Teacher Program

Teacher program overview

The Michigan STARTALK Chinese Teacher Academy (MSCTA) begins with one-week online training (July 2- 6), followed by 3-week onsite training and practicum at the Western Michigan University (WMU) (July 9-27) and one-week online practicum (July 30-August 3). The MSCTA program aims to recruit five experienced Chinese teachers (more than 3-years teaching experience) and ten prospective and novice (0-2 years of teaching experience) Chinese teachers from public/private K-12 schools, colleges, graduate programs, and heritage/community schools. 

Since 2016, the Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies (TLES) has been in collaboration with various departments such as the Department of World Languages and Literatures, and Special Education Department at WMU to offer a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Chinese as a Second Language program. This is a state-approved post-baccalaureate initial teacher certification program that leads to Michigan Teaching Certification. Thus, in conjunction with WMU’s Teacher Certification Program, after the program, the participants will have three pathways that lead to certification i.e., add a minor endorsement (20 credit hours) in their initial teaching certificate, the initial teacher certificate program (26 credit hours) or the master program (33 credit hours).

Prior to the face-to-face training session, participants will engage in one-week (10 hours) synchronous and asynchronous online training. Participants will study online modules and attend webinars presentations on topics related to second language acquisition theories, Chinese linguistic, NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements, Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) Web-based learning modules, STARTALK Multimedia Teacher Workshop Collection, STARTALK Teaching Heritage Languages Online Workshops and the Five C's: Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities. 

In the first week of the face-to-face training session, participants are required to design linguistically and culturally rich lessons based on the STARTALK-endorsed principles, ACTFL World-Readiness Standards using the Backward Design approach for their micro-teaching sessions. After that, participants will be co-teaching with instructors in the student program for 2-weeks and individual practicum. This will allow participants to transfer new knowledge and skills into an authentic class. 

Collectively, at the end of the program, participants will be able to plan student learning experiences based on local curriculum and state and national standards, frequently check for understanding in a variety of ways throughout the lesson, engage in self-assessment and peer review to monitor progress toward the targeted performance objectives and their own language and culture goals, and use processes that allow them to analyze and reflect on their current teaching practices. 

STARTALK principles for effective teaching and learning

Listed below are the STARTALK principles for effective teaching and learning that were focused on for the duration of the program:

  1. Implementing a standards-based and thematically organized curriculum
  2. Facilitating a learner-centered classroom
  3. Using target language and providing comprehensible input for instruction
  4. Integrating culture, content, and language
  5. Adapting and using age-appropriate authentic materials
  6. Conducting performance-based assessment (authentic tasks & rubrics)

Teacher application information


Experienced Chinese teachers (more than 3-year teaching experience) and prospective and novice (0-2 years of teaching experience) Chinese teachers from public/private K-12 schools, colleges, graduate programs, and heritage/community schools are welcomed to apply this program.

Number of teachers recruited 

The program aims to recruit 15 experienced and novice Chinese language teachers. 

Personal expenses

Teacher participants are responsible for arranging transportation from/to the residential site, laundry, and meals on weekends when no classes or training sessions are scheduled, and any personal trips over the weekend during the program.  

Course credit and tuition

The program offers 3 credits for the graduate level course on Teaching Chinese As a Second Language offered by the College of Education and Human Development at WMU. Teacher participants who are interested in obtaining credits will pay tuition and associated fee at their own expense. Participants who are registered for graduate credits will be given $600.00 as a scholarship. Those who do not need to obtain credits will not need to pay any program fee. Teachers should make a decision on the number of credits and complete the online registration process by May 31, 2018 according to WMU regulations. 

Credit transfer toward the teacher certification 

You are fully responsible for credit transfer toward your teacher certification. 

Course syllabus

The ED 7120: Professional Field Experience course syllabus will be released to recruited participants who planned to obtain graduate credit after the recruitment process is completed in May. Participation in class may be in English or Chinese. Teacher participants should be competent in English in order to finish reading training materials in a timely fashion and successfully complete daily tasks and the E-portfolio.


Online Training: July 2 - 6, 2018

Face-to-face: July 9 - 27, 2018

Online Practicum: July 30 - August 3, 2018

Program Schedule

Week 1: July 2 - 6 (Monday-Friday) online training

Online training involves synchronous interactive sessions, and asynchronous self-learning, assessment, and discussions. The synchronous interactive sessions will be scheduled in the evening in order to accommodate teacher participants’ availability in different time zones. The time commitment to synchronous training that allows trainees to interact with trainers and their peers is 10 hours during this week. Tutorial sessions and office hours will be offered to facilitate individualized learning.   

Week 2-4: July 9 - 27 (Monday-Friday) onsite training

Teacher participants should arrive at the residential site by 2pm, Sunday, July 8. Campus tour and orientation begins at 3pm, and a welcome dinner begins at 6pm. Full-day training begins on July 9 until Friday on July 27.

Week 5: July 30 - August 3 (Monday-Friday) online practicum

Teacher participants continue to work with peer teachers and the cohort team to complete online practicum at home. An online closing ceremony will be held on August 3.   

Masters in teaching at WMU

Visit the Master of Arts in teaching website for more information on the Chinese as a Second Language program at WMU.