Chinese Immersion Leadership

CAIS faculty led a record number of sessions at NCLC 2016 in Chicago

As the first dual-language Chinese English immersion school in the United States, CAIS is recognized as a pioneer and leader in the field of immersion education. CAIS administrators and faculty regularly present at conferences and workshops and host visitors from other programs to share best practices.

Recent examples include:

April 2016

National Chinese Language Conference in Chicago

Research shows that teacher quality is the single most important school-based factor impacting student achievement.  Kevin Chang, Ya-ching Hsu-Kelkis, Teresa Shyu, Chichi Su and Jeff Bissell did a presentation at the National Chinese Language Conference in Chicago entitled “Making an Institutional Commitment to Building a World Class Teaching Team.”  A quotation from a research report writing by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching—“Quality teachers have a greater influence on pupil achievement than any other school-based factor”—formed the premise of the CAIS presentation.  
Head of School Jeff Bissell noted, “It is a point of pride (which I shared with the 1,300 attendees at the National Chinese Language Conference) that I work with such outstanding teachers, and that our teachers are supported day-in-and-day-out by such a great staff.”

Chinese Language Education Forum 

Head of School Jeff Bissell was a panelist at The Chinese Language Education Forum (CLEF), an annual conference dedicated to bringing together PreK-16 teachers, scholars, administrators and other professionals in the field of Chinese language education worldwide to share best practices, research findings and inspiring ideas. He was featured at the open and interactive plenary session—Chinese Teaching Roundtable (CTR), a highlight of CLEF. This year’s CTR focused on the topic, “Anchoring Literacy for Students’ Global Competency.”


March 2016

Chinese Curriculum Director Kevin Chang co-authored a brief on “Developing Initial Literacy in Chinese” published by Asia Society’s Chinese Early Language & Immersion Network CELIN Briefs series. Mr. Chang also presented this brief at the National Chinese Language Conference. As shared in the brief: 

This Brief outlines the issues that programs need to consider as students begin to develop literacy in Chinese. It also explains what it means that Chinese is a character-based language, describes differences between simplified and traditional characters, discusses when and why to teach and use hanyu pinyin (or pinyin in this Brief, a system that uses the Roman alphabet to help learners sound out characters in Mandarin), and makes recommendations regarding ways to facilitate students’ initial literacy development. 

January 2016

CAIS Digital Chinese Manager Adam Ross presented at the National Foreign Language Resource Center’s 2016 Online Symposium: Project-Based Language Learning: Inspiring Teachers, Transforming Learning. He discussed efforts to engage students beyond traditional language learning activities. Mr. Ross introduced the PBLL units, discussed challenges implementing them in a distance learning format, showed screencast examples of student online class discussions, showed examples of student final projects in several units, and shared student feedback about their engagement in the unit. Mr. Ross’s presentation has been posted by the NFLRC symposium organizers on YouTube. 

October 2015

Students Experience the Breadth of China: Asia Society interview with Ed Tech Coordinator Xiaoqing Chen and faculty following her presentation at the 2015 National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC)

Adam Ross demos CAIS flipped classroom videos for MIIS grad studentsCAIS hosted 11 graduate students from Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) who observed several CAIS Chinese classes and had a lunch discussion session with our Chinese faculty. One of the participants wrote afterward: “I have read and heard a lot about immersion programs from discussions with classmates and participating in language education courses here at MIIS, however it was still amazing to see in person just how highly competent the kids can become with using the language.”

CAIS Co-Sponsors The First Chinese Innovation Forum with Middlebury Institute of International Studies, October 18, 2015 in Monterey, CA. Head of School Jeff Bissell was one of the opening speakers for this forum creating a sustainable dialogue between progressive educators in the Chinese language education and experts in the broader field of foreign language education. By connecting theory to practice and through active participation, the forum’s goal was to eventually change the landscape of the Chinese language education while eliciting innovative pedagogies in the process.

June 2015

CAIS highlighted as the pioneer in an article on the increased interest in Chinese immersion schools.


February 2015

Professor Zhang Ying from University of Maryland visits CAIS.

Head of School Jeff Bissell tweets about Middlebury College students' visitMiddlebury College students visit CAIS on education-focused alternative winter break.


What’s in Your Toolbox: Asia Society interview with Chinese Program Director Kevin Chang following his presentation at 2014 NCLC