Chinese music and dramatic arts transform the Mandarin language classroom in dynamic ways, bringing language and culture to life while also teaching musicianship and acting skills. Dubbed, "Chinese Alive!" this new initiative connects the UCLA Confucius Institute with i.am College Track and i.am Angel Foundation.
The lead singer of the pop group Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am, launched the i.am.angel foundation in 2009 to transform lives “through education, inspiration and opportunity.” Given will.i.am's background as a creative artist and recognizing that there are many pathways to connect with China, the UCLA Confucius Institute designed a unique program that aims to develop linguistic, cultural and artistic knowledge of China while also connecting to LA history and contemporary social life. The high school students at Roosevelt High School, through this unique initiative, have been the beneficiaries of this fun and interactive program.
On Mondays students receive lessons in reading Chinese music, playing the erhu, and recognizing some traditional instruments and how they are used. On Wednesdays, the students play theater games designed to enhance speaking and acting skills (in English as well as Chinese) and are learning the story of "The White Snake," one of the most famous Chinese plays, a portion of which they will learn to perform in Chinese later in the year. On Fridays, the students receive Mandarin language training. Fridays' vocabulary and lessons are selected with an eye toward preparing the students to visit China in the summer of 2014. As part of the cultural experience, the students recently enjoyed a tour of Los Angeles Chinatown and a Chinese dinner where they tasted Chinese food while practicing using their chopsticks!
Here's a video highlighting the program: http://youtu.be/fVGiAO2XnVY.