Mandarine Chinese, Russian and Arabic are three world languages are now being offered at Tomah Middle School.
“I'm taking a Rosetta Stone program,” said Matthew Buss, Tomah Middle School 8th grader.
That computer software program specializes in teaching a foreign language. Matthew Buss is one of six middle school students who are piloting this foreign language program.
“I thought it would be something different to try,” said Matthew, “and I've always kind of wanted to learn Chinese.”
Matthew is learning Mandarine Chinese as a part of the Tomah School District's personalized approach to exposing students to as many foreign languages as possible.
“Our intent is to expose them to German and Spanish their 6th grade year,” said Steven Buss, Tomah Middle School principal. “And then in 7th grade year, they get to pick between three languages whether it's Arabic, Chinese or Russian.”
The foreign language computer software is being paid for with grant money, and offers the students the opportunity to learn at their own pace.
“It was a little hard to use at first, but then I got used to it after a while,” said Matthew. “So, it's been kind of routine now.”
Next year, every 7th grader at Tomah Middle will get to choose between Mandarine Chinese, Russian and Arabic. They will all be taking the class on a computer, and at their own pace.
“The biggest thing we're hoping to learn is how can we go ahead and implement this effectively for next year based off our six kids; based off their progress level,” said Steven.
Matthew is doing well in his Mandarine Chinese class. He plans to continue studying the language next year when he enters high school in hopes of becoming fluent.
“If I travel to other countries, I won't need a translator,” said Matthew. “I can just speak to them in their native language.”
“To have the ability to be able to actually go ahead and speak that foreign language, and be fluent, makes you so much more marketable in that global economy,” said Steven.
And this personalized computer software program is making it possible for Tomah Middle School students to get a taste for as many different world languages as possible.