Chinese Immersion Leadership

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:

CELIN Briefs

CAIS leaders have been tapped to share their expertise through the Asia Society’s Chinese Early Language and Immersion Network (CELIN). Head of School Jeff Bissell co-authored Immersion Education: Creating an Integrated School Culture, Chinese Content and Tech Specialist Adam Ross co-authored Learning Chinese in the Digital Age, and Chinese Program Director Kevin Chang co-authored Developing Initial Literacy in Chinese.

October 2018

Chinese Innovation Forum

CAIS hosted the fourth annual Chinese Innovation Forum (CIF) for educators in Chinese immersion to network and learn from one another. The forum sought to build capacity amongst our communities to collaborate on these topics, and to build networks on working on innovation in these areas. Presenters highlighted their work in innovating Chinese pedagogy, program growth and sustenance, community building and uses of technology. These sessions were followed by round-table discussions with participants to identify goals and areas for continued work. This work of the CIF continues beyond the day’s activity, sharing via the Chinese Innovation Forum website.

March 2018

Early Childhood Chinese Immersion Forum

In partnership with a fantastic group of peer schools, CAIS hosted the first annual Early Childhood Chinese Immersion Forum (ECCIF) for educators in Chinese immersion preschool and kindergarten programs to network and learn from one another. The forum included a keynote presentation by renowned language educator Helena Curtain, breakout sessions led by conference participants, roundtable discussions, and networking opportunities. We were thrilled to gather early childhood educators to discuss topics and share best practices in Chinese immersion in these critical, formative years for students.


October 2017

Chinese Innovation Forum

CAIS presenting at Chinese Innovation Forum 2017Two years ago, CAIS helped found the Chinese Innovation Forum in Monterey, with the purpose of promoting innovative teaching in Chinese. This month a CAIS contingent attended and presented at the 2017 Chinese Innovation Forum in Seattle at the University of Washington, including:

  • Chinese Language Specialist Chiung-Wen Chang
  • Chinese Program Director Kevin Chang
  • Chinese Learning Specialist Ena Chen
  • Chinese Content and Tech Specialist Adam Ross
  • First Grade Teacher Nyah Wang

Learning Language Through Play

The lower school team (Ms. Chang, Mr. Chang, Ms. Chen, and Ms. Wang) presented on learning language through game playing and toy making— the CAISSummer Camp curriculum. They provided samples of the games and toys students make and use, such as flying toys, table games, spinning games, and puppets (which the students create identities for and introduce to each other in Chinese). Chinese Program Director Kevin Chang was thrilled to share, “The presentation was very well received; other conference attendees called CAIS ‘ahead of everybody else’ in innovative Chinese teaching and even asked to take the toy and game samples back with them to their own schools.”

Project Based Language Learning in Chinese

Adam Ross presented on Project Based Language Learning (PBLL), with a focus on trying to find appropriate Chinese translations for key terms. As he explains, “There are even many different ways to translate ‘project based learning,’ there is no real consensus here.” His presentation sought to define PBLL in the scope of a language and culture focused curriculum, and to present on what CAIS already has done, and is currently working on implementing, in the Middle School.


April 2016

National Chinese Language Conference in Chicago

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