Elective Spotlight: Chinese 1 中文一

Inside the newest language elective at MCMS


The Chinese 1 course is an exciting addition to Medea Creek Middle School this year. Not many people know the elective even exists; this is probably due to the fact that it is exclusive to 8th graders. Also, there are only 14 students in the class. The class is taught by Katherine Chang, or 曹老师. Chang also teaches Chinese at Oak Park High School. The course is in Mandarin, not one of the other many dialects. Due to teaching at the high school, Chang has to leave the high school during its 6th period to teach Chinese during the middle school’s 7th period.

“A big benefit of learning Chinese is that with a lot [of] the people coming to America, Chinese is very universal. In Asia, Chinese is a major language, especially in China, one of the most populated countries in the world. One of the downsides is that maybe you might not understand it at first and you’ll have a heavy accent, but I think there are a lot more benefits than downsides to learning Chinese,” Chinese 1 student Noemi Husk said.

It is beneficial to learn new languages at such a young age rather than old.

“I have really liked seeing how Chinese culture is interwoven into the language. We’re not just studying how to read and write, we’re actually looking at the cultural background of the language,” Chinese 1 student Meirav Zarin said.

Since the Chinese 1 course is new to MCMS, it does not have as many resources as Spanish or other languages. Chang has to work extra hard to make sure her students get the materials they need.

“I find it very exciting to be teaching Chinese to middle school students because I enjoy watching kids learn so well!” Chang said.

It is estimated that learning Chinese is four times harder than learning other foreign languages, such as Spanish, French and Portuguese.

“Chinese can help you be a creative thinker, and help understand the world more. I heavily encourage people to learn it,” Chang said.