China teaching: The rise of Confucius Institutes

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The students and teacher pictured are at the L.A. Unified School District’s Broadway Elementary School in Venice, where 240 students are enrolled in a Mandarin immersion program.

The students and teacher pictured are at the L.A. Unified School District’s Broadway Elementary School in Venice, where 240 students are enrolled in a Mandarin immersion program.

China’s rapid rise as a global industrial and financial power is well known. But what gets less attention is the country’s efforts to become a global cultural and educational leader, seeking to make its mark in the world’s classrooms as well as its factory floors and stock exchanges.

China’s doing just that through a system of Confucius Institutes its opened around the world in recent years. The institutes specialize in teaching the Mandarin language and Chinese culture. In the United States dozens of Confucius Institutes are affiliated with colleges and universities. They’ve also helped to start Chinese language classes in public school districts, including the Los Angeles Unified School District.

I visited Broadway Elementary,  an LAUSD school where 240 public school kids are learning Mandarin in a Confucius Institute and found out more about the global phenomenon. Listen below: