Broadening horizons: Chinese class teaches students new language


Jordan Charlotte

Students in Chinese class working on their assignments the week after returning from Thanksgiving break.

Nicholas Scoggins, Staff Reporter

Under the modern educational requirements at Vandegrift, students are required to possess three years of having attended a language class. With options ranging from Spanish to sign language, students have some options as to what they wish to learn. However, some students wish to learn a more unique language, one that is more difficult to learn, but that will pay off once they learn it. Thus, they choose Chinese as their language, and the teacher leading the effort is Chinese teacher Sixiang Xie.

Chinese is a different language, but it is a super interesting language with history and reasoning behind it,” Xie said. “I am passionate to share my Chinese knowledge and my foreign language learning experiences with my students.”

However, according to Xie, learning Chinese is by no means easy. It differs  from English in terms of grammar, pronunciation of letters and of course an entirely new alphabet.

It is just a totally different language system,” Xie said. “Like any other things people consider challenging, the most difficult part is having the courage to start.”

Due to the immense difficulty of learning such a unique language, Xie attempts to make her classroom as positive as possible. Students in Chinese class are encouraged to collaborate with one another and not feel afraid to take risks.

I am trying to create a positive environment for students to speak Chinese without being worried about making mistakes,” Xie said. “[I] encourage students to try, interact with each other and help each other. I hope my students will enjoy the Chinese learning journey.”

Many students, including senior Taylor Chronert, decided that learning Chinese was in their best interest.

“I knew in 8th grade when it came to picking a language for high school, I wanted to bring Chinese back and continue learning it,” Chronert said, who started learning Chinese in elementary school. “So freshman year of high school, I did on-level Chinese and sophomore year they made it advanced.”

Learning a language, not just Chinese, is more important now than ever before in human history. Thanks to the global economy, Vandegrift graduates, after they finish college, can expect to work alongside people from all over the world and of many backgrounds very different from our own.

However even though it’s difficult, Xie believes learning the language, or any language, is vital for future generations.

“Our young generations will be global citizens in the future,” Sixiang Xie said. “and mastering Chinese will help them to know more people, understand what is going on in our world/life from multiple perspectives, broaden their horizon, go to more places, and live their life to the fullest.”