STARTALK - US Summer Camp Initiative for Chinese language education and teacher development

Why read this?  Are you a US Chinese teacher wanting to learn more about the STARTALK programme including details of the 2011 summer camps in which States and sample teaching resources from 2010?  We have all the links in this one location. Are you a non-US Chinese teacher who is  interested in how to make Chinese in your country mainstream by learning from the USA?


About STARTALK:  STARTALK is a US Language initiative that seeks to expand and improve the teaching and learning of strategically important world languages that are not widely taught in the US.   The STARTALK programme initiative includes the teaching of Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Hindi, Portuguese, Persian, Russian, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu.     It aims to increase the number of Americans learning, speaking, and teaching these languages  by offering students (K–16) and teachers creative and engaging summer camps  using best practice in language education and language teacher development.  Students in STARTALK programs learn or improve their language skills in intensive immersion settings during the summer months in State across the US. 

STARTALK aims to build the learning of Chinese and leadership of teaching Chinese through:

·         implementing a standards-based and thematically organized curriculum

·         facilitating student-centred learning

·         using the target language for teaching

·         ensuring meaningful interaction in the target language

·         integrating language, culture and content

·         differentiating  teaching based on student need

What is the STARTALK ‘experience’ like?  STARTALK classrooms may  have non-native speaking elementary students who engage in the target language whilst bringing the language into cultural context.   Students may experience tours led by STARTALK students who are serving in community museums.    Learning Chinese is made easier through the use of authentic resources , ICT and other props. Students may share their experiences of dining in the home of a local family while they practice their Chinese skills in a real-life setting. They may see students engaged in Skype conversations with students in China. In some classes students perform by interpreting and acting out authentic folk tales using shadow puppets that they created.    STARTALK instructors and teachers who work with teacher trainees and students embrace continual improvement and a willingness to share resources, materials and strategies in ways that are sustainable giving lasting impact on how Chinese is taught in the US.  STARTALK students are better prepared to communicate effectively with others in languages that are important to their future. STARTALK is also about building enthusiasm for language teaching and for language learning in our country.

A quote from a participant in the 2010 programme at CAIS:

 “The program meets a critical need in the local community. The program is designed to attract students from a diverse background and almost all students qualify for free and reduced lunch.”

“Language, culture and content are integrated throughout the curriculum. Chinese is used 100% of the time by the teachers and the majority of students remained in Chinese throughout the day.”

Summer Programmes 2011

Student Camps:   A list of all students camps in the USA is attached.  Alternatively, to find a camp in your State, click on the following links: AK | AR | AZ | CA | CO | CT | DE | FL | HI | ID | IL | IN | KS | KY | MA | MD | ME | MN | MS | NC | NH | NJ | NM | NV | NY | OH | OK | PA | RI | SC | SD | TX | UT | VA | WA | WV | WY

Teacher Camps:   A list of all teachers camps in the USA is attached.  Alternatively, to find a camp in your State, click on the following links:  AL | CA | CO | CT | DC | DE | FL | GA | HI | ID | IL | IN | KY | MA | MD | ME | MN | NJ | NV | NY | OH | OR | PA | RI | TN | TX | UT | VA | WA

Sample materials

From Student Startalk Camps 2010:

From  Teacher Startalk Camps 2010:

Useful links


STARTALK resources – lesson plans, sample materials.

STARTALK video collection (case studies etc)

STARTALK Online Curriculum Development Guides


Asia Society

Teaching Chinese

Presentations about STARTALK (from National Chinese Language Conferences):

U.S. Government Programs Supporting Chinese Language Learning (STARTALK)

Developing Teacher Leaders STARTALK

Academic Papers that include STARTALK