Info session will discuss new Chinese course work

The Freehold Regional High School District is planning to join a small number of schools nationwide that are teaching Mandarin Chinese. An informational program describing the new course will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 in the auditorium of Marlboro High School, Route 79, Marlboro.

According to a press release from the FRHSD, Lucy Lee, a Chinese teacher at Livingston High School and president of the Chinese Language Association of Secondary Elementary Schools, will conduct a demonstration lesson and present an overview of the proposed curriculum.

FRHSD Superintendent of Schools James Wasser will present a side show and artifacts from a weeklong educational tour of China he took last summer as a guest of the Chinese Language Council International. As a part of the American- Chinese Bridge Delegation, he met with Chinese educators to exchange educational theory and policy.

According to Wasser, there is a growing interest nationally in the Chinese language and it is quickly becoming the hottest foreign language being taught in American schools. The U.S. State Department is encouraging schools to offer more non-Western languages such as Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Farsi and Hindi.

“Foreign language instruction hasn’t changed much in the last 50 years,” Wasser said.

Traditional European languages such as Spanish, French and German continue to be the norm in high schools across the nation, said Wasser, acknowledging that the changing global economy was a definite factor in the decision to introduce an alternative to the traditional European languages offered in the FRHSD.

According to the press release, the addition of Chinese is not a replacement for any existing languages being offered in the district’s six high schools. The district currently offers French, Italian, Latin, Russian and Spanish.

A teacher has not been hired for the proposed Mandarin Chinese language course. Administrators are waiting to see how much student interest the course will generate. If enough students show interest in the class, a teacher will be hired for September 2008.

Parents and students in grades eight through 11 are encouraged to attend the Dec. 4 informational session to learn more about the new Chinese language course.