Thursday, October 25, 2007

High Schoolers Prepare For Future, In Chinese

These high school students are studying Chinese, knowing this will aid them in their future careers. DP

By Eileen McNamara Old Lyme — Scott Lunde is a goal-oriented high school student, one who already knows he wants a career in business engineering.

To prepare, the senior at Lyme-Old Lyme High School has signed up for a new class that at first might seem a bit off track for his career choice.

Four days a week, he and 16 other students gather in John Wang's second-floor classroom to study Chinese.

Scott, along with his classmates, is proving an unusually apt and confident pupil in the language, and repeats short Chinese phrases that Wang calls out, careful to add the correct intonations.

“In Chinese,” Lunde explained, “the meanings of words can change depending on how you pronounce them.”

At a time when many school districts in southeastern Connecticut are struggling with how to teach English to an influx of Chinese immigrant students, the Lyme-Old Lyme school district wants to teach its kids how to better communicate with those new immigrants.

The new language class is also part of a broader district initiative to respond to China's growing role in world markets and the need for emerging businessmen and women to understand how to communicate with their Chinese counterparts, said Jeanne Manfredi, who chairs the district's language department.

“Chinese is one of the fastest-growing languages in the world,” Manfredi said. Some states, such as Connecticut, have responded by offering grants to local districts to promote Chinese language and culture, she added.
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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