To know another language is to open up another world of understanding. Chinese is spoken by 1 billion people. Furthermore its culture so different from Western cultures can be accessed through the language. Learning Chinese becomes an interesting process rather than something that has to be done in order to speak another language.
Have a look at this site if you are interested in understanding more. Look at our sister website The Chinese Staffroom is you are a teacher of Mandarin Chinese in schools and / or to children.
More and more countries are appreciating that French and German are taking second place to Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and of course English as a second language. Sweden is thinking of making Chinese compulsory after English and have a plan going through parliament to achive this goal in 10 years. The USA, Australia and the UK have schools that have taught Chinese for many years. Meanwhile India is also looking seriously at adopting Chinese in schools developing curricula for the Chinese language.
Please note if you are a teacher of Chinese then look at 'The Chinese Staffroom' that is just for Chinese teachers and includes jobs, articles and resources even for schools new to Chinese.
Why bother with Chinese?
- Adult perceptions that Mandarin Chinese is a difficult language to learn are shattered when working with children especially young ones. The tonal nature of the language and the few unique sounds to Chinese are easily imitated by children.
- Older children appreaciate directly the vocational nature of learning Chinese even if they never speak it that fluently, learning the language gives access to the Chinese culture as the two are closely linked
- Chinese is often and easily taught alongside knowledge about China and Chinese culture. Children appreciate learning about this context and are motivated by understanding the culture in which Chinese operates
- Because it is a different language, it can be compared and contrasted more easily with English than say German, French or Spanish using literal and sense translations and ensuring characters are translated word for word. Children see to respond to this well especially boys. Working out how differently meaning is created intrigues children and also helps them to think how meaning is created in their own language.