The desire to help U-Prep students develop a profound understanding of Chinese culture was by design integrated into the courses of all levels. Five summer trips to China were successfully organized in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2015. The VAPA Department and Confucius Classroom at U-Prep are co-organizing the sixth trip to China (pending board approval) in July 2016.
This is a three-week trip to the People’s Republic of China. U-Prep students are invited to attend an international workshop on leadership training hosted by No. 9 High School of Zhengzhou, Henan, P. R. China. Before and after the workshop, we will tour around other cities (Beijing, Xi'an, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang and Guilin) in China to experience the culture that is distinctively different from our own. While attending the workshop, our VAPA students will be staging performances (like a joint concert with their Chinese counterparts) for workshop participants and local people. This would be a rare opportunity for our VAPA students to experience being a global citizen by interacting with Chinese students through arts. Their performing experience would also reflect well on them in their future college applications. The same is true for students who are currently acquiring Chinese language, a great opportunity to touch China through their own eyes.
Confucius Classroom at U-Prep, often in collaboration with Confucius Institute at San Francisco State University, organizes various China-related events like student exchange and summer trips to China every year. If you want to be informed of these events, please go to the Contact Us tab to send us a message. We'll add your email to our list.
One of U-Prep’s Student Learning Outcomes (SLO), which articulate the values of the school community, stipulates that a U-Prep student will be: A Positive Member of a Diverse Society -- Able to demonstrate compassion and empathy throughout the community, both locally and globally. To prepare our students to become future global citizens who serve local but think global, the Chinese language program (known as Confucius Classroom at U-Prep since 2013) has made consistent efforts in promoting the culture understanding and appreciation through cultural trips to China in the past 10 years.
To date we have organized five trips to China in the summers of 2007, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2015, respectively. Through federal grant, international exchange program and sponsorships from Confucius Institute, we’ve helped over 80 students receive sufficient fund to go to China. On these trips, we visited more than 20 cities in over half of China’s 32 provinces. While enjoying the beautiful scenery of China, our students conducted meaningful exchange activities with their Chinese counterparts, and experienced school and family life of Chinese students through shadowing Chinese students at school and staying in student’s families.
In the past summer of 2015, twelve high school students visited China for 4 weeks. With the c0-sponsorships from our Confucius Classroom at U-Prep and Confucius Institute at San Francisco State University, the total cost per student was reduced to about $1,400 for the entire 4 weeks including the international airfare. A salient feature that distinguishes this year’s trip is that in the first 2 weeks, we provided volunteer service by organizing 2 English summer camps for local students in 2 cities -- Zhengzhou, Henan and Dingxi, Gansu. Dingxi is one of the 50 counties designated by the central government of China as the most poverty-stricken areas of the country. In the camps, our students hosted sessions like “How to say it in American English”, “Learn English words in a real situation”, and “American Culture Q & A”. More than 200 students from Zhengzhou No. 9 High School and Dingxi No. 1 High School attended the camps. For many students of Dingxi, it is the first time they have spoken to a native speaker of English. Our students were warmly received by the Chinese schools and the feedback from students about the camps were overwhelmingly favorable.
In the second 2 weeks, our students attended a Chinese culture summer camp organized by Hanban, the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing. Our students visited Beijing, Zhengzhou, Luoyang, Kaifeng and Dengfeng. They learned Chinese Martial Arts, traditional Chinese painting and Chinese calligraphy. In China, our students stayed with the Chinese host families and enjoyed the face-to-face in-depth interactions with Chinese families. The warm hospitality from the Chinese students and families deeply touched the heart of our students. The combination of volunteer service and culture experience not only benefited students’ personal growth, but also would be instrumental to their future college application.
