Last school year, Manor View Elementary School at Fort Meade offered Mandarin as one of its International Baccalaureate – Primary Years Programme (PYP) courses with a language technician providing a few hours a week of Chinese instruction. Now, with the announcement recently from the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Manor View is gaining the services of Zhang Guifen, a teacher directly from China. She will spend the next academic year teaching 15-20 hours a week at the school in grades 1 through 5 and will also spend time doing outreach to other AACPS schools.

Zhang was one of 16 teachers from China and Egypt selected to participate in the 2013 Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP). TCLP is designed to increase the study and acquisition of important world languages in U.S. schools. This program enables primary and secondary schools to strengthen their teaching of critical languages by bringing Egyptian and Chinese teachers to the U.S. to teach Arabic and Chinese for an academic year.

In addition to teaching their native languages, TCLP exchange teachers expand the understanding of the world in their U.S. host communities by establishing strong ties with teachers, students, parents, and members of the community, and by sharing information about their home countries and cultures. The teachers, in turn, gain first-hand knowledge of this country with the intention of building relationships between the countries.

“(She) will stay with one of our teachers throughout the year,” said Manor View Elementary School principal Donna O’Shea. “She comes in early August and leaves the end of June. Our school family will provide experiences for her on weekends and holidays to enhance her understanding of the U.S.”

The International Baccalaureate – Primary Years Programme (PYP) is designed for students aged 3 to 12. It focuses on the development of the whole child and:

  • addresses students’ academic, social and emotional well-being
  • encourages students to develop independence and to take responsibility for their own learning
  • supports students’ efforts to gain understanding of the world and to function comfortably within it
  • helps students establish personal values as a foundation upon which international-mindedness will develop and flourish.

The TCLP exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and emerging leaders in the United States and in more than 160 countries.

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs News Release