Language Department offers Mandarin Chinese
October 9, 1998
Starting this semester, the University of La Verne has added Mandarin
Chinese to its list of foreign language classes being offered to students.
Since Chinese is one of the world's major languages, spoken by more
people than any other, taking Chinese is a good investment for the future.
The class is offered Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30-10:30
a.m., and is taught by Jill Jian, part-time faculty member.
"When students heard about the class they were intimidated because
many think that learning Chinese is very hard, but in reality it's not that
difficult," said Jiao.
According to Dr. Gerard Lavatori, chair of the Language Department,
the class was started after the department attended a conference where it
was revealed that taking Chinese is becoming a trend among college students.
"There was a Language Department meeting where it was decided to
start offering the class. The majority felt it's a good idea," said
He also said that the class did not appear in the fall catalog because
the department was still finishing up with the scheduling of the class and
missed the catalog deadline.
ULV's curriculum requires traditional students to take two semesters
of foreign language. Therefore, taking two semesters of Mandarin Chinese
will fulfill the foreign language requirement. Another advantage of taking
the class is that there are no placement tests to worry about.
"I spend the first few weeks familiarizing students with pronunciation
and how to write Chinese characters. I also adjust the class to the pace
of the students and how much they are able to learn," said Jiao.
Jiao has a degree in Chinese Literature and taught Chinese in China
for several years before moving to America.
"Students here are very different, because they don't have a background
in the language unlike students in China," said Jiao.
This is Jiao's first semester at ULV. Previously she taught Chinese
at Riverside Community College.
This semester, the class consists of four female students, but Dr. Lavatori
hopes this will change next semester as more students become aware of the
"Learning Mandarin Chinese is like learning to draw. The chinese
characters are very beautiful," said Quyen Nguyen, a senior math major
enrolled in the class.
Jiao said if one takes two semesters of Chinese, it will not be difficult
to create simple sentences to communicate with others. She also said that
learning Mandarin Chinese does not happen overnight-it requires commitment.
"It's easy to pass the class. The real challenge is passing the
class with the satisfaction of knowing that you learned something,"