Kennesaw State conducts federally funded Chinese language program for teachers

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$100,000 National Security Agency grant funds 10-day STARTALK training KENNESAW, Ga. (July 26, 2011…

Georgia (Jul 26, 2011)$100,000 National Security Agency grant funds 10-day STARTALK training

KENNESAW, Ga. (July 26, 2011) — Kennesaw State University was the only site in Georgia to hold a summer teacher training program funded by the National Security Agency to help increase the quality of  P-12 Chinese language programs in the state.

The NSA provided $100,000 for the program, called STARTALK, to expand and improve the teaching and learning of world languages the federal government considers strategically important but which typically are not taught in the U.S., including Chinese, Arabic, Urdu and Hindi. Nearly 450 teacher-training programs, institutes and language camps for students have been funded at sites across the U.S. since 2009.

“We were honored to be selected the first STARTALK teacher program in Georgia,” said Anja Bernardy, associate professor of foreign language education and Kennesaw State’s STARTALK director. “Over the past several years, the increased interest in learning Chinese has led to new Chinese language programs in public and private K-12 schools and community language schools in Georgia. This has created a critical need for professional development programs to help Chinese teachers acquire the pedagogical knowledge and skills they need to effectively facilitate student learning.The grant provides the resources to help meet that need.”

The training emphasizes best practices in language education and language teacher development, as determined by national and state standards. Participants from across Georgia lived on Kennesaw State’s campus and attended all-day sessions on curriculum design, assessment, learning styles and technology.  Guided by Sherry Cheng, a part-time KSU assistant professor and STARTALK instructor, they worked collaboratively to design lesson plans and will continue to do online  research this fall into the pedagogy of teaching Chinese.

Program participants earned three credits for a graduate course titled “Chinese Pedagogical Linguistics.” The credits can be applied toward a Master of Arts in Teaching or the Alternative Teacher Preparation Program, both of which lead to teacher certification in Chinese for P-12.  

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 70 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of more than 23,400 students from 142 countries. 


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit