Posted by: Kristin | March 16, 2010

Spreading Chinese Language Programs in Hawaii

I had the pleasure of being invited by the University of Hawaii to come to speak to K-12 school leaders about starting and/or expanding Mandarin Chinese programs in Hawaii’s public schools.  I was welcomed with the Aloha Spirit, and everyone seemed very excited to learn more about  the OneWorld Now! story.

Hawaii’s public schools are taking a big hit during this financial crisis, and it’s been tough to get school leaders thinking about foreign language programs at this time.   It’s interesting to note that even though there’s a nationwide downward trend of foreign language study, Mandarin Chinese is the exception!  Check out a recent New York Times article:  “Foreign Language Fades in Class – Except in Chinese“.

The University of Hawaii gets a lot of support, especially from the Chinese and US Governments, to develop and spread Mandarin programs in the schools.  Nevertheless, it takes advocates like parents, school leaders, community leaders and/or teachers to create the demand and take advantage of this support…because the resources are clearly there!  Let’s do our kids a favor by setting them up with the extra language skills to support their success as global leaders in the 21st Century.  Furthermore, the Chinese tourism market to Hawaii is quite untapped.  Training young people with these language skills could be great for creating jobs, boosting the local economy and developing a new market.

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