Using Language Skills Learned in Everyday Life

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Tiffany Fan’s Mandarin Chinese IV Honors class at Glen Cove High School experienced Chinese culture firsthand when they recently visited the other Chinatown in New York – Flushing, Queens, which has a significant Chinese population.  

Students were eager to practice the Chinese language skills they have learned in the last few years while visiting various locations in Flushing. Upon arrival, they enjoyed breakfast at a traditional Chinese bakery, where they ordered in the target language. Their travels then took them to the Flushing Public Library, where a great deal of the resources, materials and services are provided in Mandarin Chinese. Another important stop was the Culture Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, an embassy-like agency that promotes Chinese culture and serves Chinese citizens who live overseas. While there, students attended a presentation that explored the difference between simplified and traditional Chinese, in addition to touring the book and art collections. The trip continued with a visit to the New World Mall Food Court for lunch. Finally, students visited a traditional Chinese supermarket and bookstore. One task students were charged with during the trip was to have a conversation with a vendor in the target language, record it and email it to Ms. Fan.  

The class also photographed their trip and used the images in a PowerPoint presentation they prepared as a culminating project. “The students came back very pleased with the experience of having had an opportunity to use the target language in real-life situations and experience aspects of Chinese culture firsthand,” said Ms. Fan.