Chinese Programs in American High Schools

There’s an article here about a two week summer Chinese language program for high school students in Princeton, New Jersey.

It looks like the program is quite effective in getting students excited about learning Chinese. One part of the article raised a few questions in my mind:

In the Level 2 class, the students learn how to write in Chinese.

”This is where they really transfer into literacy,” Mr. Chang said. “We do a little bit of writing, and little bit of speaking. It’s really difficult.”

Transfer into literacy? How much training have the students had prior to this course and, more importantly, how can a person transfer into Chinese literacy in two weeks? If the students were fluent in spoken Mandarin, then it might be time to learn to write, but before then, I think attempts at learning to write are premature.

In general, I’m happy to see program like this, which incorporate discussions of Chinese culture as well as language, proliferating around the world.

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Filed under Chinese Language Instruction, Language, The Learning Chinese Craze

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