

Yonkers, with 24,200 students, started its Chinese-language program in 2006. A Mandarin-speaking math teacher filled the first post on a temporary basis, coaching 30 students. Pierorazio, after his two-year search, hired a teacher through a plan sponsored by the College Board and a Chinese-government agency in Beijing. The new employee will work with 125 to 200 elementary and middle-school students.

CUNY’s Dozen

The instructor will be one of 193 that have been recruited from China to work in 32 states, said Selena Cantor, director of the College Board’s Chinese Language Culture Initiative, in an interview on July 9. Yonkers will pay for housing and transportation while the Chinese government picks up the salary.

While as many as 30 U.S. colleges have begun to produce teachers who qualify for a state credential in Chinese, the supply isn’t large enough, according to Van Houten.

In September, the City University of New York’s Hunter College will begin a two-year master’s degree and certificate program in Mandarin, with as many as 12 students annually, said Der-lin Chao, an associate professor of Chinese.

The dozen a year won’t go far in addressing the “dramatic” shortage, she said in an interview on July 18.

“We will not have enough speakers of Chinese to deal with interests in business, law and national security, critical for our country, and we will lose competitiveness to other countries,” Chao said. “Our kids will fall behind.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Janet Frankston Lorin in New York jlorin@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: July 24, 2008 00:01 EDT

Communication Needs Rise As China Blooms

by Denise Clark

China has become an extremely important and profitable source of business growth and development and outsourcing. Corporations from the United States and around the world are increasing Western presence in all parts of China. While China has been a main source of imported goods for destinations throughout the United States, it is now gone global, and is considered to be the largest manufacturer at reasonable prices of multi-global brands and global standards.

21st Century businessmen and women, educators, and those in the medical field are flocking to China to enhance communication, forge relationships, and bridge cultural barriers that have prevented greater understanding between China and other large economic forces around the world. Because of this need, the Chinese language has become a topic of great interest, not only in businesses around the country, but school platforms as well. However, school districts are slow to offer Chinese language courses and may take years to develop an adequate curriculum.

Most people in the United States wishing to learn Chinese have three choices: attend classes at local community colleges or universities, attempt to teach themselves using CD-ROMs and audiotapes, or perhaps the most popular option – to learn Chinese online. The first option is not very widespread, and few colleges and universities offer Chinese language and writing courses that can facilitate large numbers of students in various areas of business, culture, medicine and development.

Chinese language lessons obtained through CD-ROMs and audiotapes are adequate for basic language skills such as counting, basic vocabulary and common phrases, but do not particularly focus on the specific needs of the business, medical, or financial environment. Lack of feedback, vague or too few references and explanations of grammatical rules and sentence structure often hamper self-learners in properly learning how to speak Chinese Mandarin, the most common dialect spoken in China.

Learning Chinese online is growing in popularity, but finding the right type of instruction to suit a variety of learning needs is not often as easy as it sounds. However, learning Chinese live within an online instructional environment with native Chinese language speakers may prove to be the most beneficial and constructive way to learn to speak Chinese. Very few websites offer such services, but Mando Mandarin’s popular teachers are industry experts and capable of teaching modern educational trends while learning Chinese. Taking advantage of one-on-one language learning offers greater benefits than that offered through traditional classroom environments. Their website is http://www.mandomandarin.com.

Chinese is the language of the future, and the explosion of global relationships between China and the United States will continue to grow, prompting the need for more Americans to learn Chinese than ever before. While many Chinese citizens are anxious to learn English and are offered various and multiple avenues to do so, the United States does not require students to learn a foreign language unless they are planning on continuing further education within the university system. Businessmen and women, as well as those in the medical and educational fields, now find themselves hampered and challenged by language barriers and are seeking methods and techniques to help them learn Chinese online.

Preparing for future collaboration between China and the United States requires a greater understanding of the culture and history of one of the oldest nations on earth. The Chinese language is a beautiful and explicit language, but one that proves quite a challenge for Americans. Mando Mandarin’s unique teaching materials and methods help to bridge the communication gap as well as to immerse students in modern language trends, all through an active audio online environment.

Thousands of Americans will be traveling to China to enjoy Beijing’s hosting of the 2008 Summer Olympics. While many Chinese citizens in Beijing do speak some English, common courtesy and respect for a foreign culture demands that Americans at least make an attempt to learn the rudiments of the Chinese language, which will help to encourage development and communication between two of the greatest nations in today’s global economy.