8th grade Chinese learners from Mercer International Middle School visit the Chinese Program at UW

Submitted by Jennifer A. Miller on

On May 31, 2019 our Chinese program was visited by fifteen 8th grade students from Mercer International Middle School.  This is the third cohort to have graduated from Seattle Public School's K-5 Chinese immersion program.  They were accompanied by their teachers, Jingwen Li of Mercer International Middle School and Feng Zhou of Rainier Beach High School.  

The students came to UW to participate in activities hosted by the Alliance for Multilingual Teaching, Research, and Learning, a newly formed UW committee.  One of the missions of this cross-departmental committee is to promote K-12 and college level foreign language learning by familiarizing students in dual language immersion (DLI) programs with advanced proficiency uses of the language they are learning. By design, on the day of the event, students receive a tour of campus in the language they are learning, meet with faculty members, and interview professionals who use bilingualism at work. 

This year,  UW received two groups of school students learning Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, respectively. The Chinese group were first greeted by AL&L graduate student Grainger Lanneau who gave them a tour of UW in Mandarin Chinese. Then, the students met with Drs. Zev Handel, Chris Hamm, and Chan Lü. The three professors introduced the students to the courses they teach at the UW, and their research. Dr. Lü also briefly introduced to the students how to earn a Chinese major or minor. 

In the afternoon, the Chinese DLI middle school students interviewed Yan Zhu, a native speaker of Chinese and Circulation and Marketing Lead at UW East Asia Library, and Allison McCarty, a staff member at UW Foster School's Executive Education. Allison is an English native speaker with native-like proficiency in Mandarin Chinese. 

After the interview, East Asia Library staff members Yan Zhu and Le Button gave the students an introduction on the history of book making and on reading call numbers in the library. The day ended in an interactive scavenger hunt in the library.

This whole-day event for the Chinese DLI students was designed and coordinated by Dr. Chan Lü, a member of the AMTRL committee, with generous support from UW colleagues from the East Asia Library and the Department of Asian Languages and Literature. 

After returning to their own class, the students will work on writing Thank-you letters, which will be delivered to the UW people they interacted with or interviewed.