UVU Event To Immerse Elementary School Students And Parents In Chinese Language And Culture
July 23, 2012
For Immediate Release
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Cheryl Kamenski (801) 863-6351
Utah Valley University will welcome more than 500 elementary school children and parents July 30-31 for the inaugural Chinese Summer Days, a community engagement event consisting of educational and cultural activities to help children, along with their parents, learn the Chinese language.
UVU’s Department of Languages is partnering with Renaissance Academy and the Utah Chinese Teachers Language Association to host the free event, which will involve more than 300 students, 200 parents and nearly 100 volunteers signed up to participate.
“Students will receive Chinese language and culture instruction on the first day and then put it into practice on the second day as we unveil an interactive Chinese village,” said Baldomero Lago, chair of UVU’s Department of Languages. “Parents will also be able to understand the complexity of learning a second language and will learn basic principles of Chinese language and culture.”
The event is a result of UVU’s bridging its language, culture and curriculum resources with those of Utah public schools offering Mandarin language education, said Lago. UVU invited those schools to participate in the organization of Chinese Summer Days, an effort that has received overwhelming support from more than two dozen schools.
“UVU has become a beacon of Chinese language programs in the state,” Lago said.
This is partly due to UVU’s Chinese Initiative, which includes expanded efforts to provide students with curriculum and engaged learning experience in Chinese culture, language, education, politics, philosophy, technology, business and history. UVU is striving to become a regional destination for students who want to further their Chinese language study and cultural studies.
Approximately 80 event volunteers, including UVU students studying Chinese, will assist during the two-day event. Also among the volunteers are 26 Chinese high school exchange students attending an English camp at Renaissance Academy through the local exchange organization Compass USA.
“I see this as a future opportunity to continue to bring together the local Chinese community in a combined effort to support the study of their language and culture,” said Stacy Lyon, who serves as the world language program director at Renaissance Academy, where daily study of a world language is part of the core curriculum. Lyon also serves as president of the Utah Association of Chinese Teachers.
“It tells us that the interest in learning Chinese and deepening our understanding of Chinese culture has become a high priority to a growing population of families and individuals,” Lyon said.
The first day of Chinese Summer Days will include classroom sessions for the students at UVU’s Sorensen Student Center taught by UVU professors and community instructors who specialize in Chinese. Parents will receive information and resources on helping their children learn Mandarin and gain further insights into Chinese culture.
On July 31, the event will feature a simulated Chinese village complete with rickshaw rides, Chinese arches and a 40-foot backdrop depiction of the Great Wall of China. Students and parents will have opportunities to practice their Mandarin skills during games, activities, Tai Chi classes and at food booths in the village. Community groups will present performances of Chinese music and dances.
“The event as a whole, in addition to the village, will help provide a broader cultural context for language study,” Lyon said. “Language and culture are inseparable. The more cultural gaps that are bridged, the easier it is to ‘get’ the language.”
Registration slots for the event have been completely filled.
Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah, and is home to more than 33,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community college, state college and, finally, a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah’s largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees, with emphasis on undergraduate education.