FAQs for the Mandarin Chinese Dual Language Immersion Program

FAQs for the Mandarin Chinese Dual Language Immersion Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Mandarin Immersion in ABES


What are the qualifications of the Mandarin teacher?

A Mandarin teacher is required to have the California Multiple Subject Credential with a Mandarin BCLAD (Bilingual Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development).


How much Mandarin is taught each day?

We are what’s called a 50/50 Dual Immersion program. 50% of the instructional time is in Mandarin and 50% is in English.  The goal is to teach grade level content standards through both languages, so that by the time the students are in upper grades, they are proficient academically in both languages.


How much Mandarin can I expect my child to learn in the kinder year?

Speaking and listening are emphasized more than word recognition initially. By the end of the year, most kindergarteners will learn to write 80 Mandarin characters.  Students will be taught based on the Common Core State Standards in Mandarin and English.


When will my child be fluent in Mandarin?

We use ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Can-Do Statements as progress indicators for our Mandarin learners. They are checklists to assess what they “can do” with language in different modes of communication. Below is the learning objectives by end of Kindergarten year:


Interpretive Listening

Presentational Speaking

Interpretive Reading

Presentational Writing





I can recognize some familiar words and phrases when I hear them spoken.


I can understand a few courtesy phrases such as greetings.

I can present information about myself and some other very familiar topics using single words or memorized phrases.


I can introduce myself to a group.

I can recognize a few characters. I can identify a few memorized words and phrases when I read.


I can connect some characters to their meanings.

I can copy some familiar characters or phrases on the wall or board, in a book, or on the computer.


I can copy a simple phrase like “Happy Birthday”, “Happy Holidays”, etc.


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How is student’s language proficiency assessed?

    There will be formative assessment, summative assessment and curriculum-based assessment developed by teachers to monitor students’ learning throughout the year. Report card reflecting students’ Mandarin proficiency will also be developed. In third grade, we plan to either adopt ACTFL Assessment of Performance Toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) or Youth Chinese Test (YCT) from Education Department of China.


Is traditional or simplified Chinese used in the classrooms?

    Simplified characters are taught in the classrooms.


Do you teach Pinyin?

Pinyin will be introduced when students are in second grade.


How will the kids learn English?

The purpose of the immersion program is not only to teach Mandarin, but to teach grade level content in both English and Mandarin. Students will take all the District and State-required assessments in English. English Language Arts is a required component of their instructional day.


What enrichment classes are in the kindergarten schedule?

Aside from the Mandarin component, the Immersion class operates exactly the same as the English kindergarten class at Adobe Bluffs. It is not separated from the rest of the school.


How can I help my child learn the language if I do not speak Mandarin?

Teachers will send home supporting materials when appropriate. If we purchase online resources,  parents can help their children with reviewing the content online.


May I volunteer in the Mandarin classroom if I do not speak Mandarin?

It is suggested that volunteers do not speak to the Chinese teacher in English in the presence of the children but it is possible to do quiet work for the teacher. Volunteers are invited to help in the classroom at the discretion of the teachers and by appointment only. Parents who are interested in volunteering on campus during school hours should visit the office to obtain the required forms.


For what grades is the Mandarin Immersion Program offered?

Currently, the Mandarin Immersion Program is offered to incoming Kindergarten students for the 2018-2019 school year.


May I enroll my child in the Mandarin Immersion program in a later grade?

A child may enter the program in Kindergarten. Entrance into any grade beyond Kindergarten requires passing language tests to indicate proficiency in both Mandarin and English when there is a space.


How are the Mandarin Program students projected to score on standardized tests?

Research indicates that when children are proficient in two languages, they score higher than their monolingual peers on standardized tests.


How does Kinder immersion students daily schedule look like?

Students spend half of the school day learning Mandarin and the other half of the day learning English.

For regular school days---

7:45 am--10:45 am ELA (English Language Arts)or CLA (Chinese Language Arts)

Morning Recess: 9:45 am -10:15 am

10:45 am--2:05 pm CLA or ELA

Lunch Recess: 11:25--12:05 pm

For Thursdays---

7:45 am--9:20 am ELA or CLA

10:15 am --12:25 pm CLA or ELA


What subjects are taught in Mandarin and/or English?

English/ 2.5 hrs

Mandarin /2.5 hrs

English Language Arts


Social Studies reinforcement

Chinese Language Arts


Social Studies

Will my child have a chance to learn Mandarin if he/she is not enrolled in the Immersion program?

Yes. In ABES, we offer school-wide Mandarin FLES (Foreign Language for Elementary School) program from TK to 5th grade. Students are exposed in Mandarin language and culture two times a week for 30 minutes each lesson.


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