Yesterday an article in the WoodburyPatch Daily Newsletter – A World Experience Brought to Woodbury caught my attention.
Actually it was the photo that caught my attention first. The photo showed the familiar Tiger Hill Garden from my hometown in Suzhou, China.
I read the article with great interest. It talked about a recent visit to China by East Ridge High School Principal Aaron Harper, District 833 Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Rick Spicuzza and district Chinese teacher Elsa.
Five of 14 elementary schools, all four middle schools and both East Ridge and Woodbury high schools in the South Washington County School District teach Mandarin Chinese. There are 11 educators teaching Chinese to about 3,800 students in the district
This is all great news. I was glad the our school administrators and teachers had a chance to visit China to get a sense of the culture and educational system in my native country.
It is wonderful that schools at all levels in our district are offering Chinese now. As a parent, I appreciate our school district’s effort in providing our kids with this opportunity to learn a different language and culture.
But the article also reminded me of some concerns I had with the Chinese taught at our schools.
One of the concerns many Chinese families in the community have is that our schools are still teaching the traditional Chinese as used in Taiwan and not the simplified Chinese as used in China.
Simplified Chinese characters are used in mainland China and other countries, while people in Taiwan are still using the traditional Chinese.
Simplified Chinese is not only much more widely used, but also much easier to learn and write. So it makes so much more sense to learn the simplified Chinese and not the traditional Chinese.
My kids quit Chinese at schools for two reasons. First, they already know some Chinese and what the schools teach is too simple for them. Second, the traditional Chinese taught at schools caused confusing, as they learned the simplified Chinese.
I shared this concern with the Director of Curriculum and world language manager at the time when the Chinese pilot program first started several years ago, but didn’t get any responses.
I think all schools in our district that offer Chinese should teach the simplified Chinese.
For people who want to know a little more about the Chinese language, check out this article An introduction to Chinese language.