Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey has participated in a nation-wide competition to host a Teachers of Critical Language Program (TCLP) teacher and is one of a total of 26 schools that have been awarded. Niu Xiuqing from China will teach Chinese at Columbia High School for a full academic year.

TCLP is designed to increase the study and acquisition of important world languages in U.S. schools. This program enables primary and secondary schools to strengthen their teaching of critical languages by bringing Chinese, Egyptian, and Moroccan teachers to the U.S. to teach their native Arabic and Chinese language for an academic year. Launched in 2006, TCLP has launched or expanded over 165 critical language programs in K-12 schools throughout the United States.

In addition to receiving a native speaker of Chinese or Arabic to teach language classes, students, teachers, and community members have the opportunity learn about the TCLP exchange teachers’ home countries, expanding their understanding of the world and preparing them for the global workforce. In return, exchange teachers gain first-hand knowledge of the United States to share with students and fellow teachers in their home countries reaching beyond stereotypes and assisting America’s positioning to effectively do business in the world. Through TCLP, many schools establish lasting bonds with their exchange teachers’ home schools abroad.  

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TCLP is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, private-sector, professional and sports exchange programs. These exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes and emerging leaders in the United States and in more than 160 countries. Alumni of ECA exchanges comprise over one million people around the world, including more than 50 Nobel Laureates and more than 350 current or former heads of state and government.

TCLP is implemented by American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, an international nonprofit organization that prepares individuals and institutions to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world. Since 1974, American Councils has responded to the needs of the communities where it works with hundreds of robust, international education programs that include academic exchanges, language immersion, testing and assessment, professional training, community development, and scholarly research.