Confucius Institute celebration goes to great lengths at MCLIMS

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Students, parents and community members experienced a rare treat at the Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School last week. They were strung along as top chefs from China demonstrated the unique technique of noodle-making at the Taste of China presentation in celebration of the International Confucius Institute’s 10th anniversary.

The HISD Confucius Institute was founded in 2013, and as a member of the world-wide organization, its mission is to promote Chinese language and culture through partnerships, exchange programs and instruction.

During MCLIMS’s Mid Autumn Festival, the Confucius Institute hosted a “Taste of China.” Bo Sun, a Westside HS teacher, provided a brief history of Chinese cuisine. Then, one of China’s best chefs whipped a single pile of dough up and down, twisted it, stretched it and hand pulled it into hundreds of long, extremely thin noodles. The noodles, which took four people to hold at their full length, were offered to the students, to their delight. Afterward, the audience sampled Chinese flaky pastries, moon cakes, and steamed rolls.

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Due in part to the district’s dual language program and MCLIMS, the HISD Confucius Institute is the only K-12 institute in the state of Texas. The institute provides support for the district’s rigorous Chinese programs, which prepare students to be competitive on a national and global level. The institute also provides professional development for Confucius classroom teachers, fosters collaboration among the HISD community for the purpose of strengthening awareness of Chinese heritage and culture, and serves as a resource center for world language teachers.

“We live in an international world,” said Harvin Moore, HISD District VII trustee, “and we are trying to make foreign language acquisition a very important target for all of our kids. HISD is unique for teaching Chinese, and we get support for the program through the Confucius Institute.”

The previous evening, the Institute held a dinner for its strategic partners, community leaders, HISD administrators, Chinese-language teachers and delegates from the China Cuisine Association at E Café. Students from MCLIMS introduced the legend of tea, and Kolter Elementary students meticulously performed a tea ceremony. The Kolter students’ authentic re-creation of the ceremony impressed local dignitaries and members of the Chinese delegation alike.