Watch the website for exciting updates | Brent on-line Chinese Resources
Why do we have Chinese at Brent?
The U.S. government wants young Americans to learn Chinese at the K-12 level and the State Department provides funding for a grant to bring 12 Chinese teachers to the US. Brent was chosen in a very competitive process to be one of the schools to host a visiting teacher in 2009-10 and 2010-11 through the Teachers of Critical Languages Program. TCLP funded our exchange teachers and through this program we remain eligible for follow-on grants in the future. China also strongly supports Chinese language education overseas. Brent has just received a large grant from China which will provide our school with computers, software, books, professional development, and exchange opportunities. Thanks to our partnership with the Confucius Institute at George Mason University, four teachers from Brent spent two weeks in China during the summer of 2011 learning about Chinese language and culture in Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai!
Why should kids start in elementary school?
It is much easier to learn a foreign language when you are young. Adult learners find it especially difficult to master Chinese because the spoken language has four tones and there are some sounds in Chinese that are not present in English. These sounds do not pose a challenge for children–and children who start learning Chinese at an early age are often able to achieve excellent pronunciation.
I’ve heard that Chinese is impossibly difficult–can my child handle it?
Chinese is a challenging language to pronounce and read–but it is actually not difficult to produce sentences because the grammar is much simpler than English. Learning Chinese also encourages students to improve their memory skills and helps them exercise their brains in new ways. These skills can be helpful in other learning areas. Learning any foreign language gives us a better perspective on English because it makes us think about how our own language works. And learning one foreign language actually makes it easier to learn another one! Some recent research even suggests that learning Chinese can improve math SAT scores.