American high school students recently competed in the 4th annual Chinese Bridge Chinese speech contest in Boston. From the CCTV report on the event:
Students with one or two years of high school Chinese participated in small group dialogues on topics related to everyday life, while students with more than two years of Chinese language study presented individual speeches.
Each student’s performance was evaluated by a panel of Chinese language teachers and native Chinese speakers.
At the climax of the event, the contestants sang the popular song for the Beijing Olympics “Beijing Welcomes You”.
CCTV also has a video, or an amateur video of the New York team’s performance can be seen here:
Learn more about the contest here.
Meanwhile, in China, American culture and language is being spread by Mickey Mouse. This is nothing new, but Disney has taken it to a whole new level by opening English-language schools to tap into growing demand for English-language education and a potential market of millions of impressionable young students. The Wall Street Journal reports:
The company says the initiative is primarily about teaching language skills to children, not extending its brand in the world’s most populous nation. But from the oversize Mickey Mouse sculpture in the foyer to diction lessons starring Lilo and Stitch, the company’s flagship school here is filled with Disney references.
Classroom names recall Disney movies, such as “Andy’s Bedroom,” the setting of the “Toy Story” films. To hold the attention of children as young as two years old, there is the Disney Magic Theater, which combines functions of a computer, television and chalkboard and is the main teaching tool.
Disney’s foray into English-language instruction in China comes as the niche industry is booming. McKinsey & Co. estimates that China’s foreign-language business is worth $2.1 billion annually. More than 300 million Chinese are studying English, according to a speech delivered in January by Premier Wen Jiabao.