...a BCIU service offered in partnership with our friends at:
The Guest Scholar program offered by the ASC is run jointly by the BCIU and the Confucius Institute at the University of Pittsburgh (CI-Pitt). Since there are a number of alternative programs available to school districts seeking to secure the services of a qualified classroom teacher of Mandarin Chinese, it is important to briefly outline the CI-Pitt program and establish why the program was selected to aid area school districts in filling the need for qualified Mandarin language teachers.
The rationale for this choice considered a number of factors, including:
- Quality of the teacher candidates
- Affordability and flexibility of the program
- Breadth and sustainability of the program
- Availability of local partners and support
- Ease of implementation
Confucius Institutes have been established around the world as partnerships between local universities and corresponding universities in China. In terms of the breadth of resources that are devoted to supporting this teacher provisioning effort, there are presently more than 325 institutes established around the world. Approximately 55 of the institutes are located in the U.S., but at the present time, there is only one located in Pennsylvania (CI-Pitt). The institutes are funded by the Hanban, an agency of the Chinese government that is charged with promoting worldwide education efforts in the area of Chinese culture and language. In this way, the Confucius Institutes are analogous to other agencies, such as the Alliance Francaise or the Goethe Institute.
The CI-Pitt operation is partnered with Wuhan University in China. This partnership enables the two universities to share in the process and administration of teacher selection, training, and procurement in a fashion that would be impossible to replicate without this structured relationship.
All candidates for the coveted Guest Scholar positions in this program are experienced teachers who are pursuing their master's degree at Wuhan University, one of the top 10 universities in China. They are enrolled in a graduate degree program specifically designed to prepare teachers to teach the Mandarin language to Chinese language learners, so their training and expertise is focused on the areas of language acquisition and instruction.
Because Wuhan University is one of China’s major universities, there is a large pool of qualified candidates to select from in a highly competitive and rigorous process that involves at least three rounds of qualifying interviews and examinations. Candidates are judged on their teaching skills, the quality of their Mandarin, the quality of their English (in the case of U.S.-bound teachers), etc. Selection to a position as a Guest Scholar in the Confucius Institute programs is a prestigious accomplishment and carries with it a tremendous sense of responsibility for the teacher. Each teacher selected as a Guest Scholar understands that he or she represents both the people and the government of China when stationed abroad.
These factors ensure that the candidates made available to the districts in our region are of outstanding quality.
contact: Sue Calvin, program administrator