Published: Nov. 12, 2012

In Colorado, Mandarin Chinese is becoming the first choice as a second language. Statewide, over 60 schools are offering Chinese language courses, starting as young as preschool. And for good reason: almost one billion people speak Mandarin worldwide, and 100 million of those are non-Chinese. In a recent article, the Denver Post explains that the 2008 Beijing Olympics and China's growing presence in the world economy have both contributed to the language's surge in popularity. 

The article cites the work of the Center for Asian Studies’ Program for Teaching East Asia (TEA) in the field of professional development for Chinese language teachers. For the past three years, TEA has received federal grants from STARTALK, a National Security Language Initiative that seeks to expand and improve the teaching and learning of strategically important world languages that are not now widely taught in the US. TEA’s STARTALK program brings secondary Chinese language teachers from around the country to the CU Boulder campus for an intensive week-long summer program designed to improve language pedagogy and curriculum design in new Chinese language initiatives, particularly at the middle school level. TEA also offers summer institutes, study tours, local workshops and national online professional development courses on China and East Asia to K-12 educators.Through all these programs, TEA connects classroom teachers with emerging scholarship being undertaken by scholars from CU Boulder and other leading institutions. 

Stressing the importance of learning Chinese, Colorado consultant Mike Boyd is quoted as saying, "If you are going to get around in the world, you are going to need to speak Chinese. It's a language everyone is going to be speaking." To see a complete list of Chinese language courses offered at CU, please visit our Course List.