Dual Language SchoolsApply Subject Integration with Scaffolding for Students in Chinese Dual Language Program

Author Photo: Ping Liu

By: Ping Liu

Professor at CSU Long Beach

Elementary Mandarin dual language (MDL) teachers are responsible for students’ content and language development. To provide quality instruction and maximize student learning outcomes, it is essential for teachers to address subject integration and promote active student participation based on their needs in lesson/unit planning. Appropriate instructional strategies should be applied to support students with scaffolding and promote deep learning of content and academic language. (For the experience of a Mandarin dual language program, read about this DL School of the Month)

Starting from this issue, a series of articles will explore how to provide a meaningful context for cross subject instruction aligned to target content standards and connected to English language arts (ELA) for program coherence. Discussion will incorporate basic principles of the Universal Design for Learning to provide multiple ways of representation, create multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate learning, and apply multiple means for student engagement. To examine details in application, a children’s book 小马过河 [Little Horse Crossing the River] will be used to illustrate how instruction can be designed for first grade students in a MDL program.

An overarching structure for MDL instruction may include four main aspects as follows:

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The above four components are listed for convenience of discussion. They are not in isolation but are related and share the same focus. Any of them can be revisited and revised during planning/teaching process to enhance instructional practice. Each of them will be elaborated in the articles to follow.

If you were an MDL teacher, how would you design Mandarin and NGSS instruction using the story “Little Horse Crossing the River”? For more on Mandarin dual language programs, read Zhaoting Xia’s story

Pictures - from 小马过河 [Little Horse Crossing the River] by Xie (2004)

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The fantasy story tells what happened to Little Horse who took a sack of grain to the mill. He was stopped by a river and was confused about depth of the river after talking to Uncle Ox and Little Squirrel. Then, he returned home asking his mother for help. Mother Horse guided him to analyze and think before he made a decision on his own. Little Horse returned to the river and carefully walked across river although Little Squirrel tried to stop him again. He found out that the river was just right for him, neither too shallow nor too deep.

For other columnists who have used children’s books to aid in dual language teaching, head to the website!

Online resources about the story – “Little Horse Crossing the River”:

  • Versions of the story in simplified ( https://story.beva.com/21/content/xiao-ma-guo-he-3 ) or traditional (http://www.rocidea.com/roc-34851.aspx) Chinese are also accessible.
  • 小马过河 (with animation): https://v.qq.com/x/page/t0310k6j8a8.html; https://story.beva.com/21/content/xiao-ma-guo-he-3
  • 小马过河:看动画,读课文 (with pinyin & highlighter to trace text)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4GnKsBpB4E


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