LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Confucius Institute at UCA has been bringing the Chinese language to Arkansas for several years. Yet, it's the first year the Pulaski County Special School District has partnered with the institute. Now, more than 100 students are enrolled in classes and growing.
"Some of the words are hard because some of them sound really funny and stuff, says fifth grader Senea Porchay.
Teacher Huihong Hu is teaching College Station Elementary kids the most spoken language in the world, Chinese. And she's making it fun.
"They have their own Chinese name and character and they can write it," says Hu.
The Pulaski County Special School District hired three Chinese language teachers, this year for the elementary level all the way to the high school.
Maumelle High School students are in the middle of enrolling in Yan Jin's class. This period has just two students but is expected to grow. Jin says American students challenge her to change-up her teaching style.
"Students are more independent and they like to do more activities and more projects to express their own opinions," says Jin.
Teachers say one of the hardest parts is teaching the four different tones.
With China's economy expanding, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Linda Remely says the district wanted to provide this opportunity for students.
"Even if they don't become fluent in Chinese, they are learning about the culture and how to interact and we think it's a benefit for children to be exposed to Chinese culture, says Dr. Remele.