A $2,000 investment will reap big benefits for Canal Winchester Local Schools with international exposure to foreign language and culture through a grant program providing an instructor from China this fall.
According to Canal Winchester Curriculum Director Janine Taylor, the amount covers the district’s portion of administrative fees for visa processing and health insurance premium for the teacher who is participating through a Chinese flagship program at The Ohio State University.
"He is a certified teacher from China who will live with an American family and teach Chinese," Taylor said during a May 19 presentation to the Canal Winchester Board of Education. "We would hopefully have a guest Chinese teacher for one to two years and then a sustaining program through distance learning.
"A Chinese teacher at the Metro High School would be his mentor. Our Metro School and Canal Winchester obligation is for transportation (in and around the local area), locating a host family, visa, and half of the insurance."
Taylor said the instructor is a 30-year-old male, with a bachelor’s degree in ESL (English as a Second Language), a master’s degree in English from a university in Ireland, and is knowledgeable in technology. Between 18 and 20 high school students in ninth and 10th grade signed up for the level one Chinese curriculum and sixth graders will also take classes in Chinese.
"The biggest fuss at the high school is from seniors who wanted to jump into Chinese," said Taylor, who added, although the class is level one, it is a two-year course.
"Conversations started a year ago on putting on a distance learning class," said Taylor, "and then we were awarded the grant."
In the district’s course handbook, requirements to participate in the class include an A/B average in a previous year English class and a commitment to more than the minimum two-year foreign language requirement. Canal Winchester initially agreed to participate with the Metro School for Mandarin Chinese instruction through distance learning, while awaiting results of the grant written by Taylor in conjunction with a Metro School counterpart.
Mandarin Chinese is the first language of nearly one billion people. China-related career opportunities are increasing and through foreign language courses-such as the one offered by Canal Winchester-students can be better prepared to compete in a global market.