Latin, French and Spanish have been the only language courses offered at Jesuit for over twenty years. Fortunately, for many incoming freshmen, there will be a new language course added, Mandarin Chinese.
As early as last year, the heads of the Language Department, Mr. Seth Waits and Ms. Jody Klickman started discussing adding Mandarin, and this fall that will become a reality. While the Language Department brought this idea to fruition, students and their families who expressed interest in the language brought the idea to Jesuit.
The only course offered next year will be Mandarin 1, only for incoming freshmen. Most of them will have little or no experience in Mandarin. As the freshmen learn more each year, a higher-level course will be added.
Ms. Klickman, Spanish teacher and Co-Chair of the Language department, explained that each year they will “add another course until it reaches [level] three or four.” Ms. Klickman added that they do not know how many classes of Mandarin 1 will be taught next year until everyone signs up.
While they are adding courses to the Language Department, it is unknown whether or not there will be a reduction in other classes for courses such as Spanish, French or Latin. Mr. Waits stated that “it may reduce the number of sections of the other languages down the road, but it’s not going to mean that we are going to eliminate one of the other courses.”
As the years pass, it is expected that there may be a reduction in the amount of students who would take Spanish, Latin or French as Mandarin becomes more popular.
It is known that languages such as Spanish have programs where they will take trips into foreign-speaking countries and even have foreign exchange students come in. It is expected that Mandarin classes could have foreign exchange students or even a trip.
Ms. Klickman explained that “JSEA (Jesuit Secondary Education Association) has been looking at the importance of global connections to students.” And that, “I foresee a time in the future where there would be an exchange.” While this sounds interesting, Ms. Klickman added that the plans aren’t yet concrete.
With China becoming an economic leader and already the biggest country by population, the importance of Mandarin grows by the day.