Mandarin Chinese is the world’s most spoken language, and is taught daily to students in Disney’s gifted programs. Chinese instruction is provided throughout gifted classrooms in all grades, Pre-K through 8th. This is in acknowledgement of the growing real-world applications of the Chinese language in business, economics, finance, technology, politics, and inter-cultural relations in an increasingly global society. Knowledge of this language greatly enhances our students’ future employability, as they are very likely to work under, over, and/or with Chinese speakers in the course of their upcoming careers.
Students are taught to listen, read, write, and speak in Chinese. They are also introduced to the cultural contexts and history of the language itself. And in recognition that Chinese written characters are pictographic (symbols for objects) and ideographic (symbols for concepts), students are expected to hand write their Chinese texts, rather than type these out on a computer keyboard. This not only provides students with a deep familiarity with the language, but also stimulates the parts of the brain involved with image formation (writing in Chinese makes you smarter!).
Disney Magnet School is in the process of establishing student exchange programs between Chicago and Beijing.