AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Increasing the number of African American students in undergraduate level classes of Chinese| A call to action

by Huiwen Li

Institution: Duquesne University
Year: 2016
Keywords: African American studies; Foreign language education; Educational leadership; Higher education
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2122536
Full text PDF: http://pqdtopen.proquest.com/#viewpdf?dispub=10109503


Chinese language is the only ideographic language remaining in the world (Osaka, 1976). It conveys affluent Chinese culture and has great influences on the East Asian countries (Miyake, 2013). In the economic globalization of the world, China’s economy and international influence are expanding. For these reasons and many more the Chinese language is widely accepted as one of the major world languages. It makes sense then Chinese language classes are experiencing popularity and growth with United States undergraduates. Despite this growth, however, the enrollment of African American students is constantly low in college Chinese language classrooms (Li, Wen, & Xie, 2014). This call to action argues that this low representation of African American students lies on a course promotion system that denies African American students a preliminary learning opportunity that systematically limits their representation in Chinese language classrooms from the beginning. This call for action examines systematic avenues for creating early opportunities. First the study explores the utility of offering African American students an informational workshop introducing the features of the language and the potential benefits of learning it. Next the study examines the leverage that could be gained by providing direct feedback and assessing student interest to explore whether students are more inclined to enroll in Chinese language courses following the information workshop. Such a process could lead to suggested policy changes that might close the enrollment gap between the African American students and their peers. This call for action considers the reality that even a well-designed action plan may not always produce positive consequences. Therefore, an impact evaluation is explored along with suggested instruments and uses. Finally possible outcomes of an impact evaluation are described. To ground this call for action, a set of foundational theories are employed that mainly include networked improvement communities, leadership and teamwork, and critical theories. The call for action strongly suggests the iterative cycle of Plan, Design, Study, and Act (PDSA) of the NIC improvement science (Bryk, Gomez, & Grunow, 2011) in the change process beginning with the examination of a local four-year university Chinese Studies Program.