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UCB Big Ideas Competition: Chinese Cultural Promotion in American

With a leader from UCB, four community college students were able to participate in UCB Big Ideas Competition 2019. Below is their application essay:


Rediscover the “Old World”— Chinese Cultural Promotion in American Society


Nowadays, Chinese Americans usually use English to communicate. They don't have the motivation to learn the Chinese language. They don’t know why they need to study the Chinese language. Despite their Chinese identity, some may say they are also Americans at the same time. This dual identity makes them misrecognize Chinese culture, as their cultural basis. The United States is a multicultural country, but the Chinese American group has lost a lot about its origin. They no longer have traditional Chinese festivals, Chinese communicating skills, and don’t wear traditional Chinese costumes. However, there are bilingual schools in both Chinese and English, the problem still exists. “Although 40% of the Chinese-dominant parents want their children to speak only in Chinese, mere 29% of the Chinese-dominant parents spoke to their children only in Chinese. The majority of the English-dominant parents spoke to their children exclusively (61.3%) or mostly (35.5%) in English. Children of Chinese-dominant parents spoke more Chinese with their siblings than did children of English-dominant parents.”(Lao, 111 )This paper analyzes the loss of traditional Chinese culture in the United States today.

An analysis of the absence of Chinese American traditional culture

The main drawbacks of the absence of Chinese-American traditional culture in contemporary society are as follows

1) lack of motivation to learn Chinese 2) not understanding the value and meaning of Chinese 3) the potential double embarrassment of having a double identity (identity is

misrecognized without a firm cultural basis) 4) lack of understanding and respect from ethnic Chinese minorities 5) lose of interest (language culture, clothing culture, food culture, festival

culture) 6) it leads to a deeper cultural collision and integration, reducing talent Chinese American is not a small number, causing a significant demand for

bilingual school. The development of Chinese schools is as follows: 1) founded by Chinese-related professionals, such as first-generation immigrants

or teachers who have a degree in Chinese major. Cantonese Chinese schools are the main body of which now. Despite the small number, it is promising that this industry would grow fast in the future.

2) the Mandarin Chinese School, founded in the mid-1960s by a large number of Taiwanese students in the United States. They received support from the Taiwan

Overseas Chinese committee in various aspects and asked the Chinese language to list one of the foreign language test languages such as the SAT in 1994.

3) the Pinyin(system to spell Chinese Character), a Chinese language school run by mainland Chinese students since the early 1990s. Attached to the university they attend, using the university's human and site resources. Chinese schools with a mainland background cannot be compared with Chinese schools with a Taiwanese background in terms of economic strength and school size, but the motivation and dedication of the school operators are equally valuable, as well as their cultural level and educational level.

Bilingual or multilingual teaching style leaves children at risk of mastering neither Chinese or English, not to mention digging deeper into their underlying meaning. Second, learning Chinese for the SAT in junior and senior high school can lead to a loss of interest in the language. Many children now don't have any capability to speak or listening to Chinese besides knowing a few Chinese characters.

However, having multicultural edification will render children critical thinking, more thoroughly and profoundly to think over the problem. It is also possible to analyze the problem from the two-sided culture and think about its value. Moreover, the popularization of Chinese education will provide US society with more diversity, as well as increasing recognition of other minor cultures.

In 2014, a group of students from Duke university interviewed 40 Asian American and attached a sentence they'd most like to say to people who misunderstand them, to evoke understanding and respect for minorities. “I am sad that I am losing language I am homesick sometimes, but I am not sure for wherever It saddens me that I am unable to communicate with my relatives in China.”

Proposed Innovation

For an individual who has a deep understanding of his/her cultures, he/she can hold a deeply intellectual way of thinking and cultural confidence. However, this individual has to go through systematical learning that offers deep intellectual thoughts.

Since the level of Chinese education distributed to ethnic Chinese children is uneven, some of these children are doing better but the other cannot read once they have left the phonetic symbols and Pinyin. Learning Deep Cultural Connotation can promote the brain development of children and teenagers, as well as expand memory and enhance linguistic abilities. It can also provide strong support for children's future development so that they can lay a foundation for self-realization in the future.

Our idea is to make a set of traditional culture teaching materials to let more people know and like Chinese culture. We are not trying to “Chinesify” the children of American ethnic Chinese but to cultivate more multicultural talents and promote the healthy development of multicultural society. We can target three different stages, children, Juvenile, teenagers.


