NCLC Reflects on 10 Years of Growth
NCLC Reflects on 10 Years of GrowthJosé Rios, Director, Multicultural Communications
Earlier this month, the College Board—in collaboration with Asia Society—welcomed attendees from far and wide to the city of Houston, the most populous city in the state of Texas and the most diverse city in the United States, to celebrate the 10th annual National Chinese Language Conference.
The celebration kicked off with greetings in both Chinese and English from Houston Independent School District students, who also performed a traditional Chinese dance and song. Houston ISD Superintendent Richard A. Carranza took a moment to welcome everyone to the city of Houston and spoke about the importance of language learning.
“As a student who started in the public schools of America speaking another language other than English,” said Carranza, “I have firsthand knowledge of why students should be bilingual and if possible trilingual. It is our goal in the Houston ISD that every student that graduates will be multilingual, at least bilingual, with a bi-literacy seal on their diploma.”
This year’s conference focused on the theme “A Decade of Progress,” recognizing both the 10-year anniversary of the event and the growth of Chinese language and cultural education in the United States over the past decade.
Linda Liu, the College Board's vice president, International, reflected on the tremendous growth in the field of Chinese language and the role that AP Chinese Language and Culture has played to propel students into academic and professional success over the past decade.
“I think all of us here today will agree that we’ve made amazing progress. We are so proud of the work that students and teachers are doing to build towards an advanced level of proficiency in Chinese,” said Liu. “As a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute recently put it, ‘AP might be the single happiest education story of the century,’ because through courses such as AP Chinese, we’ve been able to expand access without sacrificing rigor and quality.”
The largest annual gathering in the United States of its kind, NCLC welcomes about 1,200 teachers, administrators, and policymakers all vying for a chance to hear from leaders in the field—students and professionals alike—who have taken their study of Chinese into an array of areas and careers.
One of those leaders was Chad Lewis, former American football tight end and 3-time Pro Bowler, who participated in a panel focusing on the role that sports play to connect people across language and culture. During the event, the now athletic director at Brigham Young University spoke with emotion as he described how learning Chinese as a 19-year-old shaped his athletic career.
“The ability to speak Chinese opened a window in my brain that allowed me to learn football better,” said Chad Lewis. “I look out here at all these teachers and administrators and it blows my mind because you are changing the lives of so many kids. It’s opening this gift, this power, that they don’t even know they have in their lives.”
Before the conference began, attendees visited students and educators at elementary and secondary schools in the greater Houston area to get a better understanding of how their language programs have evolved over the years and how language-learning plays an active role in the development of knowledge and skills.
“This conference is an opportunity to challenge ourselves to set a vision for how we hope to best serve our students, teachers, and communities,” said Bob Davis, executive director of Chinese language and culture initiatives at the College Board. “It’s also a moment to pause, to celebrate the many accomplishments that have been made in the field in the past decade, and to look to next decade to come.”
We invite you to the 11th annual event, which will be celebrated in Salt Lake City, Utah. Visit Chinese Language & Culture Initiatives for more information on this event and others.