About 20 first-grade students at Northwest Austin’s Doss Elementary School cheered their classmate in Chinese on Monday as he tried to remember Sunday’s date.
“Add oil, Ben G.!” chimed the children in Chinese, using the common Chinese idiom to encourage him.
As the boy pointed to the 23rd on the calendar, students congratulated him, “Fei chang hao!”
Although they went all summer without the intensive Chinese language training they had been receiving at Doss, students were barely rusty. They listened to their teacher Connie Soong speak only in Mandarin and easily answered her questions in the language.
Doss, which expanded the dual language program into the fourth grade this year, reflects the growing emphasis of dual language programs across Central Texas. The Austin school district has 13,000 dual language students, and the rest of the region has about 5,000 more, with most of the growth happening over the past five years.
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