Holy Cross Receives STARTALK Grant for Third Year in a Row

May 29th, 2014 by 

Startalk
Participants at last year's STARTALK program. Image by John Buckingham

Holy Cross has been awarded a  $90,000 STARTALK grant to convene a 10-day summer residential program on literacy development in Chinese as a foreign language (CFL).  This is the third year in a row that the College has received STARTALK funding for this program.  STARTALK programs are a component of the National Security Language Initiative, aimed at expanding and improving the teaching and learning of ‘critical languages,’ strategically important world languages that are not widely taught in the United States.  The program will run July 21-31, 2014.

The proposal was authored by Claudia Ross, professor of Chinese in the department of modern languages and literatures, and she will serve as the program director.  The leadership team also includes Baozhang He, associate professor of Chinese in the department of modern languages and literatures, who will serve as the program coordinator, and Dr. Meng Yeh, associate director of the Center for the Study of Languages at Rice University, who will serve as the instructional lead. The program will begin with workshops led by two leading researchers in the field of Chinese literacy development, Dr. Michael Everson, professor emeritus at the University of Iowa, and Dr. Helen Shen, associate professor of Chinese at the University of Iowa.

“STARTALK grants are very competitive, and we are thrilled to have received funding three years in a row,” says Ross. “Holy Cross is one of only 40 STARTALK-funded Chinese teacher training programs in the country and the only one in the state of Massachusetts.”

Literacy acquisition is the most challenging part of learning Chinese says Ross. There are three main difficulties. Characters: the unit of Chinese writing, the character, reflects meaning rather than systematic pronunciation, and learners have to know 5000-7000 characters in order to read a newspaper.  Word boundaries: most Chinese words consist of two or more characters, but in a Chinese text, characters are evenly spaced on the page so that word boundaries are not apparent.  Spoken-written divide: formal written texts use vocabulary and grammatical features that do not occur in contemporary speech.  Learners cannot simply transfer over what they know about the spoken language when they read a Chinese text.”

There have been many studies of Chinese literacy acquisition among first and second language learners of Chinese, but the findings have not made their way into the CFL classroom in any systematic way.  The goal of the Holy Cross STARTALK literacy program has been to use research findings to develop ‘best practices,’ effective instructional strategies for teaching students how to read Chinese.

As in the past, participants at this year’s program will be 25 Chinese language teachers representing U.S.-based Chinese programs from kindergarten through college. Together, they will study research on literacy acquisition among first and second language learners of Chinese, they will apply research findings to develop best practices in Chinese literacy instruction for learners at different grade-level groups, and they will design teaching modules that illustrate the application of these practices in the classroom.  These modules, as well as reading lists and summaries of research on Chinese literacy acquisition and recommended best practices in literacy instruction will be located on the project’s website.

Media Coverage

For additional information, please contact Cristal Steuer at 508-793-2419.

| More

Comments are closed.

Sort By:
or
03/27/15 Holy Cross Announces Holy Week and Easter Services
03/27/15 Women’s Lacrosse To Hold Think Pink Game On March 28
03/27/15 PayScale Ranks Holy Cross No.6 Among Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Best ROI
03/26/15 ‘Renovated Fitchburg Art Museum vows visitors will be impressed’
See All
See All

Featured Videos

See video
Holy Cross Launches Groundbreaking Web Resource for Exploring Catholic Practice Around the World

Watch Video >
See video
Video, Photo Gallery: Christmastime at Holy Cross is a Sight to See

Watch Video >
See video
Video: What is CreateLab?

Watch Video >
More

What’s Happening on Campus

04/08/2015

Vannicelli Lecture by Jacob Medina '16

See More >
04/10/2015

A Seussebration: Hats Off to 111 Years of Dr. Seuss

See More >
04/15/2015

Lunch & Learn: LGBTQ Safe Zone

See More >
04/17/2015

'Libertad' performed by The College Choir and Chamber Singers

See More >
More

Holy Cross in the News

03/19/15

‘The 50 Best Private Colleges for Earning Your Degree On Time’

Money

According to Money, a subsidiary of TIME.com, the College of the Holy Cross ranks No. 12 in the top 50 best private colleges for earning your degree on time and No. 101 for...

03/04/15

‘At Notre Dame, a door closes, but many more are opening across Catholic higher ed’

Wall Street Journal | The Conversation

Joanne Pierce, professor of religious studies at College of the Holy Cross and a University of Notre Dame alumna, reflects on the legacy of Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, president...

02/18/15

‘Exploring an Institution’s Roots: Board Members Walk in a Saint’s Footsteps’

Trusteeship Magazine

In the January/February issue of Trusteeship Magazine, Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president of the College of the Holy Cross, reflects on the pilgrimage he led with a...