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WKU, Confucius Institute recognize, honor Hanban Chinese teachers

WKU President Gary Ransdell and the Confucius Institute hosted a dinner that celebrated the accomplishments of all Hanban Chinese teachers for academic year 2012-2013.

WKU President Gary Ransdell and the Confucius Institute hosted a dinner on Oct. 30 to celebrate the accomplishments of Hanban Chinese teachers. From left are Chinese teachers Peng Yin, Lu Xiangyu and Allen County Superintendent Randall Jackson.

The staple program for the Confucius Institute is its Hanban Chinese teacher program.  During its inaugural year 2010-2011, 11 teachers taught in 11 schools in three Kentucky counties; during the second year 2011-2012, 23 teachers taught in 21 schools in six counties; this academic year 2012-2013, 33 teachers are teaching in 41 schools in 12 counties.  This is a 43.48 percent increase from last year and a 200 percent increase since the inaugural year.

As the program grows, the major issue expressed by the school districts is to have certified teachers in middle school and high school, since the Chinese language class is for a grade. Thus, the CI at WKU was faced with the task of determining how to obtain certification within the state of Kentucky and sought assistance from WKU’s College of Education and Behavioral Sciences to accomplish this goal.  The CI’s job was to ensure that the most qualified individuals were selected.

The process started in April 2012 when WKU education faculty members Dr. Kay Gandy and Dr. Lisa Murley traveled to China to assist the Hanban Chinese teachers with developing their own portfolios. Once the portfolios were approved in August, Ellen Gott submitted the Hanban teachers’ application to Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board.  As of September 2012, all 17 teachers received Kentucky Professional Certificates for Teaching Chinese K-12th from EPSB. These teachers are now the teacher of record in the Kentucky school systems.

On Oct. 30, Dr. Ransdell hosted a dinner honoring all Hanban teachers. Dr. Ransdell also recognized the 17 Kentucky certified Chinese Hanban teachers and presented them with awards documenting their achievement.

While the accomplishments of the program are grand, it means nothing without the commitment and sacrifice from the 33 Chinese Hanban teachers who left behind families and friends to come and teach in the United States. There are transitions that take place that most do not see, nor understand behind the scenes. China is a populated country, and many of the Hanban Chinese teachers are teaching in rural counties. The CI at WKU is proud that they were able to acclimate so quickly to the American culture, the teaching demands and school structure. The Hanban Chinese teachers have successfully managed all this with the support of their school district personnel, colleagues, host families and newfound American friends.

The WKU-CI and Hanban, China’s Ministry of Education, work to promote understanding of the Chinese language and culture through children’s programming, training courses, cultural workshops and community events. Together, these organizations have introduced fully articulated K-16 instruction in Modern Standard Chinese into local school systems, serve as a regional center for Chinese teacher training and Chinese curriculum development, and build connections and partnerships between Kentucky and China.

Contact: Betty Yu, (270) 745-2836; or Terrill Martin, (270) 745-2530.

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