I continue to find reports from local newspapers in municipalities all over the United States, writing about the local Chinese (and sometimes Arabic, Russian, and Japanese) language programs the local schools are piloting.
Here’s a recent article from Frederick, MD: A New Way of Speaking Things
A 3 week program for middle schoolers, taught by native Chinese speakers, involving some cultural instruction in addition to a bit of language instruction. From the article:
The first summer classes in Frederick County were given in 2005 during the Maryland Summer Center, with the help of a Maryland Department of Education grant.
Frederick County was the first to offer world languages, Murphy said.
This year’s program was open to students of all levels, extended to three weeks and expanded to include space for five local native Chinese speakers who may eventually become language teachers.
The teaching participants were paid $25 per hour and worked with Frederick County world language resource teachers, who helped them organize class plans and also provided feedback.
“I’m hoping to show people in Frederick County that Chinese is a viable language,” Murphy said.
I applaud efforts like this. And with that applause, I add my observation that there is still a strong need for expertise in Chinese language instruction and cross-cultural communications for many of these programs. Contrary to popular belief, there are NOT hordes of qualified Chinese teachers, administrators of Chinese language programs, and curriculum developers for such roaming the school districts of the United States.
These are early efforts, and are increasing over time. The district the article writes about seems to have its act together. I’ll be watching with interest as Chinese language instruction becomes more expert, professional, and effective in the United States.
Heck, the Oracle (my wife) and I would be happy to pitch in and help with a local Chinese language program in the States sometime down the road.