ISI 2015 CAIS Online Course Interview Project by Adam Ross

created on Sep 22, 2015 modified on Jun 24, 2016 08:26


As part of an online class in advanced Chinese (designed for CAIS graduates when they are in high school, as well as for other qualified students), we will investigate challenges immigrants from China face when they immigrate to North America. Most students in the course in the course will have learned about Chinese immigration to California (and to North America in general) in Lower and Middle School. In addition, they will have had some experience interviewing Chinese people-on-the-street in their study abroad experiences in China. This focus is to engage students with, and learn from, Chinese people in their local communities in a deeper way – to engage in interviews of Chinese immigrants, and to retell their stories in a video production. Completed videos will be uploaded to a website and featured as a “This Chinese-American Life” series of short video essays on Chinese immigrants. The goal will be to share these videos with other Chinese teachers and students of Chinese to serve as sources for student learning, enrichment and inquiry.

National Foreign Language Resource Center
Adam Ross

Language: Chinese, English

Subject Area(s): emigration/immigration, ethnic identity, language and literature, society

Instructional Context

Heritage Learners:

Product Description:
Students will create video mini-documentaries about their interview subject, creating the video mostly in voice-over to showcase their own oral production in this advanced-level performance task. Videos will be uploaded to Vimeo and shared on a website with a larger audience.

Product Target Culture:

Target Audience Description:
Grade Levels 6-8, High School

Audience Location:

Audience Role:
Viewers online will be able to make comments on the videos (and requested to do so in Chinese.)

Language Proficiency

ACTFL Scale:
6 7 8

ILR Scale Listening:
2 3

ILR Scale Reading:

ILR Scale Speaking:
2 3

ILR Scale Writing:
0 2

World Readiness Standards


Lifelong Learning
School and Global

Cultural comparisons

Acquiring Information and Diverse Perspectives
Making Connections

Relating Cultural Practices to Perspectives
Relating Cultural Products to Perspectives

21st Century Skills

Information, Media, and Technology Skills
Creativity and Innovation
Media Literacy
Technology Literacy

Interdisciplinary Themes
Global Awareness

Life and Career Skills
Initiative and Self-Direction
Productivity and Accountability
Social and Cross Cultural Skills

Project Sequence Overview

Preparing for the Project

1. "I Have Something to Say" - Students will watch an authentic news clips asking passersby on the street whether they think it is difficult to immigrate to the U.S. more detail

2. "Birth Tourism" in the US - Students will engage with another video news report on the issue of "birth tourism" (Pregnant Chinese women who come to the US to have their babies in order to gain citizenship for their children). more detail

Launching the Project

1. Investigating Historical Chinese Immigration, and the Chinese-American Exclusion Act - Students will watch two videos, and read a short graphic novel (in English) showing features on recent exhibitions on Chinese-American immigration. more detail

2. Developing a Driving Question - Students will engage in discussion to discuss a proposed driving question and hone it into a frame that fits their interests. more detail

Managing the Project

1. Preparing for the Interview Project - Formulating Questions and Mock Interviews - Students will formulate appropriate lists of interview questions to use in their interviews, as well as develop a statement of purpose in Chinese to explain to their subjects in Chinese. more detail

2. "Farewell Vancouver" Serial Drama - As an adjunct to the project, students will watch and discuss several episodes of a Chinese serial drama "Farewell, Vancouver" 别了,温哥华, which features storylines about a number of Beijing Chinese who have either immigrated or are studying abroad in Vancouver, Canada. more detail


1. Interviews of Chinese-Immigrants and Creation of Video Projects - This is the culminating project of the unit - students videorecord interviews with their Chinese immigrant subjects, and edit them into a narrative (featuring students' own voice-over narrative) into a "This Chinese-American Life" Project. more detail