Encourage Learning Confidence in Young Students

20150525_092814It’s easy for kids to throw in the towel when they’re facing something new or slightly challenging. I was a kid too, so I understand that feeling! Adults sometimes do that even though they’re capable of accomplishing whatever they wanted to in the first place. It’s a frustrating dilemma, especially because everyone has the capacity to do so much in this world. As a BCLC teacher, part of my job is to help bring out our students’ potential and prove to them that they are smart, capable individuals who can aspire to be whatever they want with the right amount of hard work. There are times when my students see a small new detail on an assignment and panic. They ask me, “Co Nini, this is too hard! Or, I don’t know how to do this!” even though they’ve already been completing those kinds of assignments with ease. Most of the time I tell them that I know that they can do it – because they can – and that I believe in them – because I do! After they spend a few minutes looking at the assignment, they end up answering all the problems correctly, and it’s a great feeling.

20140928_114444I face this kind of scenario a lot with one of my smartest students, Tyler. He’s a great kid. He loves to draw and is always very imaginative. However, sometimes when we do work he gets a little self-conscious about his answers and doesn’t want to answer anymore because he’s afraid he’s wrong or because he doesn’t think he knows. I do my best to help motivate him and let him see that he’s actually so much greater than he gives himself credit for. During the time that I’ve spent with him, I see a more confident and overall more expressive Tyler. This kind of transition is what’s always pushing me to do my best as a teacher because it reminds me just how important a teacher’s role is. There’s so much more to being a teacher than just teaching, and I’m really grateful to be a BCLC teacher because I feel that BCLC gives me the opportunity to really teach.

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A teaching-learning experience


It’s my second year teaching at BCLC, and I have no qualms with interning here. Everyone is understanding, kind, and hardworking, and working here is fun.  However, my favorite part of the BCLC experience is teaching the kids. Teaching the kids is a two-way street; I teach the students Vietnamese, Math, or English, and in turn, the students teach me so much about themselves and personal growth. I get such a rewarding feeling when I teach these kids. These kids are full of life, unperturbed by the stresses of life, and overall, have an infectious love for life and all of the curiosities for the world.  That’s why teaching one of my students, Olivia, has been such a blast for me.

She’s a vivacious and smart kindergartner and loves the color pink very much.  She’s an avid drawer and while she prefers arts and crafts time over working, she does her best to listen and to complete the work. Among all of those details, she is actually very shy and it’s easy for her to start mumbling when she gets nervous. However, during our class time, she’s very clear and loud, and it makes me so happy to see her so openly excited and articulate about how cute the birds might look like outside the window or how she wants to paint soon.  One might not think much of anything from my observations, but I think that it says a lot about how amazing my role is. I feel like I am actively helping Olivia grow up into a confident and outspoken young girl, and I think that my role in teaching applies to all of my students.  Teaching at BCLC is one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences of my life, as it would be for anyone who gets the chance to sit next to and learn from children.

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Chinese Guest-Host Relations

In China, there is a greater emphasis on pleasing the guest than respecting the ways of the host. For example, in the West it would be rude for a guest to not ask permission to smoke inside a home, whereas in China it would be rude for the host to not allow the guest to smoke.

Chinese hospitality

A good host keeps his or her guest occupied. Visitors are taken out to see local sights and eat at local restaurants.

Refusing is only a politeness

Refusing something, whether refusing a refill or being accompanied to the train station, is merely a politeness. It shows that the guest does not want to be greedy or bother the host. Guests are expected to refuse at least once or twice an offer from the host.


In China, the host will often offer to help carry bags. It is not uncommon for the host to hold one handle of a bag and the guest another handle. This represents teamwork and a natural desire to cooperate.

Personal Space

In China, people stand closer to each other than the do in the Western world. Thus, Chinese hosts stand closer to their guests than Westerners typically do. It should be noted that the Chinese do not hug or embrace as much as Westerners do.

Seeing the Guest Off

A host will see the guest off, not just to the door, but often even to the bus or train station. The host will then wait for the guest’s ride to arrive. This is considered not an inconvenience, but a duty of the host.

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Like K-Pop? Try C-pop!

We’ve all heard of K-Pop. PSY’s song “Gangam Style” made sure of that. While not as well known, China’s pop music is growing. C-pop is divided into three main subgenres: cantopop, mandopop, and hokkien pop. Cantopop is a contraction of “Cantonese pop” and Mandopop a contraction of “Mandarin pop.” C-pop bears many international influences, including rock and jazz, and can be a blanket term for multiple genres of music, including R&B and hip hop.

