K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Date created
February 2011
North Carolina
Flash Video
This video copyright ©2011. All Rights Reserved

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This video on critical language education in North Carolina is part of a series from UNC-TV called “Learning with the World: Global Languages in North Carolina.” The episode focuses on Chinese immersion and briefly features North Carolina educators and students.

This series of videos highlights the work done in North Carolina around language instruction, including LEARN NC’s digital textbooks to teach critical languages. Other videos in the series include:


Announcer (00:01)
Podcasts of unctv.org are made possible through the financial contributions of viewers like you, who invite you to join them in support of UNC-TV.
Mitchell Lewis (00:13)
It’s the year of the rabbit. Folks all across the state have been celebrating the Chinese New Year this month. They’re also celebrating the many new Chinese language programs that are offered in the schools. Producer Donna Campbell brings us this report as part of an upcoming special on UNC-TV Learning with the World: Global Languages in North Carolina.
Children singing Chinese in the classroom.
Tricia Willoughby (00:43)
We used to talk about the importance of Manteo to Murphy and mountains to the sea. And now we really talk about the importance of Durham to Dubai and Bessemer City to Beijing because we know we’re educating students for a new economy that is a world-based global economy, and a global citizenry. All the things that happen across the planet affect us here in North Carolina.
Donna Campbell (01:12)
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has made a strong commitment to helping students learn global languages like Chinese, offering immersion classes beginning in kindergarten and going through college. One of the most innovative programs is the Confucius Institute based at North Carolina State University. Named for the sixth century Chinese philosopher, there are now twenty Confucius classrooms in North Carolina, more than any other state. A Confucius classroom opened in Sanford this year, as the first in a community college. The Institute hosted a concert of Chinese traditional music for students and the Sanford community.
Concert musicians are introduced to the audience at the concert
Cornelia Olive (02:05)
With our basic industrial base, we rely on customers and manufacturers abroad, so we have to be compatible with what everyone in the world is doing. And, to have young people learning the language, it’s just a step ahead for us – a giant step.
Roseanna Terry (02:26)
We’ve never had anything like this ever in Sanford before, and I think it’s a really good opportunity.
Tom Dossenbach (02:30)
Today is a great day for Sanford. It showed me what our community college is doing. That they’re stepping forward to keep us one the cutting edge and working with North Carolina State with this Confucius program is really a smart move.
Cornelian Olive (02:44)
This is just magnificent! It was something that few of us had really seen up close and personal.
Tom Dossenbach (02:53)
I saw a desire of their wanting us to understand their music and their ways. So whenever you exchange that kind of information, I think you’re making steps forward.
Donna Campbell (03:04)
In Fayetteville, you should see what’s happening in kindergarten!
Felix Keyes (03:08)
All of our students starting in kindergarten are exposed to Mandarin Chinese. In the beginning, the parents were a little nervous about coming in, fitting in this regional focus, bringing in the language piece . They were worried that their children would lose out on math or reading time if we were doing all these other things. But, the parents, they have really come on board with the students going home, teaching their parents what they’re learning in Chinese. I get calls daily from parents wanting to figure out how do they enroll their children here.
Rick Glazier (03:47)
We’ve started a series of programs in Cumberland County Schools . We have over eighty foreign languages in our school system. And then with Fort Bragg, the largest military base in the world exists in our county and therefore, people from all over the globe are there. Their children are there. That’s something that’s unique to our area and we have the capacity to make it a state, national, and international model of education.
And our kids, if they’re going to compete in the world, can’t do it by reading in the textbook one year, you know, in the ninth grade about the systems in China. You have to know the Chinese. You have to know their culture, their language, their idiosyncrasies, their geography. You have to invest in understanding who your competitor is going to be, and in a sense in the global way, who your friends are going to be.
Chen Lao Shi (04:37)
Right now, China is like the second biggest language speaker in the world. So if we want to participate in the economy, in the global environment, we have to learn Chinese.
Donna Campbell (04:50)
Mrs. Chen is just one of fifty-seven teachers at the Smith Academy of International Languages, an award winning language immersion school in Charlotte. She teaches the entire curriculum for her fourth grade class – all the math, science, social studies, completely in Chinese. And, she begins each day with the pledge of allegiance.
Inez Olshausen (05:14)
I believe we can change what we offer our children and what we expect of our children. They can do more. And they can therefore be more in the future. They are very capable of rising to high expectations and achieving things that are hard for us to imagine. The cognitive benefits of this program can really be seen in the students’ achievement. Across our whole school, all grade levels, we have over 1,200 students, our mathematics achievement is above ninety-four percent.
Chen Lao Shi (05:50)
If you see the kids write the Chinese, you will know, understand why they’re cognitive development in this program is so huge. It’s because they do a lot of hand movement.
Inez Olshausen (06:05)
Children in the Chinese immersion program have a dimension to their education in that is perhaps not measured by EOGs, but adds richness to their education now and to their life in the future.
Donna Campbell (06:18)
Global languages and cultural understanding are also the focus of the brand new Cuthbertson High School in Union County.
Rob Jackson (06:27)
Explaining our motivation in teaching Chinese or any of the critical languages, or any of the world languages becomes easier and easier because North Carolinians are experiencing the same economy that we’re experiencing across the country. And we see the textile mills shutting down and with jobs and industries changing so drastically, we understand that we have to change as well. Ms. Zhou is a remarkable teacher, all the more so because she teaches in a distance education lab. So, each morning she greets students from Cuthbertson High School who are physically in front of her and students who are in three other high schools in Union County who are interacting with her via the video conferencing software. Our students have to be globally competitive, but that’s not all. They have to be prepared to collaborate on a global level.
Donna Campbell (07:15)
Recent celebrations of the Chinese New Year, like the one at North Carolina State University, are examples of growing connections and mutual understanding.
Rick Glazier (07:28)
We all have to get along with each other. It’s the only way we’re going to succeed as human beings.
Mitchell Lewis (07:35)
We will learn more about critical languages as the series continues in the weeks to come. The Learning with the World series is produced by UNC-TV in association with LEARN NC and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Announcer (07:49)
Podcasts on unctv.org are made possible through the financial contributions of viewers like you, who invite you to join them in support of UNC-TV.