RPDC: Take a Cultural Plunge this Summer!

Blog post by Marlow Barton, MELL Instructional Specialist

St. Louis provides many opportunities to explore the different cultures of our students this summer!

blog post byOn a recent visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden, I noticed large, colorful and interesting lanterns being placed all over the garden for the upcoming Chinese Lantern Festival. I began to reflect upon the Chinese speaking ELL children I had in my classes when I taught English to children in various districts around St. Louis and how much I enjoyed having them as students. I loved learning about their families and cultural backgrounds.

As I reflected, I started to wonder what the Chinese population is in St. Louis as I have noticed many activities this summer about Chinese culture. According to the Chinese Culture and Education Foundation, “various unofficial estimates show the figure from 15,000 to 20,000, among which a predominant majority reside in suburban communities and constitutes one percent of the total suburban population of St. Louis.”

In addition to the Chinese Lantern Festival, the Magic House is sponsoring Children’s China: Celebrating Culture, Character and Confucious. Can’t get enough of Chinese culture? Check out the Dragon Boat Races at Creve Coeur Lake!

International Institute | Wayne Crosslin
photo courtesy of the International Institute, Wayne Crosslin

If you are teaching summer school, or tutoring this summer, make sure to check out a cultural artifacts kit from the Office of International Studies at UMSL (cislibrary@umsl.edu). UMSL has kits from many countries, including one from China.

Want to experience other cultures? Try the Festival of Nations from the International Institute of Saint Louis or the Japanese Art Exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum called Creatures Great and Small.

All of this got me thinking it would be fun to try to experience something from each of the countries where my students and their families originated. So don’t sit around inside all summer- take a trip around the world right here in our own city!

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