Program History (2008–2023)

The 2023 Virginia STARTALK Chinese Teacher Academy (VSCTA) strives for excellence in preparing Chinese language teachers to teach online. The program offers graduate course credits to enhance and advance participants’ teaching credentials toward the pursuit or renewal of their certificate in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. With proven excellence and glowing testimonials from teacher participants since 2008, the VSCTA program at the University of Virginia (UVA) has established an excellent reputation for academic rigor and quality training and continues to inspire Chinese language educators. Through UVA STARTALK’s innovative training model, participants develop strong global leadership for teaching in Mandarin Chinese through face-to-face, hybrid, and online instructional modes.  

In its first eight years (2008–2015), UVA STARTALK successfully implemented in-person teacher training and practicum. With a combination program in 2016–2019, UVA STARTALK demonstrated its ability to also prepare teachers to teach online. In response to the high demands for online teaching with the outbreak of COVID-19, the UVA STARTALK team mobilized quickly to launch free training sessions for the wider Chinese language teaching community in 2020. Many UVA STARTALK Teaching Fellows acted as regional leaders and played impactful roles in offering free online sharing sessions in different regions of the nation. We feel enormously grateful for the continual federal funding in the past thirteen years, and for the opportunity to help our community face the challenges of such a critical and challenging time.

The 2021 program marked a milestone for a new programmatic framework: the program length was extended beyond intensive summer training to also include fall teaching in local classrooms. This has proven to be the most effective design for transitioning to “real” teaching through a seamless coaching and reflective process. The 2023 program will continue to build on the success of the 2021 innovative model to help fulfill teachers’ individualized professional goals in accordance with the educational endeavors of their local schools.