Batesville Middle School administrators began offering an elective Mandarin Chinese course to seventh-graders during the 2012-2013 school year as part of the Batesville Community School Corp.'s 2020 Vision, reports BMS art teacher Grace Kontur, who also teaches that foreign language.
The introductory class is designed for students who are interested in learning the language. She explains, "The course curriculum covers various topics. The primary focus is on learning the language, but also includes learning objectives centered on customs, cuisine and culture." Customs and cultural topics are taught via class discussions and research projects. Students also experience traditional Chinese food brought from home, or through on site cooking lessons.
During Chinese New Year, the most important holiday in Chinese culture, the Chinese students take a field trip to Vicki Heil's second-grade class at Batesville Primary School. This year, they taught children's songs in Mandarin Chinese to the children.
There are nine seventh-grade students currently taking the Mandarin Chinese class. Kontur reports, "We are proud to continue growing this program for future years as we provide a unique opportunity for our students to experience a new culture and language."