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Mandarin Program Named One of Country’s Best by Chinese-Language Association


Images from the school's Mandarin activities

At top, an image from the cover of the May 2023 publication in which the country’s top 20 Mandarin programs are profiled; at bottom, images from Mandarin students’ celebration of Lunar New Year in January.

Ravencroft’s Mandarin program has been recognized by the Chinese Language Teachers Association as one of 20 Distinguished K-12 Chinese Programs in the United States for 2023.

This prestigious designation is a reflection of a number of factors examined by judges, including teachers’ extensive educational qualifications and experiences, a comprehensive curriculum design, innovative teaching approaches, diverse cultural activities, impressive teaching outcomes and positive social impact. Ravenscroft Mandarin teachers Yi-Wen Liu and Chiu-Ping Lin — whom the association commended for their outstanding work — gathered and submitted materials to the association for consideration. 

“The students at Ravenscroft School have displayed remarkable dedication and commitment, showcasing their intellectual capabilities and reflecting the tireless efforts of Ms. Liu and Ms. Lin in fostering an enriching environment for academic growth,” Shuai Li, President of CLTA-USA, said in a May 16, 2023, letter to Head of Upper School Aaron Sundstrom announcing the honor. 

Ravenscroft has been offering Mandarin courses for over a decade. Its comprehensive offerings range from Exploratory Mandarin in the Middle School to Advanced Placement Chinese Language and Culture in the Upper School. At present, 73 students are enrolled in courses taught by Lin in the Middle School and Liu in the Upper School. The program will grow with the addition of another full-time teacher in the 2023-24 school year.

As the judges noted, the program’s success is apparent in the many students who have been recognized for their achievements in Chinese-language competitions such as the National Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools (CLASS) Essay Contest and the CLTA’s American K-12 Outstanding Chinese Works. In addition, each year, the program inducts 10-15 Upper School students into the National Chinese Honor Society.

Students also benefit from opportunities to learn about and celebrate traditional Chinese holidays such as the Mid-Autumn Festival and Lunar New Year

Two pages of the school's profile for the CLTA publication

Liu and Lin submitted information about the Mandarin program and itx context within the broader school community, all of which is highlighted in the May 2023 publication from the CLTA.

Honors Mandarin Chinese IV student Andrew Becton ’24 shared this reflection as part of the school’s application: “I have learned a vast amount of different things, from characters to traditions. The program is rigorous but the results and experience are both worth it. This class has inspired me to continue [Mandarin] in college and use it for life.”

As Liu, the Upper School Mandarin teacher, who is a past president of CLTA-North Carolina, noted, the success of the program is thanks in part to those teachers who came before — and the plan is to keep that momentum going.

“The Mandarin program at Ravenscroft has been through different phases, and it’s mostly because of the ideas from each Mandarin teacher who taught here,” she said. “As I continue to work with the local organizations and bring in new resources to our program, our students will have more opportunities to shine. As a teacher, it is fulfilling to see students put in hard work to create something new and be recognized by a third party.”

Lin, who teaches Middle School Mandarin, agreed.

“I feel incredibly encouraged and proud to be part of the Mandarin team that has received this recognition. It is showing our collective effort in designing curriculum plans and incorporating diverse cultural activities, as well as implementing meaningful classroom learning activities,” she said. “Our goal has always been to provide our students with an enjoyable learning experience while simultaneously enhancing their language proficiency and deepening their understanding of culture. We have strived to create an enriching environment where our students can thrive and develop a love for Mandarin. It is pleasing to know that our efforts have been recognized.” 

A profile of Ravenscroft’s Mandarin program has been shared alongside those of the other recognized schools in the May 2023 issue of the K-12 Chinese Language Teaching journal.