By Erin Moy
Starting this year, Chinese will be offered to seventh graders. Though the class used to be offered to ninth graders, middle school teacher, Bin Bin Wei will be teaching nearly 40 seventh graders this fall in three separate classes.
With an additional three freshman classes, there will be a total of six Chinese classes at the middle school. Chinese III Honors will be offered on the upper school campus, another new development for the department.
The language departments on both campuses hope to implement a Chinese class for eighth grade and an Advanced Placement Chinese course by next fall.
This summer, Wei took classes with STARTALK in Virginia, a program under the National Security Language Initiative.
In order to expand and improve the teaching and learning of strategically important world languages that are not currently taught widely in the United States, NSLI awarded grants for summer programs to instruct teachers and high school students languages.
Wei found the program herself and spent month learning how to apply new technology-enhanced techniques in teaching Chinese.
“It was very helpful and Iâm glad that I went,” she said.
For her new seventh grade classes, Wei says that the program recommended several books, and went over different teaching methods “I think that the influence of China in the world has increased significantly,” Wei said.
“People see more opportunities to interact with the Chinese language now, both in a business and non-business setting, so there is a greater need and desire to learn Chinese.”