UN-stoppable: Chinese teachers honored at UN for publishing textbooks next year


Chinese teachers Kattie Xu and Chen Chen pose for a picture at the UN after being honored for their work. Credit: Kattie Xu

Alice He

Upper school Chinese teacher Kattie Xu and middle school Chinese teacher Chen Chen gave a speech about their innovative approach to Chinese education at the United Nations headquarters in New York for Chinese Language Day on April 20.

The UN organizes Chinese Language Day annually in order to allow teachers from various different countries to discuss their classroom experiences and exchange ideas about how to best educate their students.
Xu said she thought her presentation was well-received.

“A lot of the teachers asked for my WeChat account to stay updated with the system,” Xu said. “We have two teachers that will visit my class next month, and then they want to see if they can do that for their school and their classes. I think that it’s a great achievement because we opened [up] to everybody and shared our ideas.”

At the event, Xu and Chen presented the new education website they created to help both students and teachers improve their Chinese skills and courses, respectively.

The online system includes textbook content, quizzes, short movie animations and reading exercises. These materials are especially effective for non-heritage speakers, Xu said.

“When I came here the first year, I found that it is so hard for students to learn Chinese because their parents are not Chinese or they have no chance to listen or practice at home at all,” Xu said. “They need a very efficient system to help them learn the language at home and help them prepare for the AP test as well.”

Xu first decided to create the website after teaching in San Jose, CA, where her colleagues often used YouTube videos and other online resources to effectively engage their students, she said.

AP Chinese student Clay Skaggs ’20 said that Xu’s online AP review system made studying much easier.

“The system is virtually paperless which means carrying less stuff in my backpack and not losing my work.”
While only the AP Chinese classes currently use the system, Xu said she hopes to expand it in the future.

“Next year, I think I will let my post-AP, AP and Chinese IV students use the program,” she said. “I also want to create another program for the students in Chinese II and III, for the intermediate levels.”