Sociolinguists all agreed that language is a carrier of shared meanings (culture). The ultimate goal of learning a language is to be able to appreciate the culture the language carries. The process of acquiring a language, therefore, should also be simultaneously a process of absorbing varied aspects of the target culture. While it is difficult to understand the subtle nuances and deep meanings of another culture without knowing its language well, it is impossible to learn any language without the knowledge of the culture. The culture trips to China in the past 10 years have witnessed the enhanced cultural sensitivity and understanding of U-Prep students as well as their deeper appreciation for their parents after seeing with their own eyes the hard living conditions of students in some parts of China.
Confucius Classroom at U-Prep will continue to make efforts to help prepare U-Prep students to become a positive member of a diverse society and a qualified global citizen with broad international perspectives. Culture trips to China proved to be an effective way to help our students reach that goal.
Approved by Hanban and in collaboration with the Confucius Institute at San Francisco State University (CI at SFSU), the Confucius Classroom at University Preparatory School (U-PREP) in Redding, California was established in April 2013. In October of the same year, a grand Confucius Classroom opening ceremony was held at U-Prep, which was attended by officials from Chinese Consulate in San Francisco and Confucius Institute at San Francisco State University, local educators, representatives of local community, and teachers and students of U-PREP.
Proud to be the first Confucius Classroom of all high schools in North State, U-Prep is committed to carrying out various activities to promote Chinese language and culture in Redding area. Examples of activities include:
Confucius Classroom (CC) is a special program that aims at stimulating and supporting innovative teaching and learning of Chinese language and culture in local primary or secondary schools by providing funding, resources and guidance to participating institutions. Funded by the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), Confucius Classrooms are established in collaboration with the Confucius Institute Headquarters. By the end of 2013 there are 440 Confucius Institutes and 646 Confucius Classrooms in about 120 countries or regions around the world, out of which 100 Confucius Institutes and 356 Confucius Classrooms are in the United States.
By hosting a CC through this network, school districts and independent schools will receive support to build quality Chinese language programs leading to AP® Chinese, from which students graduate with a high level of language proficiency. Key benefits to participating institutions include:
Confucius Classroom program is an effective way for schools to enhance their Chinese language and culture programs.
U-Prep is the first school north of Sacramento that offers Chinese language courses. Our school, since its inception, recognized the need to increase the number and scope of languages offered to our students in order to broaden their individual and collective horizons and better equip them for effective worldwide communication as adults. Our Chinese language program started in 2006, with 26 students in two classes at one school. Now Chinese language classes (levels I-IV) are joined by more than 100 students from three high schools every year. What’s more, we have offered several Chinese classes to adults in our community. In the past 7 years, more than 50 adults from local community have attended classes that varied from 2 to 8 weeks in length. Chinese Program at U-Prep has grabbed the attention of U.S. federal government. For six consecutive years since its inception in 2006, our Chinese program has received Critical Language grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support the all-round development of our program. Now with the continuing support of the Confucius Classroom program, we look forward to more successes in our program in the years to come.
In Chinese classes at all levels, students developed the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing with an increased degree of sophistication. Authentic materials from China were used to further enhance student’s language proficiency. A unique feature of Chinese language teaching at U-Prep is the adoption of TPRS -- Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling. In classrooms, the teacher stresses comprehensive aural and written input to help students acquire the language rather than learn Chinese through more traditional grammatical, audio-lingual and communicative methods. Highly interactive storytelling is the technique used for acquiring the language in a low-stress and highly-engaging environment. Curriculum based upon the Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences are naturally integrated into the lesson and set the stage for all students to experience success.
Currently the Confucius Classroom at U-Prep offers four levels of Chinese courses. Detailed descriptions of these courses can found in U-Prep Course Guide.
Sociolinguists all agreed that language is a carrier of shared meanings (culture). The ultimate goal of learning a language is to be able to appreciate the culture the language carries. The process of acquiring a language, therefore, should also be simultaneously a process of absorbing varied aspects of the target culture. While it is difficult to understand the subtle nuances and deep meanings of another culture without knowing its language well, it is impossible to learn any language without the knowledge of the culture.
