World Languages Mandarin Chinese - World: Guānxì Resource Center

Language Instruction and Student Engagement

Who are Your Language Learners?
Students have diverse reasons for choosing to study a particular language. They may be motivated by an experience in the past that inspired them to choose Mandarin. They may know someone who is Chinese or be interested in an aspect of the culture that entices them to learn more by studying Mandarin. Parents or relatives may encourage them to select a certain language to study. Possibilities for travel or work in a specific career may be associated with studying a given language.

Keep in mind the complex process of language acquisition that students are involved in and any other characteristics that may impact their learning. Consider their prior knowledge, culture, backgrounds, life experience, and interests represented as you prepare instructional activities. Provide additional supports, such as posters, pictures, realia, and real-life connections to illustrate concepts.

Build an Environment that Supports Learning
Children learn from their experiences by observing, talking, and interacting with their environment, so the setting for teaching and learning a language is critical in shaping that experience.

In order to assure student engagement during world language instruction, the teacher creates a classroom learning environment that promotes listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the target language. This environment should be colorful and interesting, with visuals, props, and realia to make lessons fun and understandable. An outstanding language classroom is often described as having “walls that talk” (Adelson-Rodriguez), “walls dripping with language and literacy” (Brechtel, Project GLAD), or a “language functional environment” (Cambourne, Traill).

Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning

This flowchart describes the conditions learners need for optimal learning to take place.


















Language Acquisition

How students reach competence in a new language to listen, speak, read, and write at high levels of proficiency.

Curriculum Development

Sample units for elementary, middle, and high school Mandarin Chinese classes developed based on the California K-12 world language standards.

Language Instruction and Student Engagement

Video clips and other information to illustrate best practices in language teaching, specifically demonstrating lessons in the WORLD: Guānxì curriculum units.

Administrative Support

Resources and information to assist school and district administrators in planning, implementing, and improving Mandarin Chinese programs.

Chinese Teacher Exchange Program

Interviews, information, and resources from a program in San Diego County with 18 years of experience hosting guest teachers from a sister school in China.
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