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Students use Mandarin Chinese to broaden horizons

MCB QUANTICO, Va. (Jan. 13) -- Students at the Quantico Middle/High School are participating in a Mandarin Chinese class that is in its second year of existence in the school curriculum.

The course allows students to communicate in both spoken and written Chinese at a basic level.

It is an interactive course which uses visual and sound aids, such as flash cards, language based art projects, illustrations and voice recorders. Each allows students to learn on both an auditory, aesthetic and kinesthetic level.

‘‘I have them make flash cards on the first day and they build a collection of them over the length of the class,” said Jeanie White, teacher of the Chinese levels one and two at the Quantico Middle/High School. ‘‘I have them use tape recorders to practice their oral proficiency at home.”

The course requires the students have conversations and display illustrations about things concerning their daily lives.

‘‘The flash cards, audio tapes and CDRoms are just a part of what they need to learn,” said White. ‘‘Practical application helps them to retain what they have learned here in class.”

New words and expressions, the writing of Chinese characters and the usage of supplemental words while adding ‘‘something new to know” with each lesson is important to keeping the students interested in the course material and more susceptible to learning.

‘‘The most effective way for them to learn is for them to be able to see what they are doing,” said White. ‘‘Ultimately learning depends on the student and so I try to incorporate different aspects of dialect into my teaching methods.”

The course has two levels - Mandarin Chinese course I and Mandarin Chinese course II, said White.

‘‘Teaching my second level students is a bit different,” said White. ‘‘There work is all written and it’s a bit easier to assess their strength and weaknesses considering I’ve had them as students for over a year.”

The use of computers is important for a language class because it gives the students a way to learn on a more graphic level where sight sound and interaction work together, making the learning experience easier, more advanced, and therefore more effective, White said.

‘‘Study at home is important; I just wish we had at least two computers in the classroom to assist in their learning,” said White.

The course provides students with the opportunity to broaden their cultural horizons, said White.

‘‘I think this class really gives me the opportunity to learn about other cultures and how they live and communicate,” said Stephanie Berlinghoff, student at Quantico Middle/High School.

These students are seeing this course as something more than just another class to get through, said White. ‘‘They see learning a new language as something that is beneficial to their futures in many ways.”

‘‘I really like this class because not I can possibly get more money for scholarships when its time to apply for college,” said Charly Mcnair, student at Quantico Middle/High School.

Multi cultural communication plays a vital role in America’s economic and social structure. From small businesses to major corporations and conglomerates, American commerce relies very heavily on its company’s ability to communicate effectively with other countries.

‘‘In the business world we will probably have to communicate a lot with Chinese companies,” said Andrew Hoisington, also a student at Quantico Middle/High School. ‘‘We have the opportunity to learn their language which makes us an asset in the corporate world.

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