Mandarin Chinese at Local Middle School - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Mandarin Chinese at Local Middle School

13 year-old Christian Filsouf speaks four languages: English, Polish, Farsi and Russian.

And now he is learning a fifth--Mandarin Chinese.

"There is no homework involved," Filsouf said. "You are just sitting, relaxing with the headphones learning a different language at your own pace and it's fantastic."

Filsouf and 70 other students at Crockett Middle School meet twice a week after school to learn Mandarin Chinese. This is part of a pilot program offered by the Amarillo Independent School District.

"We are looking for student interest, to see if they enjoy it and how successful they are with the program and their ability to speak it,"said Russell Miller, who teaches one of the afternoon sessions. 

The class has been so lucrative, in fact, that there is a waiting list to get in.

"The program gets them speaking the language right off the bat, which keeps the kids interest and they really like that," said Miller. "So you can tell already how much they are enjoying it and learning from the program."

If the program is successful there, Mandarin Chinese could be offered at every middle school in the area starting next year.

"The most difficult thing you have to do is download the software," said Filsouf about using the Rossetta Stone software. "After that it's just child's play."

It looks like all fun and games; but in reality, educators say these children are learning a valuable tool for our global world.

"In our global economy, China is where we do most our businesses," said Filsouf. "And they will hire you if you speak a foreign language, particularly Chinese."

Filsouf hopes to be a journalist one day and interview people in multiple languages.

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