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In 2008, the University of Virginia initiated the Virginia STARTALK Chinese Teacher Academy (VSCTA) in conjunction with the Virginia STARTALK Chinese Academy (VSCA) supervised by the Virginia Department of Education (DOE).

From 2008 to 2009, the VSCTA was implemented at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond. The VSCTA worked closely with the VSCA to provide teacher training, share teaching responsibilities, and offer quality innovative teaching for students in the Governor's Foreign Language Academies (GFLA). The dynamic learning environment that teacher participants created for the VSCA was highly acclaimed and well recognized by the VSCA staff and teachers, parents and students, and the DOE and VCU.

Programs from 2010 to 2013

After two years of excellence and success at VCU, in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 the VSCTA was implemented at the University of Virginia with the goal of benefiting local high school learners in the community. To maximize the capacity of Chinese language teaching and learning, the VSCTA was co-sponsored by the Department of East Asian Languages, Literatures and Cultures, theĀ Asia Institute, and the East Asia Center at the University of Virginia. Fifteen outstanding in-service and prospective teachers were recruited nationwide and a selection of excellent rising 9th to 12th graders was chosen to participate in the program practicum.

With the founding of the University of Virginia in 1819, the third US President Thomas Jefferson accomplished his dream of creating a college experience in which learning is infused with everyday life. The VSCTA scholars have benefited tremendously from the engaging learning environment of the Academic Village, where a combination of academic excellence and quality learning help broaden teacher trainees' horizons and widen their scope so that they can become more competent Chinese language teachers, program coordinators and leaders.

Program Features

The three-week residential program trains novice and continuing Chinese language teachers in order to enhance their expertise in teaching Chinese as a foreign language in the direction of professional development and Chinese teacher certifications. The program offers a graduate level course on teaching Chinese as a foreign language. It integrates theories and practices, and combines both regular and online virtual classrooms through a well-structured, supervised practicum.

Upon the completion of the five-credit graduate course, teachers are able to keep abreast of new developments in more general second language acquisition theories and practice, as well as Chinese language acquisition and pedagogy in particular. Through the practicum, teachers also create standards-based curricula and materials, deliver effective instructions through the target language, use authentic materials to create authentic tasks, and implement authentic performance-based assessment and instructional technology. The practicum is held in the learner-centered, highly communicative, and culturally immersed environment of the VSCTA program. Participants' competence in teaching Chinese as a foreign language culminates in the completion of an E-portfolio that documents their extensive learning experiences in launching or advancing their careers.