As a child, I attended Chinese school begrudgingly until I was in highschool. I swore I would never put my children through the same torture. But now, as a parent, I am choosing to do just that. This past week, my son started Mandarin class in an after school program at his school. My rationale for wanting him to learn Mandarin:
- I believe that learning a second language, any second language, helps a person to be more creative and intelligent because they learn that there is more than one way to solve problems and express themselves.
- I want my children to learn Chinese because that's their heritage.
- I want my children to learn Mandarin even though I speak Cantonese because everyone says Mandarin may become a dominant language globally in the future.
When I first dropped him off into the Mandarin class, I felt a bit nervous because it was a huge class of about 20 JK/SK kids. I think my nervousness rubbed off and my son was also hesitant as he walked into the class and I could see that he was on the verge of tears. But he was a very brave boy and sat down on the carpet to join the other kids. I felt better when there were other kids there who were from his JK/SK class at school who were calling out his name which gave him encouragement to join them. After class, I went to pick him up and he was in good spirits. I was relieved that my son seemed to have a good time. I was so proud of him when he learned how to say "yi" and "er" (one and two). He even brought home a workbook where he learned to write "yi" and "er". I was so impressed! If he keeps his up, he will learn over 50 charaters by the end of this school year. I'm happy with that.