Bellaire Chinese Teacher Wins College Board Award
The College Board plans to honor a Bellaire High School teacher this week for showing dedication and innovation while teaching her pre-AP Chinese Language classes.
Sarah Chu-Chao Tsai has won a 2010 Southwestern Region AP Award from the College Board. The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated long-term and multifaceted involvement with the AP Program. Tsai will accept the award at the Southwestern Regional Forum in Austin on Thursday and Friday.
“What motivates students to learn, and to retain/ apply what they learn is the main focus of my teaching,” said Tsai in a statement. “Students have to become comfortable speaking Chinese to learn vocabulary and gain proficiency.”
She said that when first learning the language, students typically retain more information and develop better listening skills if they are not using a textbook. Students may learn more vocabulary words using a book, but they won’t remember them the next semester, Tsai said.
Tsai regularly speaks about teaching strategies at AP College Board conferences and has adopted the organization’s course guidelines into her curriculum. She works closely with AP Chinese teacher Sandra Huang to prepare students for the AP exam offered in May. Last year, 38 students took the AP Chinese exam, with 95 percent earning the highest score.
Tsai has taught at Bellaire High for three years. Previously she earned a PhD from Old Dominion University in Virginia, and she initiated a Chinese language and culture program in Virginia Beach. Dr. Tsai has been a panelist on the Chinese textbook adoption committee at HISD and also teaches at the University of St. Thomas.