Academics & Research

Grant received by scholarship program

The Chinese Studies Program at UH was awarded $92,050 in grant money through the National Security Language Initiative.

“It’s a great honor to win this grant again for a second time,” said Director of Chinese Studies Xiaohong ‘Sharon’ Wen. “Ultimately our goal is to produce master Chinese teachers.”

Project StarTalk Texas Teaching Program will offer scholarships to teachers of the Chinese language. The graduate course — CHNS 6398: Issues in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language — can be applied toward the Alternative Teacher Preparation Program leading to Texas teacher certification in Chinese.

“This course is unique because we have transformed our classroom into their classroom,” said Wen, who is also the curriculum and instructional lead for StarTalk. “The term project is basically asking the teachers to return to the classes where they teach Chinese and implement the teaching philosophies we taught in the semester.”

Participants will work on curriculum design, materials and instructional development during the program. They will develop an understanding of the nature and process of learning Chinese as a foreign language, identify critical issues in Chinese foreign language teaching methods and enhance their ability to develop appropriate teaching plans and materials.

The program’s major focus will be on what students “can do with language rather than what they know about language,” according to the website.

Many foreign language teaching programs at other universities have actually modeled their curriculum after the success of StarTalk at UH, said Wen.

“We really have a good reputation,” she said.

StarTalk is relatively small; the program has 20 seats, and recruiting is highly selective, Wen said. Out of 50 applicants last year, less than half were accepted. An early application is key.

Candidates must be Chinese teachers holding an undergraduate degree. Visit for more information. The deadline for application submission is April 1.

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