How are our DLP classes structured?
Homeroom instructional time in kindergarten to 2nd grade is equally divided between English and Chinese; alternating full days in Chinese and English, half a day in Chinese and English on Fridays. In 3rd grade and on, Chinese is taught as an elective foreign language course. There will be at least 1-2 sessions (50 minutes each session) per week.
Which subjects are taught in Chinese, and which are taught in English?
The DLP students learn the same curriculum as students in all-English classes. However, DLP students learn 50% of the lessons in Chinese across word study, reading, writing, math and some social studies, and 50% of the lessons in all same literacy and math subjects in English. Some curricular materials are translated into Chinese, and a lot of authentic Chinese resources are also used. Other specialty classes like Social Studies, Science, Music, Art and Physical Education are conducted in English like other all-English classes.
Do the students learn traditional Chinese or simplified Chinese?
Mandarin in Traditional Chinese is predominantly taught from kindergarten to 2nd grade. Some Simplified Chinese is introduced as early as 1st grade and into 2nd grade. Starting from 3rd grade, Simplified Chinese is predominantly taught.
Simplified Chinese is a simplification of the Traditional Chinese characters through stroke reduction and merged characters. Traditional Chinese is closely related to character origin and Chinese culture. Some characters in Traditional and Simplified Chinese look the same. Most people who can read Traditional Chinese can also read Simplified Chinese. We believe learning Traditional characters provides a good foundation for Chinese learning in the long run.
Do students learn Zhuyin or Pinyin?
In our program we teach Pinyin, which is the official alphabetical system for Mandarin. It uses the 26 English letter alphabet with four tone marks and covers the pronunciation of all characters. It was developed in the 1950s and is taught in China as well as to people in many other countries learning Chinese.
Zhuyin Fuhao or Zhuyin consists of 37 characters and four tone marks. It transcribes all possible sounds in Mandarin. It is most commonly used and taught in Taiwan.
We think Pinyin is easier to learn for younger learners. Their English spelling knowledge is also helpful for learning Pinyin and sounding out characters.
How will my child understand what his/her teacher and classmates are saying in Chinese?
Our DLP teachers use many scaffolding strategies to teach English dominant students in Chinese immersion environments; including monitoring talking rate, using gestures, pictures, songs, repetition, and modeling among others. These adaptations to instruction all help ensure students’ comprehension and engagement.
Bilingual students often support their classmates as needed, but translations from teachers or students are only used if absolutely necessary. The Chinese language teacher in kindergarten or any entry grade will offer extra support for those students who do not have the target language (Chinese) background to make them feel more comfortable and transition into this program. Gradually, the language teacher will immerse students learning both languages by using the 50/50 model.
How much Chinese homework will my child have?
Homework expectations vary by grade. In Kindergarten, students will typically work on sight words worksheets, basic sentence worksheets and introductory PinYin worksheets. Recordings and videos will be provided for all the lessons, activities, and worksheets. We will also utilize songs to teach our children Chinese instead of paperwork. Thus, it will be easier and fun for the children to learn!
In 1st grade, students will read texts at home, practice characters, sight words and grammar-related writing activities. In 2nd grade, students will mainly use Meizhou Chinese homework sheets and grammar-related worksheets. Your child’s teacher will provide answer key videos for extra homework help. To know more about first and second grade’s curriculum and other resources, please visit:
In 3rd grade, students will use the third grade Mei Zhou Chinese textbook homework sheets and special activities or cultural related worksheets. Recordings and videos will still be provided for this grade with all the related lessons and activities.
Do I need to know Chinese to help my child with homework? Is there any help with Chinese homework and learning that the school provides?
You do not need to speak Chinese fluently to support your child with Chinese homework. Teachers provide students and families with a lot of resources to support learning outside of the classroom (see previous question and answer). Many DLP families also use one another as a resource for support with homework, school communication, and other activities. You may ask your child’s teachers or any classmates’ parents to help you get in touch with any Chinese speakers from our school community.
How might I support my child with Chinese at home?
If you don’t speak Chinese, you are welcome to learn with your child by watching the videos or recordings provided by our DLP teachers and reading aloud together with your child. You can also encourage your child to “teach” you any Chinese words and sentences that they learn from school. Other simple ways to support your child’s language learning includes: listening to any children’s songs or popular songs in Chinese, watching cartoons and movies in Chinese with English subtitles, and attending any cultural activities in the city, etc. If you speak Chinese, engaging your child in activities at home in Chinese will be beneficial.
Will my child progress in English reading and writing at the same pace as students in all-English classes?
Most DLP students progress at the same pace as students in all-English classes in most subjects. All students are taught the same curriculum and held to the same standards in English. Your child’s teacher will keep you informed of his or her progress through report cards, parent-teacher conferences, ClassDojo app and other communication as needed. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s progress, please speak to your child’s teacher.
Will spending half their school time in Chinese slow my child’s English learning?
No, Dual Language programs provide students with an academically rigorous curriculum in two languages, enabling both ELLs (English Language Learners) and English Proficient students to meet, if not exceed, curriculum standards.
Students in Dual Language programs develop their second-language skills while learning content knowledge in both languages. Students are expected to build academic skills in their first language and eventually transfer these skills to the second language and be highly skillful in the four domains, speaking, listening, reading, and writing, in both languages upon their completion of a DL program (New York City Department of Education 2013). 1
Research has shown that English speakers score as well as or better than their English-speaking, non-dual language peers on standardized tests of math and English language arts. English Language Learners (ELLs) who receive native language instruction were able to catch up to or surpass the achievement level of ELL peers and English-only peers who were educated in English-only mainstream classrooms. 2 3
Are the DLP teachers native Chinese speakers?
Yes, they are. Both of our Chinese teachers are well trained and licensed to meet the needs of both Chinese-fluent students and Chinese language learners.
Ms. Song graduated with M.A. in Bilingual Bicultural Education from Teachers College Columbia University. She started teaching as a 1st grade DL Chinese teacher in 2011 and spent most of her teaching in 1st and 2nd grades.
Ms. Chen graduated with M.A. in Bilingual Education with Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Queens College. She completed her post master degree in teaching English as a second language from St. Johns University of New York. Ms.Chen started teaching as a bilingual elementary teacher in 2009. She has a lot of experience teaching two major models of bilingual education; Transitional Bilingual and Dual Language education.