We are hoping to learn a little bit of Mandarin before traveling to Taiwan. I recently found out about a local school that offers classes for children, and the principal told me that he is considering starting a class for adults in January if there is enough interest. We have also considered the Pimsleur program, as well as a program called Fluenz. USA Today published an interesting article today, saying that more US schools are offering Mandarin than ever before and enrollment is booming. As China booms, so does Mandarin in schools:
“The number of elementary and secondary school students studying Chinese could be as much as 10 times higher than it was seven years ago, says Marty Abbott, spokeswoman for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
When the council surveyed K-12 enrollment in foreign language classes in 2000, there were about 5,000 students of Chinese, Abbott says. The council is collecting data for another survey, but Abbott says early figures suggest the number of students now studying Chinese has “got to be somewhere around 30,000 to 50,000.”
Nationwide, there are Chinese programs in more than 550 elementary, junior high and senior high schools, a 100% increase in two years, according to The Asia Society, an educational group. In May, when the College Board offered Mandarin Advanced Placement exams for the first time, 3,261 high school students took the test.”