Here are our top five C-pop artists!

Jane Zhang

image source: people.chinesecio.com

Also known as Zhang Liangying, she rose to national prominence in 2005 after placing 3rd in the television contest, Super Girl. She has appeared in Oprah Winfrey’s show, The World’s Got Talent.

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVFUCsFrNKM

Khalil Fong

image source: shanghai.cultural-china.com

A Mandopop artist, Khalil Fong’s music is fresh and contemporary. His latest single, “Thank you” shows influences of R&B and soul.

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebtlgEJvrlI

Roman Tam

image source: blog.wenxuecity.com

“The Godfather of Cantopop,” Roman Tam is a cultural icon in Chinese communities. Well-respected and courageous, he was the first famous Hong Kong singer to pose in the nude and in drag.


Faye Wong

image source: listal.com

Faye Wong moved to Hong Kong from Beijing to launch her singing career. Combinine alternative music with mainstream C-pop, she has toured world-wide. She is the only C-pop artist to have performed four times in Tokyo’s Budokan. Her ballad, “Eyes on Me,” for the video game Final Fantasy VIII debuted in 1999 and became the world’s best-selling video game soundtrack, at the time.

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhMcu6UL2NA

Eason Chan

image source: timeout.com

A famous singer from Hong Kong, Eason Chan is renowned world-wide. Time magazine hailed him as a front-runner in Cantopop. He was ranked in the top 10 of Forbes China Celebrity Top 100 List. He has won numerous awards, including the Golden Melody Award.

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_Hn67xGvSE

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The Music of Vietnam: Traditional Instruments

Traditional Vietnamese instruments are a diverse array of string, wind, and percussion instruments that create syncretistic music. Traditional Vietnamese music bears Chinese influences and, to a lesser extent, Korean, Mongolian, and Japanese influences.

Here are some great clips of traditional musical instruments.

Dàn bầu– A Vietnamese monochord, or one-string guitar, the đàn bầu dates back to at least 1770. Legend tells of a blind woman playing the instrument at a market to provide for her family while her husband fought in a war. Historically, the instrument was played by blind musicians.


T’rưng– A bamboo xylophone, the t’rưng is closely associated with the spiritual aspects of the Bahnar Giarai peoples in the Vietnamese Central Highlands. Over time, the instrument has become more complex with additional tubes added.


Trống cơm– Also known as a rice drum, it is a bongo-shaped Vietnamese drum. In order to “tune” the surface, a layer of cooked rice is smeared on the surface, hence the name “rice drum.” It is one of the drums used to accompany Cheo drama, and is popular in traditional orchestras.


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Learn More About This Beautiful, Empowering Chinese Garment…

A modern cheongsam for a wedding. Image source: andytailor.com

When people think of Chinese traditional wear, their minds often jump to the Cheongsam, also known as the Qipao. It originated in the Manchurian dynasty, evolving until it reached its peak of popularity during 1912 to 1949. The Cheongsam, a form-fitting women’s dress, features a Mandarin collar, hemmed slits, a fitted waist, and Chinese knots. Made from satin brocade, cotton, or silk, it is often embroidered and decorated.

The History: The original Manchurian form was more loose and covered more of the people. The garment began changing due to Western influences. The hemline rose, the cut became more tailored, and the collar grew smaller. The peak of the garment’s development was during the 1820s and 1830s, when it occupied a high place in women’s fashion. The modern version of the Cheongsam developed in the 1920s, when high-class courtesans and celebrities popularized the tight-fitting Cheongsam. It transformed from covering the female body to celebrating it.

Modern Wear: Today, the Cheongsam is worn to special events such as weddings and festivals. It is becoming more popular than in previous decades, since the Cheongsam fashion was curbed in 1949 with the Communist Revolution. It is also worn as a uniform in certain professions, such as flight attendants.

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BCLC’s Top Picks of Chinese Poetry

1. Thoughts in the Silent Night — Li Bai







Translated by Yang Xianyi & Dai Naidie


Beside my bed a pool of light—

Is it hoarfrost on the ground?

I lift my eyes and see the moon,

I bend my head and think of home

Born in 701, Li Bai was a poetic genius who took romantic poetry to new heights. His poetry helped define the Golden Age of the Tang dynasty. Legend has it that he passed away trying to reach his reflection in water under the moonlight.

2. Grasses — Bai Juyi

白居易 《赋得古原草送别》










Boundless grasses over the plain

Come and go with every season;

Wildfire never quite consumes them —

They are tall once more in the spring wind.

