Students practicing writing the Chinese symbols. Photo by Matthew McCarthy 

Students practicing writing the Chinese symbols. Photo by Matthew McCarthy 

Imagine a class with only two students in it. Of the 2,500 students at Chaparral, only 2 of them are taking AP Chinese Language this year. That means only 0.0008% of Chaparral students are taking AP Chinese Language this year. This class is only reserved for the best Chinese students. During the 2017-2018 school year, Jan Qiong will be teaching AP Chinese Language and Chinese 1 in a combined class in 408U and 409U during first period. The AP students take an AP Test at the end of the year. The test has sections that include a listening, speaking, reading, and writing part. “The test is pretty hard, usually the students who take AP Chinese have to put twice the effort of kids who take other languages,” said Qiong. Chinese is very different than other languages offered at Chaparral because it doesn't have as much grammar; instead Chinese is written in characters or pictures. This can make the class both more difficult, and more interesting. Students have to memorizes both what the character looks like, how to write it, and how to pronounce it. Students are challenged to learn what a picture sounds like, which is difficult. “I use TPRS to teach the students, which is Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling. They learn to read and speak stories, and learn through the stories and reading instead of memorizing grammar. I like to create a story with the students,” explained Qiong. During the year in AP Chinese Language, the students do a various selection of different activities throughout the class. Foreign exchange students travel to Chaparral from China. The foreign students get the opportunity to travel with the class to various locations plotted all around Colorado. The AP students also work on a project of their choice related to Chinese culture and Chinese language. They are in Chinese National Honor Society and do projects for the National Honor Society while preparing for the AP test throughout the year. The AP students also help the Chinese 1 students in their class and sometimes present projects about Chinese culture and language to them. AP Chinese is both an interesting and challenging class that few students at Chaparral take and few know exists.

 

 

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