Western High School Hosts Teacher From China

Chinese teacher holding sign with Chinese words

Western High School is one of only two Broward County Public Schools, and 28 schools nationwide, selected to participate in the Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP), funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Selected schools strengthen their language and cultural programs by hosting a teacher from China for the school year.

Western High School welcomed Liang Min, who teaches at Mianyang High School in the Sichuan Province of China. She says her first impressions are that Western High School is a great school with amazing teachers and motivated students.

Ms. Liang says she is looking forward to starting a full-time Mandarin program at Western. Her goal is to arouse interest in Chinese learning and Chinese culture. “I will focus on teaching students the basics of communication in Chinese and introduce Chinese culture to them to promote mutual understanding in this academic year.”

Principal Jimmy Arrojo applied for the Techers of Critical Languages Program as a way to round out the school’s World Language department. The school also offers Spanish, French and American Sign Language.

“China is one the largest trading partners of the United States and many of our students may eventually work for companies that do business with China. Learning the language and having an understanding of the culture will put our students at an advantage,” states Assistant Principal Christy Graf. “In addition, many of our students are already bilingual and we recognize the capacity for young minds to learn another language.”

In addition, Ms. Graf says school administrators felt participating in the Techers of Critical Languages Program would provide a rich cultural experience for students, teachers and community. “Ms. Liang is sponsoring the Chinese Club for all interested students and has offered her first calligraphy class to faculty and staff.”

Ms. Liang believes she will learn a lot from this program as well. “I think the new experience will benefit me in the long run. I want to broaden my horizons and know the U.S. culture better.”

When she returns home to China at the end of the year, Ms. Liang plans to integrate some of the teaching strategies she learns while at Western High School to benefit her Chinese students. She would also like to establish a sister-school relationship between her school and Western High.

Ms. Liang says she is grateful for the opportunity to come the United States to teach and learn. “I am on a government-sponsored program and it’s not easy for us to be here. Both the teachers and the program did a lot of work preparing for this year. The reason why we are here is to benefit students in both the United States and China and promote the understanding between cultures.”

The Teachers of Critical Languages Program is designed to increase the study and acquisition of important world languages and to help U.S. schools expand and reinforce existing world languages programs.