6-10 years old:

1. Use Children’s stories (in English and Chinese) to connect some of the virtues of traditional culture, so that traditional culture can be fused in the inside, former accelerates the pre-custom morality to the custom morality period.

2. With cards and stories to lead them to recite some of the ancient poetry and classical Chinese

3. Designing fun games and exercises (which can permeate literature, morality and traditional virtues) Juvenile 10-13 years:

1. Add a celebrity biography to the textbook to give the child a sense of self and identity.

2. Do some exposition of historical stories, ancient poems, and classics, let them build up a knowledge of Chinese culture first.

3. Learn hundreds of family names so that they can find their interesting names. And learn about the culture of your people, the origin of your family, the origin of your name. Knowing the meaning of your name, and history and their family names. 13-15 years:

1. Do Popular Science according to your interests. (four arts of the Chinese scholar, philosophy of history, Chinese dance and martial arts)

2. Do Some Chinese-American cultural improvement integration courses (or textbooks), such as painting can do creative painting, or creative dishes (or baking), open Chinese folk music, classical music, and European and American music creative integration)

3. Textbooks should include a proper amount of biographies and historical stories of famous people, as well as questions with a certain level of thought. Allow students to discuss, debate, and think about their relationships with themselves, family, and society

4. With the adequate amount of open-ended questions and stories, children can be willing to learn about Chinese culture and history. Teenagers 16-18 years:

1. Do an open-ended debate once a semester (to encourage children to read and think spontaneously, and to help them build a better world view)

2. The use of some biographies of Chinese greats and interspersed with biographies of the world’s greats has triggered thinking about the planning of one's career. And to think about what kind of person they are

3. A non-profit organization could be set up so that children of teenagers can enrich their extracurricular lives. The organization could hold activities, such as debates, lectures, study tours, and internships. More importantly, it allows them to give feedback on the organization and allows them to improve the organization, the school, and the updating of textbooks.

Let the fusion of traditional Chinese culture become a virtuous cycle, thus the development of more international talent, a collision of a better multi-cultural creates better works.

Team Biographies

Xiaoxiao Huang (Economics & History, Undergraduate Student): Project Director

Xiaoxiao Huang has launched a non-profit organization to teach kids from neighboring communities about diverse subjects as well as lead them to explore lifelong interests. He also participates in a social platform that aims to provide internship and volunteering opportunities for local college students.

Haozhi Tong (Economics, Undergraduate Student): Idea Analyst

Haozhi Tong is a student at Berkeley City College who specializes in communication. He has strong communicative skills and can help us with Chinese American lectures. In 2017, he was studying tour teaches Chinese in kindergarten

Charles Zhou(Art, Undergraduate Student): Cooperator

Charles Zhou, a Berkeley City College student who can show Chinese artworks to people. Charles actively participated in teaching activities in high school.

Yuyang Xing (Economics, Undergraduate Student): General Reviewer)

Yuyang Xing’s family is engaged in education, she can show the advantages of Chinese education and attractive places in a professional form. After the school in Alameda, USA, Yuying volunteered. Teaching children to read Chinese classics in the community church of Cupertino (Chinese traditional culture, volunteers)

Yitao Zhao (Engineering, Undergraduate Student): Drawback Examiner

Yitao Zhao is deeply immersed into Chinese cultural subjects and have special understanding of such a topic.


Huang, Fei. “What Will Happen If China Lost Its Traditional Cultures, and Why’s That? People’s Living Habits, Views, and Values Are Deeply Affected my Traditional Cultures.” ZhiHu, 24 May 2017. Accessed 17 November 2019.

Kamenetz, Anya. “6 Potential Brain Benefits of Bilingual Education.” NPR, 29 November 2016. brain-benefits-of-bilingual-education. Accessed 17 November 2019.

Lao, Christy. “Parents Attitudes Toward Chinese–English Bilingual Education and Chinese-Language Use.” Bilingual Research Journal, vol. 28, no. 1, 2004, pp. 99–121

Liping. “The Talk About The Sons And Daughters Studying Overseas,” Stanford Chinese School, Time Written Not Specified,, Accessed 17 November 2019.

Lin, Guoyu. “The Embarrassment of Ethnic Chinese Living In the USA, Misunderstood By Chinese, Discriminated By Americans,” ZhiHu, 05 Feb 2017, Accessed 17 November 2019.

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