Zheng Yue, a young woman from China who is teaching her native language to students in this town on the Oklahoma grasslands, was explaining a vocabulary quiz on a recent morning. Then a student interrupted.
“Sorry, I was zoning out,” said the girl, a junior wearing black eye makeup. “What are we supposed to be doing?”
Ms. Zheng seemed taken aback but patiently repeated the instructions.
“In China,” she said after class, “if you teach the students and they don’t get it, that’s their problem. Here if they don’t get it, you teach it again.”
China, we are told, wants to teach the world Mandarin, so it's sending several hundred teachers here to teach in US schools, subsidized by the Chinese government. US school administrators visit Chinese schools in reply.
I think this is inevitable and good, strengthening bold sides and increasing understanding. It is hard to imagine a global culture a generation hence that isn't as infiltrated by Chinese and today's is by Japanese--the exporters of cool. Nothing quite makes a culture feel secure in its own accomplishments than to have their ways incorporated by other cultures.