Draper Elementary fifth-graders learning Mandarin Chinese made some new friends across the globe when they joined with their English-studying Chinese peers in a bilingual video conference exchange earlier this week.
The fifth-graders, part of Draper Elementary’s Mandarin Chinese Dual-Language Immersion program, conversed with students at their newly designated Chinese sister school, Shenyang Wanghulu Primary School in China’s Liaoning Province, from the school’s media center. Earlier this year, Draper Elementary was selected by China’s Education Ministry and the Confucius Institute at the University of Utah to house “Confucius Classrooms.” http://www.canyonsdistrict.org/district-news/item/3380-confucius-school-designation
The unique event was the result of a recent trade mission by Legislative leaders to Liaoning Province, where Utah has enjoyed a 10-year relationship with its Chinese counterpart.
“Liaoning is one of the most interesting, productive provinces in China. We’re privileged to have such a close relationship with Liaoning and excited to extend that to Utah’s schoolchildren,” said Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, who attended Monday’s event. “I believe the new friendships between Utah students and Shenyang students will last a lifetime, and bear results for generations.”
Another event attendee, Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, noted, “China has, in recent years, emerged as an economic powerhouse and has strongly signaled that it has no intentions of relinquishing this new role. Utah’s Chinese dual-immersion programs place our students ahead of the curve by providing them with valuable skills that will allow them greater opportunity in the challenging and changing world they are inheriting.”
Legislative leaders plan to facilitate future teleconferences between Utah Dual-Language Immersion students and their cohorts abroad.
Additional photos of the event can be seen at: