BSM plans to offer Chinese I class as part of next years World Language curriculum

Adam Bilski, Staff Writer

A Chinese class will be added to the curriculum next year after being approved by the administration, expanding the world language department and making BSM even more competitive with surrounding schools.

Prospective parents have been pushing for the chance to have a Chinese elective for many years. “Its come up every year for the past three or four years. There was a need for the class. The demand continued, we got more inquires instead of [fewer] inquires,” Senior High Principal Dr. Sue Skinner said.

BSM has chosen to offer Chinese instead of other possible options. “There has been significantly more interest in Chinese over other languages like German or Japanese,” Dr. Skinner said. BSM already offers Latin, Spanish, and French. Adding Chinese expands the curriculum by 33%. “I think we can support four languages here,” Dr. Skinner said.

With the continual presence of Chinese language classes around the state, BSM felt the need to keep up with the progression. Chinese is already offered in surrounding schools such as Edina, St. Thomas Academy, Wayzata, and Blake. “The number of schools offering Chinese has increased and those programs are sustaining themselves, and I would expect that here, but again it depends on student interest,” Dr. Skinner said.

Chinese is known to be a more difficult language to comprehend if it isn’t one’s native tongue. Studies show that it can take four times as long to learn Chinese than Spanish. “On average for the first level chinese course, one would learn about 300 to 500 words. In Spanish it’s more around 6000 words. The research says chinese is harder to learn so you don’t get as far,” World Language Department Chair Mrs. Megan Hansen said.

Because it is difficult to learn Chinese, the language department hopes that it brings in the right type of students to handle the challenge. “I think it will be good to attract students who have had chinese before and want to pursue chinese in the future,” Mrs. Hansen said.

Some students show particular hype to the new class being added next year, but as for the overall statistics of how popular Chinese will be isn’t know currently. “It is limited to one section the first year. It will be interesting to see who signs up,” Mrs. Hansen said. “There is some interest and when students pick their classes we will see what the actual interest is,” Dr. Skinner said.