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Chinese Ambassadors Distribute Books to SDOC Elementary Schools

posted May 25, 2017, 6:04 AM by Deborah Wickliffe   [ updated May 25, 2017, 6:14 AM ]
While at a conference in 2015, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Ginger Hopkins received information about a teacher exchange program funded by Hanban Confucius Institute. The program provides, for a nominal fee, Chinese teachers to teach Mandarin Chinese in American schools.

“I knew that one of our goals as a district was to provide foreign language instruction at all elementary schools, and we have since set a goal in our strategic plan to develop global citizens. This seemed like a great opportunity to accomplish those goals while also broadening the cultural understanding of our students,” said Mrs. Hopkins.

The district employed Ms. Linda Sui, the first Chinese teacher, in fall of 2015-16. The program was implemented in the Seneca area schools and went very well. In 2016-17, the district applied for a second teacher in order to increase the amount of time the program was taught in the elementary schools.

With the addition of Ms. Rose Liu this year, Seneca High School and Seneca Middle School have been able to expand their programs. The district hopes to be able to add a third teacher soon.

While working in the district, however, the Chinese teachers realized that many of the books in the media centers at the schools were outdated and perpetuated stereotypes of the Chinese culture. 

Recently, a group of ambassadors from the University of South Carolina visited the district representing their home country of China. While here, they brought several books to distribute to the media centers at the Seneca area schools. The books included the English text along with Chinese text. 

“The children at Northside Elementary are studying Chinese with me so when they saw me walk in with the Chinese storybooks, they came around me to see them,“ said Ms. Liu. 

The students were excited about the books and were especially enthralled with the dual translation showing Chinese characters along with English text. 

The group also met at the district office with Mrs. Hopkins to explore ways to share the two cultures further. They discussed spending time together in Columbia, as Ms. Li is just beginning a new position there that will last about two years. 

“Perhaps one day you can visit me in China and see the schools there,” Ms. Li told Mrs. Hopkins. This truly is the beginning of a cultural exchange that will benefit all involved. SDOC looks forward to providing students with accurate views of the world around them in order to better prepare them for the future – a truly global future.

Pictured above: Zhu Wenwen, Ginger Hopkins, Li Yue, Liu Rongjie, and Zhang Tiejun