(Glasgow, Kentucky) May 10, 2012 – Barren County High School will include Mandarin Chinese among its foreign language offerings again next year. Through a renewal of an agreement with Superintendent Bo Matthews, the Barren County Board of Education and the Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University, the district will have a Chinese Volunteer Teacher for the 2012-2013 school year, offering Mandarin Chinese to the students at the high school.
Cheryl Kirby-Stokes, the assistant director of the Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University, who notified the district with the news earlier this month, said she is excited the Institute will be able to bring a third group of teachers to Kentucky’s public schools.
“The Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University is proud and excited to welcome our third group of language teachers from China,” said Kirby-Stokes. “It’s difficult to believe that our first year we had only 11 Volunteer Teachers, and in just its third year, we have grown to 34. It’s a firm testament to the vision of Kentucky language programs in our schools that they understand the absolute necessity of second-language acquisition among our children. The world is growing smaller, not bigger, so we need to prepare students with the tools to make them productive, global citizens. The WKU-CI is happy to provide the support and resources needed to accomplish this goal.”
The next Mandarin Chinese volunteer teacher at Barren County High School will be Ms. Yin Na. Yin Na is a 2005 graduate of North West Normal University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Education. She also completed on-the-job post graduate work in English Education this past January. She successfully passed the CET-4, an assessment on English fluency. She is also certified to teach the Mandarin Chinese language at the middle school and high school levels. Since 2007, she has been teaching English in a middle school at Lanzhou City Gansu Providence. In addition, she has won numerous awards and recognitions for her skill and expertise in education.
The WKU-Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University partnered with the WKU Department of Education and the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board to establish the framework for Volunteer Teachers (VT) to receive certification within the state of Kentucky. The Barren County School District was able to take advantage of this partnership and as a result, Chinese VT Yingying Ye has been teaching Mandarin Chinese language classes at Barren County High School for the 2011-2012 school year.
“This is great news for us,” said Steve Riley, Barren County High School principal. “Ms. Ying Ying Ye was a fabulous teacher this year, and our students learned so much from her. Not only did she teach the language, but she also taught them so much about the people and culture of China. It was very popular and an enormous success. So, we are so appreciative of the opportunity to continue it for a second year and look forward to meeting and welcoming Ms. Yin Na to our teaching staff.”
Chinese is the national language of the more than 1.3 billion inhabitants of China and millions more ethnic Chinese around the world. In April 2006, the College Board and Hanban, China’s Office of Chinese Language Council International announced the formation of a partnership to build and expand Chinese language programs in United States’ schools. In addition to the Chinese Bridge Delegation, the program that coordinated Lile and Matthews’ trip to China, it is through this partnership that Chinese teachers travel to the America to help U.S. educators promote Chinese language and culture study.
While more than 200 million Chinese schoolchildren are studying English –often begun as early as the second grade –experts estimate no more than 50,000 U.S. students are studying Chinese.