Course Description

Mandarin 1

Unlock the door to a fascinating new world of language and culture in Chinese 1! Students will learn the foundations of Mandarin Chinese and explore the rich history and traditions of one of the world’s oldest and most influential civilizations while striving to understand the special place of the Chinese people in God’s plan. Students will develop the essential skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing Chinese characters while also studying the customs and practices that make Chinese culture so unique, from calligraphy and painting to martial arts and cuisine. 

Mandarin 2

In this course, students will build on the skills learned in Chinese 1 to further their ability in Mandarin Chinese and continue gaining a deeper understanding of the traditions and unique cultural practices of the Chinese people. Students will have more opportunities to speak and present in the Chinese language individually and with their peers. 

Mandarin 3

This high school course introduces students to Mandarin Chinese, focusing on language acquisition and cultural understanding. Through a combination of vocabulary building, grammar lessons, and interactive activities, students will learn to communicate in Mandarin with confidence. The course emphasizes listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, with an introduction to Chinese characters and Pinyin (the Romanization of Mandarin pronunciation).

Students will also explore Chinese culture, history, and traditions, gaining insight into the customs and values of Chinese-speaking regions. The course includes conversations, role-playing, and multimedia projects to reinforce language skills and cultural knowledge. By the end of the course, students will have a foundational understanding of Mandarin Chinese and an appreciation for Chinese culture. This course is ideal for those interested in learning a new language and broadening their global perspective.

Our Approach to World Languages

The approach to teaching World Languages at American Heritage School is based upon three primary goals. First, we desire to expose students to a diverse variety of cultures, ethnic traditions, and societies throughout the world. As is taught in the first of our Seven Principles of Liberty, we want students to learn to see that “all people are children of our Heavenly Father. Each child of God and all of God’s creations have a unique, divine purpose.” Second, we desire to expose students to different languages because of the long-term cognitive benefits of linguistic awareness and linguistic analysis. Third, we desire to expose students to different languages because it removes the fear of learning new languages and helps children believe that new language acquisition is not only possible, but also fun and exciting. In three words, these goals are tied to the “culture, cognition, and confidence” benefits that world language instruction provides. We also recognize that proficiency or even fluency are additional goals that some families have for their children. We have made thoughtful and measured allocations of school resources, class time, and student homework time to accomplish the three goals outlined above. We want to be clear that we do not expect our students to become proficient or fluent in a second language based purely upon these allocations of time and resources; however, where students and families would like to pursue language acquisition more than what is offered in our curricular courses, we encourage them to take advantage of extracurricular world language opportunities and resources available at AHS and elsewhere.

Course Details


Second Grade Third Grade Fourth Grade Fifth Grade   Sixth Grade Seventh Grade Eighth Grade Ninth Grade Tenth Grade Eleventh Grade Twelfth Grade

Course Objectives

  • Build a foundational vocabulary in Mandarin Chinese.
  • Learn basic Mandarin grammar and sentence structure.
  • Develop skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
  • Gain familiarity with Chinese characters and Pinyin.
  • Explore Chinese culture, history, and traditions.

Course Outline

Unit 1: Introduction to Mandarin Chinese

  • Overview of Mandarin Chinese
    • Basic concepts of Mandarin, including tones and Pinyin.
    • Introduction to common greetings and simple phrases.
  • Learning Pinyin and Tones
    • Detailed study of Pinyin and its pronunciation rules.
    • Practice with the four tones of Mandarin.

Unit 2: Building Vocabulary and Grammar

  • Basic Vocabulary and Sentence Structure
    • Essential vocabulary for everyday communication.
    • Introduction to simple sentence structure and word order.
  • Common Verbs and Adjectives
    • Learning common verbs and their basic conjugations.
    • Understanding how adjectives work in Mandarin sentences.

Unit 3: Developing Listening and Speaking Skills

  • Listening Practice
    • Engaging in listening exercises with Mandarin audio and videos.
    • Comprehension activities to improve listening skills.
  • Speaking and Conversation
    • Practicing basic conversational phrases and questions.
    • Role-playing scenarios to develop speaking skills.

Unit 4: Exploring Chinese Culture and Traditions

  • Chinese Holidays and Traditions
    • Overview of significant Chinese holidays (e.g., Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival).
    • Learning vocabulary and customs associated with these traditions.
  • Chinese History 
    • Introduction to key events in Chinese history.

Unit 5: Reading and Writing Chinese Characters

  • Introduction to Chinese Characters
    • Basic principles of Chinese characters and their components.
    • Learning common radicals and simple characters.
  • Reading and Writing Practice
    • Reading simple texts and recognizing common characters.
    • Practicing writing Chinese characters using proper stroke order.

Unit 6: Intermediate Mandarin Grammar and Vocabulary

  • Expanding Vocabulary
    • Learning additional vocabulary for various contexts.
    • Building more complex sentences with conjunctions and prepositions.
  • Intermediate Grammar Concepts
    • Exploring more complex sentence structures.
    • Introduction to past and future tenses in Mandarin.

Unit 7: Final Projects and Course Reflection

  • Final Project Development
    • Students create a final project showcasing their Mandarin skills.
    • Projects could include presentations, videos, or written assignments.
  • Course Review and Reflection
    • Comprehensive review of key concepts and skills.
    • Reflection on personal growth and language development in Mandarin.

Expected Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will have a foundational understanding of Mandarin Chinese vocabulary, grammar, and Chinese characters. They will be able to communicate in Mandarin at a basic level, engage in simple conversations, and have a greater appreciation for Chinese culture and traditions. This course aims to build a strong foundation for further language study and cultural exploration.

Coming soon.

Coming soon.

Ms. Lisa Fifield

Lisa Machen Fifield was born and raised on a potato farm in Roberts, Idaho. In 1999 she was the first person in her family to graduate from college when she earned a BFA in Ballet Performance from the University of Utah. Upon completion of her studies, she became China’s first-ever American ballerina! Touring and performing more than one hundred performances throughout China as well as the United States.

Lisa pioneered Chinese language instruction in the state of Utah and has taught Chinese to every grade from K-12., traditional, immersion, and on-line. She has worked for the State of Utah’s Governor’s Office in Foreign Relations as a translator and interpreter, Samsung’s Utah Olympic Games in 2002, and as a liaison for Utah China-Harvard Business Group. She has been fortunate to host numerous foreign dignitaries and delegations from Taiwan and China.

She is the mother of two children, Kate, and Jane, who are her greatest accomplishments. Her husband Nathan is the love of her life, and she recognizes the hand of God as the source of their strength. She is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work at American Heritage Academy teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and Mandarin-Chinese; her dream come true!

梅清纱在爱德华州出生。她出生在一个土豆农场家庭;从小就梦想着成为一名芭蕾舞者。1999年广州芭蕾舞团的张丹丹邀请她去中国跳舞。不过她那个时候只会说一个句子:‘’我不知道。‘’。梅清纱一飞到中国立刻就发现一件事:她觉得中国也是她的国家。因此她立刻去找中国朋友帮助她学习中国的语言文化社会与历史。一次,她有机会学习团里的 ‘’黄河‘’ 芭蕾舞。可是因为她不是中国人因此她不被允许参加这个舞蹈表演。梅清纱却不轻易放弃; 她仍然参加每一个排练;努力学习;她学会了每一位舞者的舞步。表演即将开始时,一位舞者忽然受伤了;梅清纱因此得以代替表演她的部分。