69.4 F
Thursday, May 30, 2024

Buy now


Language classes broadening world of Memphis Business Academy students

Shunskis Hamilton knew it could be done. She knew her Frayser students could excel in studying other languages and cultures. Broadening their exposure beyond Memphis and the U.S. meant opening up exciting avenues to living and working in an increasingly global society.

Shunskis Hamilton, Principal at Memphis Business Academy

“We are proud to engage our students and our staff on a journey where diversity and cultural distinction is celebrated,” said Hamilton, principal of Memphis Business Academy (MBA). “We want our children to be prepared for the many varieties of career choices which utilize diversity, empathy, and multicultural knowledge.”

MBA is being recognized as one of Shelby County School’s most notable and advanced foreign language programs. Offerings include Chinese Spanish, French and Japanese.

“The exponential growth of our students academically and emotionally as they study the languages and cultures of other societies has, indeed, been exciting,” Hamilton said. “Not only are many of our students thriving in foreign studies, but I think some will find great career interests as they grow older. Their journeys are beginning right here at MBA.”

This year, a national program recognized this Frayser school’s support and promotion of multiculturalism and foreign language instruction with a rare honor.

“We were honored when The Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP) chose us from the many thousands of schools around the nation,” said COO Dr. Menthia Bradley.

The program brings Chinese, Egyptian and Moroccan teachers to U.S. schools to teach Mandarin Chinese and Arabic. These exchange teachers not only teach their native language, but also their culture and history for one academic year.

“We applied last year and were not chosen, but this year we did receive a Chinese teacher,” Bradley said. “Our students just love her, and she is getting to be quite ‘Americanized.’”

Cai Qi (pronounced Tie Che) was one of 19 Chinese and 10 Arabic teachers to take part in this year’s TCLP’s program, sponsored by the a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs with the U.S. Department of State. She relishes this new experience.

“I enjoy taking Chinese because it teaches me different traditions and a new culture. It influences me to explore China and learn new things. Learning Chinese has taught me how every country is different.” — Valerie Hill

“Dr. Bradley and all of the people at MBA have been so warm and friendly to me,” said Qi. “The first days were lonely because I was missing my son and everything that was so familiar to me. But now, I have an apartment, and so happy to be learning about life in America. And I just love teaching the children so much. They are very smart and eager to learn my language and my culture.”

Eigth-grader Valerie Hill studies Chinese/Mandarin.

“I enjoy taking Chinese because it teaches me different traditions and a new culture,” said Hill. “It influences me to explore China and learn new things. Learning Chinese has taught me how every country is different.”

Different and fun is how eight-grader Alexis Price describes his Chinese/Mandarin learning experience.

“I also love Chinese romances on Netflix, but I always use the captions. It’s funny to realize that Netflix doesn’t always have the correct translations.”

The American Councils for International Education, along with the State Department, recruits and places teachers, monitoring them throughout the course of the school year and visiting them in their American communities to observe the mutual exchange of language and culture first-hand. “This year, for the very first time, we will celebrate ‘International Day,’ said Hamilton. “Our students and teachers will highlight and experience a variety of cultures and how people around the globe live. Studying different languages presents tremendous opportunities for our children now and in the future. This component changes education as we have known it.

“Our students are increasing their cultural competencies. For Memphis, that is so exciting. For the Frayser community, it is just thrilling.”

Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest News