Mt. Vernon High School adds Mandarin Chinese course

Yi-Fan Lin works with students in her MVHS classroom. (Submitted photo)

Yi-Fan Lin works with students in her MVHS classroom. (Submitted photo)

Thanks to an international partnership, Mt. Vernon High School students were presented with a new foreign language class offering this fall.

MVHS is offering a pair of Mandarin Chinese classes and the language is being integrated in the eighth grade World Language course at Mt. Vernon Middle School thanks to a partnership between MVHS, the Indiana Dept. of Education and the Ministry of Education in Taiwan.

Yi-Fan Lin has joined the Mt. Vernon staff from Taipei City, Taiwan. She previously attended the University of Missouri in St. Louis, where she also served as a creative writing mentor during her six-month student exchange.

“People are super friendly and helpful here. When I got off the plane there were people with signs welcoming me,” Lin stated. “I love the students. They seem adventurous, very diverse and open-minded. Some want to learn the language because they have a Chinese background, some have grandparents in China they want to be able to communicate with and some thing learning language will give them opportunities for future international jobs.”

Lin’s teaching exchange contract is for one year, but both her and the school are hoping to extend it for a second.

Mt Vernon Supt. Dr. Shane Robbins had previous connections with Ministry of Education in Taiwan from hosting groups of Taiwanese students, teachers and administrators at his previous district in Shelby County. Robbins and MVHS Principal Greg Roach visited Taiwan in June to interview teaching candidates and develop a relationship with a sister school, Banqiao Senior High School. The schools hope to begin communications between students and share live video feeds between classrooms, with the partnership potentially becoming an exchange program for students and staff.

“I’m pleased we are providing students with exposure to yet another culture,” Robbins stated. “Learning the world is a bigger place than just their four walls is an important part of student development. This experience and partnership with Taiwan will enlighten our students how big our world is and provide additional resources to develop skills and opportunities for their futures.”

Mandarin Chinese, the most common and official dialect of the language in China, is the fourth language offered by MVHS, joining Spanish, French and American Sign Language.

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