Chinese program grows in popularity

PAUL RYAN
STAFF WRITER

With Chinese rapidly transforming and expanding into the “language of the future,” ASL adapted with the implementation of a Chinese program a few of years ago. The program started a few years ago developed into a core language class, and has gradually gained popularity amongst High School students.

For Charlie Woodhams (’14) who added Chinese to her academic schedule for the first time this year, taking on the language has proven to be a worthwhile decision. “My parents have definitely pushed me towards taking it since I was in Middle School but it wasn’t offered then,” she said. “I didn’t want to take it at all, but now that I’m learning it I actually quite enjoy it, which is a surprise.”

Woodhams said Chinese ahs become increasingly important as it has spread. “I think speaking Chinese is extremely useful even beyond academics. It is spoken by over a billion people around the world, and is becoming just as important as English,” she said.

Like Woodhams, Head of Curriculum and previous Head of Languages Roberto d’Erizans said that the Chinese program’s transformation into a core language class reflects the language’s increasing global importance. “This change took place many years ago due to increased enrollment and our need to prepare students for today’s world,” he said.

d’Erizans said that the program has assembled augmenting popularity, as well. “Our programs have doubled in the past couple of years,” he said.

The Middle School Chinese program, which was initiated two years ago, has been very popular with more than 90 students taking Chinese this year. Middle School Chinese teacher Chris Chen said that this sudden change was due to the creation of the AP Chinese program, along with the growth of the Chinese language. “Since 2007, when the AP for Chinese was set up, more and more people were interested in including that in their core selection. He said, “as a result, I think that a lot of students see the importance of starting a language as early as Middle School”, he said.

The Chinese program in the MS puts up a Chinese New Year Assembly in January or February, depending on the year, which Chen believes is a great means of spreading awareness of the Chinese program and has contributed to the increasing number of students involved in the Chinese program in the Middle School.

Middle School student Max Coulson (’17), who is currently taking his third year of Chinese, chose Chinese because he liked the idea of learning a language that was completely new to him. “I chose [Chinese] because it seemed cool and different,” he said.

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