The desire to help students of this Confucius Classroom develop a deeper understanding of Chinese culture was by design integrated into the course since its inception. In the past eight years, thanks to the concerted efforts of all members in the community and the sponsorship from various sources, we organized various activities to help enhance students’ appreciation of Chinese culture. These activities include visits of American students to China, visits of Chinese students to our school, annual trips to visit Chinese New Year Parade and China Town in San Francisco, and regular e-pal exchanges. All these activities greatly boosted students’ interest in learning Chinese and facilitated classroom teaching, making contributions to enriching the local mono culture.
Shasta County, where our school is located, is in northern California with a population of about 90,000, 80%-85% of which are Caucasians. No other population group is above 5%. The institution of Chinese courses opened a door to eastern culture and ignited students’ enthusiasm in China and Chinese culture, despite the fact that low incomes among school families restricted their ability and willingness for new cultural experiences. We wanted to intensify students’ interest by organizing our own trip to China, giving students an opportunity to touch China and Chinese culture with their own eyes.
We organized four summer trips to China in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2014, respectively. Employing various strategies, we collected funds through federal grant, fund raising and family support, and helped over 70 students receive sufficient fund to go to China. While enjoying the beautiful scenery of China, students were encouraged to conduct meaningful exchange activities with local Chinese counterparts. While visiting Chinese schools, American students followed Chinese students from class to class, experiencing of a typical school day of a Chinese student. American students also stayed in Chinese students’ families, using their newly acquired Chinese skills to conduct real time communications.
In addition to China trips organized by ourselves, we also recommended students to participate in free Summer Camps organized by Hanban. To date, about ten students from our school have joined Hanban-sponsored Summer Camps.
Besides taking students to China to appreciate the culture, this Classroom has also found ways to host visiting Chinese students in the community. In the past two years, we have received over 50 Chinese high school students from about 10 Chinese high schools all over China, including those from prestigious schools like the Second High School affiliated with Beijing Normal University. Staying with American host families, these Chinese students followed the same daily schedule as the American students and enjoyed the experience of immersing themselves in the American culture. In communications, American students of Chinese language were encouraged to speak Chinese whenever possible. Chinese students’ visit was covered by local TV station and the feedback from the community was extremely positive.
Historically famous for its large population of Chinese immigrants, San Francisco Bay Area is a metropolis where much more diverse ethnicity exists and where cultural events, especially Chinese cultural events, are part of everyday life. This provides our students an opportunity to observe Chinese culture in close distance, and a getaway from the isolated mono-culture of the city they live in. For seven consecutive years, we have organized yearly trips to China Town in San Francisco to observe the annual Chinese Lunar New Year Parade. We also took our students to enjoy the rich cultural collections in San Francisco, like those in the Asian Art Museum. Over the years, more than four hundred students and parents participated in this annual event. Every year, there are students who for the first time in life visited San Francisco.
Frequent visits from both sides gave students excellent opportunities to make friends. We actively encouraged our students to keep in touch with their newly acquainted Chinese friends through emails or Skype chats. Students were encouraged to communicate in Chinese and English alternatively so that both sides could practice their language skills. Common cultural phenomena that had puzzled students in their cross-culture communication process were thoroughly explained in class to help enhance students’ ability to comprehend and appreciate Chinese culture.
In summary, Confucius Classroom at University Preparatory School has made great efforts in the past years to popularize Chinese culture among students of Chinese language in the U.S. In the future, we plan to explore the possibility of co-compiling proficiency-level appropriate reading materials for each other, and the possibility to carry out volunteer work in China, thus, raising the cultural exchanges between American and Chinese students to a new level.
Confucius Classroom at U-Prep
2200 Eureka Way
Redding CA, 96001
Dr. Cheng, Program Coordinator
Phone: (530) 245-2790
Fax: (530) 245-2791
“ Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.” -- Confucius (551–479 BC)