TPHS to reintroduce Chinese language pathway next year

After phasing out the Chinese language pathway over the past three years due to declining class enrollment, leaving AP Chinese as the only current class, TPHS plans to offer Chinese 1 through 4 classes next year if there is sufficient student interest.

These reintroduced courses, which will be taught by AP Chinese teacher Lu Qi, were recommended by district leadership, according to TPHS Principal Rob Coppo.

District leadership did not respond to the Falconer by deadline on the specifics of this recommendation.

In the Chinese pathway, students learn to speak in Mandarin and write using both simplified and traditional Chinese characters.

The reintroduced Chinese language pathway will follow a progression similar to other language pathways.

Chinese 1 will include interactive learning to familiarize students with the Chinese language and culture. Levels 2 through 4 will build on those language skills, teaching new vocabulary, sentence formation and everyday conversation. Currently, students in AP Chinese hone those skills to achieve a greater level of fluency and prepare for the AP exam.

According to Coppo, the course selection process currently underway will help gauge the interest in the introductory courses, and therefore determine which levels of Chinese will be offered next year.

“I expect [enrollment] to be [similar to] previous years, with a slight uptick because it’s ‘new,’” Coppo said. “The numbers in Chinese 1 through 3 are typically low because many students take the intro classes off campus. This is very different than other world language programs.”

Regardless of how popular the intro course is, Coppo is confident that enrollment for AP Chinese will remain strong.

According to Qi, if individual class sizes are not sufficient for Chinese 1 through 4, she plans to have mixed classes combining levels 1 and 2, and 3 and 4.

Overall, students agree that having the introductory classes available will help equip students with the fundamental skills to thrive in higher levels of Chinese.

“People who aren’t native speakers or aren’t really familiar with [Chinese] would [previously] take one year of Chinese and then go into an AP environment, so that’s kind of stressful,” Julia Liu (12), the president of the TPHS Asian Student Union, said.

Liu, who speaks Mandarin at home, took Chinese 3 in her freshman year and AP Chinese in her junior year.

Christopher Kam (9) is one student considering Chinese 1 for next year.

“I want to learn how to read, write and be more fluent because my Chinese is really bad,” Kam said. “When I visit my relatives in China or Hong Kong … I [want to be able to] communicate with the people more and understand what they’re saying so I can travel to different places.”

Kam also believes that offering Chinese classes is important from a global perspective, as “a lot of business people are Chinese and a lot of manufacturing is [done in] China.”

Qi also hopes that offering more Chinese courses will increase interest in the class.

“For me as a teacher, I want to make my class more fun and interactive and to tell people that the Chinese language is not that hard,” Qi said.

Other students believe that offering a full Chinese language pathway may draw more students to TPHS, as it would allow TPHS to compete with other schools in the district that offer a full Chinese pathway, such as Canyon Crest Academy.

“A lot more people started going [to CCA] because it … provided the [language] credits that they needed, but I think that … now [that] we’re offering this, there might be a lot more people inclined to come to Torrey,” Zoe Huang (10), a current AP Chinese student, said.

According to Counseling secretary Janet Daher, it will be known if there is sufficient interest in Chinese 1-4 by the end of March or April.

Read on Issuu.

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