Second language programs have been a staple in schools for decades. Students in high school, middle school and even elementary school have long been able to take classes to learn languages like Spanish, French and German. However, a recent trend has schools around the country placing an increased focus on teaching students Mandarin Chinese.
“If you are going to get around in the world, you are going to need to speak Chinese. It’s a language everyone is going to be speaking,” aviation consultant Mike Boyd, who studies Mandarin for one intense hour a week at the Colorado Chinese Language Center in Denver, said to The Denver Post.
Amanda Sauer, a principal at Erie Elementary, explained to The Denver Post that her school district embraced the trend and has placed an increased emphasis on students learning Mandarin.
“Our district looked at how to prepare kids for 21st-century jobs – to help them have a global view,” Sauer said.
She explained that students in kindergarten through second grade at Erie Elementary start off by learning Chinese culture. They then move toward more language studies in the third grade, also learning to write characters.
Students are then given the opportunity to choose whether abc kids they would like to continue their mandarin studies into middle school and high school.
Language programs like this have recently popped up in other areas like Texas and Utah as well.
Recently, Davis County School District in Utah was named a Confucius Institute from the Confucius Institute headquartered in Beijing. With it, they received a grant of almost $800,000 that will allow them to bolster their programs, while investing in new education technologies.
The program has garnered tremendous support from parents, becoming very popular among students.
“Our parents have been unusually supportive of the program, as they ensure Chinese stays at their schools,” Bonnie Flint, the district’s Secondary World Language supervisor said to The Standard-Examiner. “They see this as the l