Ready to have some fun learning a foreign language? Middlebury Interactive Languages offers a variety of languages for grades K-12 (not every language is available for each level.) Since my oldest daughter (25 years) and my youngest (7 years) both have an interest in Asian culture, they agreed to work together if I got the opportunity to review the Elementary Chinese 1 course, geared for grades 3-5. I know the level was a little high for my son but with my older daughter working side by side with him, we all thought it would work out fine.
About Middlebury Interactive Languages
Middlebury uses the immersion approach to teaching languages. The program was developed by highly academic and linguistic experts to not only master a language, but to learn about the culture. The course will engage the student through various tasks (I’ll go over lessons later) and has won several awards for their innovation in digital education.
You can access the lessons either through the calendar (which will automatically assign the lessons) or through the Table of Contents, which is what we did.
As you click on each folder, it opens up the lessons for each unit. Elementary Chinese 1 has 45 lessons and is considered one semester. (You purchase the course by semesters, which is for 6 months and is either $119 without a teacher or an additional $175 with a teacher). We did the self-paced course without a teacher. A teacher would offer personalized feedback and ongoing support. Note: If you have a high schooler doing a course for credit, depending on your state’s criteria, you might would want to do the teacher option where Middlebury will match your student with a state-certified teacher to ensure you would receive proper credit.
On to the lessons.
The lessons are based on a story from the Chinese culture. As your student progresses, they will learn vocabulary, grammar, handwriting (which my son LOVED since it’s not the alphabet we use…he thought he was writing in secret code), and cultural information. This is done in a variety of ways making the course very interactive and will appeal to all learners.
We did not have a microphone to work with the program but there are lessons in the speaking lab where you can speak and it will “check” your pronunciation. I highly recommend it for Chinese!! As you work through the course, your grades are automatically recorded. You can retake tests but it does not change the grade.
Remember that this uses the immersion method so there is very little English instruction. I found it to be a very thorough program. I do think my son would have struggled on his own but this course was above his level. Chinese is a harder language to learn but the pronunciation was very distinct and my kids really enjoyed learning to write the characters which is an element that is usually not included in most foreign language programs and learning about the cultural. I even found them searching for China related documentaries on Netflix to watch!
Google +: https://plus.google.com/b/110371351490550861545/110371351490550861545/posts