Montgomery College is offering Chinese for the first time this fall and instructor Yuying Liu can’t wait.
“I absolutely love teaching Chinese and I’m so excited to be a part of the first course offered by Montgomery College,” said Liu, who is also founder and principal of the Hua-Xia Chinese School Northwest Campus near Willowbrook Mall in northwest Houston. “I plan to give my students the training to help them communicate in business settings and leisure situations. When they transfer to a four-year college they’ll be able to advance their learning with no problem.”
Beginning Chinese (CHIN 1411) will meet in room 213 of The University Center (the campus adjacent to Montgomery College) from 10:30 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays this fall. The course will be offered both as an academic credit class, as well as for students desiring continuing education in the subject.
An introduction to modern spoken Mandarin and written Simplified Chinese, the course will include beginners' speaking, listening comprehension and basic principles in grammar, along with simple exercises in composition and reading, character writing and Chinese culture, said Dr. David Zimmermann, Montgomery College department chair of languages and English-as-a-Second Language (ESL).
There is “obviously a lot involved” for someone to learn a foreign language such as Chinese, which has a completely different structure than English, said Liu. “But I know from experience that people can do it. I think the method of teaching I use will help students reach their goal.”
Liu immigrated to the United States in the 1970’s to earn a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has taught Chinese to elementary and secondary school kids. Her experience also includes teaching nutrition in Texas high school, and teaching Chinese for business in a corporate environment. She has completed training programs offered by the China National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language.
Montgomery College chose to offer the course because the demand to learn Chinese, as well as other “critical languages” such as Russian and Arabic, is on the rise, said Zimmermann.
Two-year colleges have long offered foreign languages such as Spanish, French and Italian, but as the economy goes increasingly global and technology brings everyone closer together, the need for knowing additional languages increases, said Zimmermann.
“We look to broaden our horizons beyond the typical European languages and Chinese would be our first foray into this,” he said. “We hope to expand on that and offer Russian and Arabic within the next couple of years. Another interesting language that we are trying to grow by increasing our offerings from six hours to 12 is sign language. We are really excited about taking our language program in new and diverse directions.”
The Chinese Consulate General office in Houston has expressed its great pleasure with the course offering and will be providing Montgomery College with some Chinese textbooks and learning materials, said Changsong Ren, consul of the People's Republic of China in Houston.
“I am very glad to know that the Chinese language program will begin this fall semester at Montgomery College. That is really great news,” said Ren, who added that more and more colleges and universities are establishing Chinese language programs. “More people here are now becoming very excited with the Chinese culture, which has a long history of 5000 years.”
“The exchange between the United States and the People’s Republic of China has grown to a new high level in recent years,” said Ren. “I am sure that the language learning and the exchange between education and cultures will bring more mutual understanding, more appreciation and harmony. And I am sure that this first Chinese language program at Montgomery College will raise a new wave of learning Chinese language and culture.”
Liu said she hopes to incorporate what she has learned from teaching in the American education system into her Chinese language courses.
“In China, the teacher tells you the answer and the only thing the student has to do is memorize. But here in the United States, the student is encouraged to be an independent thinker,” said Liu. “And I hope that I am able to turn out many independent thinkers who will also happen to know the fascinating Chinese language.”
The common prerequisites are college-level English and math, and students may register with an unofficial college transcript. Students seeking the language skills only (and not college credit) are encouraged to contact Montgomery College’s Language and Culture Institute program manager, Stephen Koszewski (e-mail: email@example.com) for more information. For registration information, visit the college Web site at montgomery.lonestar.edu.
Montgomery College is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call (936) 273-7000, or visit montgomery.lonestar.edu.
NHMCCD, among the five largest and fastest growing community colleges in Texas, comprise, Cy-Fair College, Kingwood College, Montgomery College, North Harris College, Tomball College, six satellite centers, and The University Center.