Sweet they press on the old high- road

And reach the crumbling city-gate….

O Prince of Friends, you are gone again….

I hear them sighing after you.

Another poet of the Tang Dynasty, most of Bai Juyi’s poetry reflected his experiences as a government official. His poetry is known for its direct, simple style, often providing social and political commentary.

3. A Poem By A Leaving Son— Meng Jiao


慈 母 手 中 线,

游 子 身 上 衣。

临 行 密 密 缝,

意 恐 迟 迟 归。

谁 言 寸 草 心,

报 得 三 春 晖。


Translated by Liu Jianxun


The thread in the hands of a fond-hearted mother

Makes clothes for the body of her wayward boy;

Carefully she sews and thoroughly she mends,

Dreading the delays that will keep him late from home.

But how much love has the inch-long grass

For three spring months of the light of the sun?

Meng Jiao, another famous poet from the Tang Dynasty, was an impoverished and wandering poet. Had he taken the imperial examinations instead of pursuing poetry, he could have had a very different life as a political official. His poems tend to be harsh, doubtless reflecting his difficulties in life.


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Piece by Piece: What makes up Traditional Vietnamese Wear

When I turned 12, my mother gave me her Áo dài, the traditional Vietnamese garment for children and women, that she had worn as a girl in Vietnam. This garment was really the last tie she had to her traditional childhood in Vietnam before immigrating to the U.S. as a refuge, and it meant a lot to both of us. Since receiving her áo dài, I have been fascinated by traditional wear. Here are the main traditional garments worn by Vietnamese women:

Áo dài─ A tight-fitting silk tunic worn over pants, áo dài is the national costume for women. It originated in the Nguyễn court at Huế during the 18th century. The style changed over the centuries, but what we know as the modern ao dai was created by Saigon designers in the 1950s.

Image source: tin247.com

Yếm─ Yếm was worn as an undergarment or bodice for modesty’s sake. It originated from the Chinese undergarment called dù dōu, and is worn across all classes. It is usually a diamond shaped piece of fabric draped over a woman’s front, tied at the back at the neck and waist. The modern version, áo yếm, can be worn as an undergarment or a halter top.

Photographer: anpm via Flickr

Áo tứ thân─ This 4-part dress was traditionally worn by peasant women. It consists of a flowing outer tunic, a long skirt under the tunic, a yếm, and a sash. In contemporary times, it is made in bright colors for northern-style festivals.

Image source: giaoduc.net.vn

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Image source: biography.com

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. — Confucius

Confucianism is an ethical and philosophical system that originated from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher, Confucius (551–479 BCE). It has heavily influenced several countries, including China and Vietnam. For two millennia, it has influenced religion, thought, and culture. When you learn Chinese languages and culture, it is important to understand past influences on the Chinese way of life.

What is Confucianism?

Confucianism focuses on a humanistic core, in which the secular is sacred. Confucianism teaches a practical order in a this-worldly awareness of the Tian—the cosmos and the source— and respect of the shen—the gods. It teaches the importance of family, advocating social order through social constructions such as the family, the school, the community, and the state. A humanized sort of virtue is essential in this outlook, espousing human relations and human betterment. Central to this is the belief that human beings are teachable and improvable through self-cultivation and self-creation.

What are the main tenets of Confucianism?

  • Ji: a human goodness; the need to be human to one another.

  • Li: a guide to everyday human life, based on proprietary and ritual norms.

  • Yi: Following morals and staying righteous

  • Zhi: The ability to assess right and wrong

There is much more complexity to the school of Confucianism. We hope that this has given you a taste of the rich philosophy and culture found in China and in other nations.


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Send your children to camp during the holidays!


Summer 2014 Camp

It’s a public school holiday. You have to go to work, run errands, cook dinner, and– right! The kids will be home! You completely forgot. Well, what better way for you to free up your schedule than place your children in BCLC’s NEW camp– open during all of the school holidays.

This camp teaches Math and Language during Fairfax County Public School’s student holidays. Students can brush up on their English skills, or opt for lessons in Mandarin or Vietnamese. BCLC makes learning fun. Following a similar structure to the Summer Camp, students will also spend time playing games, making crafts, and relaxing.


Before you know it, your children will be waiting for the holidays, excited for the next BCLC Summer Camp.

The next camp: 11/3 – 11/4

·      Time:  8:00am – 3:00pm

·      Rate:  $70/day.  Extra care will be $10/ hour

·      Referral & sibling discount: 5% off

·      Age: 3-16 years old

Keep reading our blog for updates on upcoming camps!


The BCLC Team

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