Taylorsville High students pick up some culture and language experience at Chinese market.
Aug 29, 2019 12:23PM
● By Jet Burnham
Students explore a Chinese market to practice their Chinese language skills and learn about Asian culture. (Mengqi Wang/THS)
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
Jason Dieu, a junior at Taylorsville High School, said he can speak passable Chinese after three years of classes, but he is always learning new things about Asian culture.
“My favorite part about learning Chinese is that it is such a new experience,” he said. “Compared to our culture, Chinese culture is so different and interesting.”
THS offers Chinese classes for foreign language credit. The school also hosts advanced Chinese classes as part of the dual immersion language program. All students learning Chinese were invited to participate in a field trip this spring to a local Chinatown market for an authentic experience in Chinese culture.
“The store is a good place for them to make observations and do cultural comparisons,” said Mengqi Wang, a Chinese instructor at THS. He said the store is stocked with a wide variety of cultural merchandise, cluing students in to cultural norms and values and providing a visually immersive experience for them.
“We all got to experience and explore the culture of Asian people through their environment,” Dieu said. “That's the kind of thing that a classroom setting couldn't teach students. It provided meaning and experience that reading a book or watching a video can't provide.”
The students had two tasks while exploring the market. First, they looked for some fairly culturally specific grocery items — soy sauce, dragon fruit, bamboo shoots and Sichuan peppercorns. This challenge gave them practice in reading, writing and pronouncing the words and prices, as students read the signage and asked questions of native Chinese speakers who were working and shopping at the market.
Students also gathered information to create a presentation comparing snacks, meats/seafood, vegetables/fruit, spices and seasonings found in an Asian market with those found in typical American grocery stores.
The field trip culminated in lunch at a Chinese restaurant for a taste of authentic Chinese food.
There are 25 schools in Granite District that offer DLI programs for French, Spanish and Chinese. Calvin Smith Elementary houses one of two Chinese DLI programs in the district. Those students feed into the Chinese program at Bennion Junior High and then continue onto Taylorsville High School to complete the program. THS is the only school in Granite District to host two DLI programs—Chinese and Spanish.