Topic: Teachers College
June 21, 2007
<b>Gora talks with students at the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities about a project to expand foreign language instruction in Mandarin Chinese.</b>
The Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities
at Ball State was awarded a $378,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to develop distance education modules to help more elementary and junior high school students speak and write Mandarin Chinese.
The Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant will be administered over three years to create and distribute age-appropriate instructional modules to schools that would otherwise not be able to offer Chinese.
The Indiana Academy will film 30-36 modules each year for the next three years at Burris Laboratory School, which also is part of Ball State University. The filming schedule will be:
- First year — fourth-grade level curriculum
- Second year — fifth-grade level curriculum
- Third year — sixth-grade level curriculum
In addition to the elementary curriculum, modules for middle and high school levels will be developed for Chinese I and II at the Indiana Academy during the course of the grant.
"Thanks to this grant and cutting-edge technology available at Ball State, the Indiana Academy can now help increase foreign language study in schools across Indiana and around the globe," said David Williams, director of academic affairs at the Indiana Academy. "Learning a foreign language at an early age is so important, and this is a great way to get young children involved rather than waiting until they reach high school."
Several Indiana school districts will be selected as test beds for the project and will be able to access the Chinese classes by either watching a live broadcast or downloading an archived video.
As part of President Bush's National Security Language Initiative, the Department of Education is distributing $8.7 million in grants to school districts nationwide to help increase the number of Americans learning foreign languages critical to national security and commerce. The Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities is the only school in Indiana to receive any funding.