Mandatory Mandarin

I have written before about the Mandarin madness that is sweeping parents in the West. I speak Mandarin, and think that kids should be exposed to more and better language instruction in schools.I also think we should offer Mandarin as an option. Mandarin is one of the most important world languages . I think kids should be offered the chance to learn it for its cultural value, not because it will get them a job in the future. It likely won’t.

 Here is a school in Toronto that offers only one foreign language, Mandarin.

As a Canadian, I would prefer to see French as the only mandatory second language, since it is an official language of Canada. But even with French, practically no English Canadian school kids learn to speak the language, except for those in immersion programs. Will the results be any better for Chinese? I doubt it.

I guess results may be all right for some students at this school, since Chinese immigrant families are the largest single group at the school. But when we consider that a large number of school kids in ESL (English as a second language) programs were born in Canada, it might make more sense to have these immigrant kids learn French, rather than take their native language as a foreign language.

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