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Meng Lelan

Middlebury Chinese School

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msittig

Have you sent a link to this post to the people who run Middlebury Chinese? I'm sure they would love this sort of feedback.

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Meng Lelan

Oh, the Prying PR will find this link soon enough on their own power.

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abcdefg

Thanks for the write-up. Might have been a good place for me in my 20's, Sounds like they have some excellent teaching methods. Plus they provide a nurturing "bubble" for those who can't go abroad.

But for now I'll stick with what I'm doing in China. I'm fortunate to have the luxury of prolonged immersion plus a wide variety of interesting real life input.

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Meng Lelan

I think your method is quite ideal, abcdefg.

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rmpalpha

Thanks for mentioning me in your commentary, Meng Lelan :)

I'll probably write up my experiences in Taiwan this summer and post them on these forums soon. The thought of having to speechread for hours in a non-native language makes me tired already - I can't imagine what that would be like.

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Meng Lelan

And I am not even sure you would want to try it. The whole time I was at Middlebury I was thinking "What would rmalpha do about this!!!???!!!".

I am hoping to see your Taiwan write up too as I am hoping to go to Taiwan either in 2013 or 2014, actually 2014 is more possible than 2013 since I want to finish out the blind rehab certificate as fast as I can.

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Meng Lelan

So, I filled out a survey sent out by the Prying PR and for that I got a lousy Middlebury tshirt in the mail today - the one proclaiming "Life doesn't come with subtitles". In English, what else! That PR slogan is emblazoned everywhere at the summer language schools. The PR doesn't seem to know that the Disabilities Office had to tell the Chinese School to make Chinese subtitles accessible to me. And when the Chinese School couldn't find Chinese subtitles they had to find English subtitles.

I am going to write Middlebury a letter telling them it is time to dump the "life doesn't come with subtitles" 口號。

Then I bet the Prying PR will come up with "life doesn't come with interpreters" and some deaf will come along asking for Chinese sign language interpreters, then what will they do.

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Crystalavender

Meng Lelan, thank you for your detailed description of the middlebury program. I will be attending the 6 week MA program this summer at middlebury. Will I have to take a placement test when I get there for the MA program? Also, how did you get to campus from Burlington airport? Did you have a single room during your stay last summer?

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Meng Lelan

No placement test for you, because if you got in already, that means they looked at the tests you have already taken to show your proficiency level. I am guessing you took the OPI, the WPT given by the ACTFL or the HSK. From Burlington Airport there are private cars and shuttles to Middlebury. The trip takes about an hour and will cost $75 or so. Less if you are sharing the ride with others also going to Middlebury. Yes, the grad students all have single rooms but the dorms they get do not have air conditioning and you will have to buy an electric fan and yes Vermont summers have been hotter (!) than Texas summers, at least when I was there last year. Do you know what classes you will be taking yet?

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Crystalavender

I haven't heard anything besides the acceptance letter and financial aid. When would they tell me my classes? How many students were in the Chinese MA program last year? When I had the OPI with Wu Laoshi he mentioned how young I was. I'm 23, so I'm wondering if there are other people around my age doing the program or if they are all older.

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Meng Lelan

That's the problem with Middlebury, they tend to be very last minute with details like what classes will be available. Last year I tried checking the website but they never updated it with the masters classes to be offered. Then in May (I think) we got an email listing the classes to be offered and we emailed back our course selections. There are 30 students in the program. Many of them will be G1 (first ever summer program), a few will be G2 and G3 (second and third summer), and maybe five or so will be in their last summer. Many are native Chinese from their late twenties to early fifties. About five or six are non Chinese in their mid to late twenties.

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Crystalavender

Are the courses that I'm suppose to take over the four years not already set? In your previous posts, you mentioned that you had to take a linguistics, pedagogy, and culture class. I was hoping that I could take a language class like Advanced Chinese 1 or 2 to brush up on my chinese. Is that possible, do you think that's necessary?

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Meng Lelan

Middlebury graduate school more or less rotates through a series of about fifteen or so courses in literature, linguistics, and pedagogy. Maybe eight or so will be offered in any given summer. No two summers are exactly the same. You are not required to attend four consecutive summers but you are given ten years to finish all coursework. A language class like Advanced Chinese 1 or 2 is not going to count towards your master's degree at Middlebury. Then again why do you need brushing up on your Chinese when you already have OPI scores high enough to get into the Middlebury master's program? The summer graduate program with the three classes will take up your time 24/7 and very unlikely you will have time or be allowed to take fourth or fifth year Chinese or something like that in your "free time".

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Crystalavender

I'm only worried because my writing is not very good. The OPI and another assessment that I took only assessed reading comprehension and listening. Did you have to do a lot of writing last year?

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Meng Lelan

Oh, you didn't take the WPI for the writing assessment? I thought that was required to get into Middlebury or maybe that changed. Well, in today's times almost everyone types Chinese into some device using pinyin so maybe now it is less important to remember how to handwrite the characters. Even the native Chinese there did 99% of their writing on some PC or iPad or whatever. As for amount of writing, depends on the class. Yang Laoshi taught Chinese cinema and women in Chinese literature last summer and she is notorious for requiring insane amounts of writing, like a paper every single week. She did offer the option of writing papers in English but I rejected that option because this was supposed to be immersion schooling! For the linguistics class, almost no writing at all, basically all we had to do was do a ppt presentation and a final exam.

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Crystalavender

The courses for the summer 2013 session finally came out online.

CHNS 6501A: Tchng Chinese as For Lang

CHNS 6510A: Introduction to Chinese Lings

CHNS 6550A: CSL Research & Implications

CHNS 6580A: Topics in Chinese Culture

CHNS 6607A: Phonetics

CHNS 6610A: Chinese Pragmatics

CHNS 6618A: Sociolinguistics

CHNS 6650A: Chinese Cinema

Any suggestions?

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Meng Lelan

Don't take Chinese Cinema it was a killer class. Hopefully Ceclila Chang is teaching "Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language", she is amazing, you must take her class! The linguistics class is really easy so take that (well, it was easy for me because I minored in linguistics in my undergraduate years). You will spend a lot of time listening to the linguistics professor tell stories and your classmates will be competing to come up with the most knockout powerpoint presententation of all time. Actually many of them practically copied their powerpoint presentation right out of the linguistics textbook. I see the course offerings as usual are not very imaginative, that is why I am not interested in returning to Middlebury again. Be sure to keep us posted during and after your adventures at Middlebury.

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Crystalavender

So they finally sent us the course descriptions and selection forms. Unfortunately Cecilia Chang is not one of the teachers for the MA program this summer. The professors they have are Yuling Yang, Wenhao Diao, Yu Zhang, and Shi Feng.

The courses that I'm thinking of taking are:

Intro to linguistics - Yuling Yang

Principles and practices of teaching chinese as a foreign language - Wenhao Diao

Topics in Chinese culture - Yu Zhang

Any thoughts or comments for either the courses or professors?

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Meng Lelan

Not a good thing that Cecila Chang isn't coming back this summer. She was stellar. Shi Feng, I had him for linguistics last summer and I don't feel like I got anything out of that class. The other professors, I don't know them. Maybe someone here in Chinese Forums knows them and can advise you.

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