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New Post 28.05.2010 10:00
  ChineseTime
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Portage kids to learn mandarin Chinese 

Portage kids to learn mandarin Chinese

From wwmt.com

Portage schools will be the first in Michigan to offer elementary courses in Chinese. There will be two classes at Amberly Elementary and two classes at Lake Center Elementary.
 
The classes will be a unique partnership between Portage and the Confucius Institute at Western Michigan University.
 
First graders at Amberly Elementary have already learned some Mandarin Chinese from just 30 minutes of instruction every other week.
 
“I like doing the numbers,” said first grader Alex Ghosh. “Yi is one, er is two, san is three.”
 
“All the research suggests that's the time to introduce a foreign language,” said Mary Daoust, principal at Amberly.
 
Starting in the fall, about 80 first graders will receive 30 minutes of Chinese daily. The Confucius Institute at WMU will provide the teachers at no cost to the district.
 
“From Western's point of view, we hope someday they'll all become Western students studying Chinese,” said Dr. Don McCloud of the Haenicke Institute for Global Education.
 
“We expect it to have academic benefits, cognitive benefits, and also attitudinal benefits when they realize the world is bigger than just Portage,” said Daoust.
 
Daoust says she's already noticed how the first graders have fared with just an hour a month of Chinese, and the students are excited to see how they'll advance with ten times that amount.
 
“Then we can start telling our parents and stuff so they know how to do it too,” said first grader Eden Mark.
 
The district is predicting there will be more interest in the program than the 80 open spots can accommodate.


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