As China’s economy continues to grow, many parents have wondered if their kid should be learning Mandarin to be prepared for the future. But in the U.S., very few elementary schools offer the language as an option, as Spanish and French continue to be the top choices for language education. However, parents can now have their kids learning Mandarin from qualified teachers in China with VIPKid, a Chinese education technology startup. The company recently released an online education program called Lingo Bus, which allows overseas clients to sign up for Mandarin lessons whenever they’re available. Teachers will be assigned to them to match their schedule.
Lingo Bus launched this week by VIPKid to meet the demand of people around the world wanting to learn Mandarin. The company says all instructors are certified, they employ full-time Chinese teachers who want to earn extra income. Having actual teachers lead structured lessons would seem to be a huge advantage over learning the language from such methods as apps or books, especially when children are concerned.
Many will still question whether taking the time to learn another language is really worth it when technology is starting to surface that makes language translation easier and easier. But Mandarin has grown substantially over the last 40 years, and having a fluency or even working knowledge will prove extremely helpful. Even without the potential economic advantages, research suggests that “learning to write Chinese characters may train a whole array of cognitive abilities not utilized by the study of other languages and writing systems.” So, VIPKid’s Lingo Bus might be an extracurricular worth exploring.