More districts are offering an expansion of a Chinese language program in middle school.
In West Hartford, Chinese will be offered to incoming sixth graders along with French and Spanish. At present, Chinese is offered in grades 9-12. Adding it to sixth grade language offerings will put it on par with French and Spanish.
“It is extremely challenging for a non-native speaker to be prepared to take and be successful on an AP exam after only four years of instruction,” said Lucy Cartland, world language department supervisor at Hall High School. “Due to the nature of the Chinese language, and a need to memorize or recognize thousands of characters, attaining linguistic proficiency or advanced knowledge is even harder.”
Chinese is one of five languages that West Hartford students speak at home. Cartland has been working on launching the middle school program for several years.