What our Chinese learning looks like

At Canadian Lead Primary School, Chinese (Mandarin) is taught to all students from Foundation to Year 6. Each class has one Chinese lesson per week. Following the student-centred approach, interactive games and activities are integrated with each topic to allow students to use the targeting language in an engaging and effective manner. For example through learning Chinese folklores and songs, performing role-plays and participating in art-making activities, students will be able to explore the culture and experience using the language authentically and meaningfully.

In our program, not only do we stress the significance in scaffolding students to explore and use the language, but also do we aim to assist students to gain an appreciation of a foreign culture and the ability to relate to others from other cultures. In doing so, we investigate, discuss and celebrate the main traditional Chinese festivals throughout the year by engaging in culturally related activities. These are achieved through incursions, excursions, and learning about Spring Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival. This year our students particularly enjoyed the Chinese lion dance incursion as well as making and tasting authentic Chinese dumplings. YUM!! Besides, our school is a part of the Gum Loong team, and this brings the opportunity to showcase the Gum Loong awakening ceremony to our students every year. We’ve also been actively involved with Ballarat Begonia Festival parade every year. All of these extra culturally related activities are great ways to complement and enrich students’ cultural awareness and language learning experience.

Chinese is a tonal language and contains lots of homophones. Starting from prep, all the learnt words are accompanied with hand gestures for indicating the tones. As a result in the Chinese class, words are visually, kinesthetically and auditorily presented through speech and gesture simultaneously. In the junior school, our students will experience drawing Chinese characters through pictographs and stories. Most importantly, they will learn the language with an emphasis on Chinese culture and simple communicative skills, such as their listening and speaking capabilities in using basic greeting words, counting numbers from 1 to 10 and so forth.

While in the middle unit, students’ listening, speaking, reading and writing skills will be further developed through building on vocabulary and basic sentence structures in a variety of topics covered in the Chinese class. This includes personal pronouns, family, adjectives, colours, fruit and animals. Students will also start to develop an understanding to write characters with the correct stroke orders by tracing the words.

Our students in the senior year will be able to write high frequency words independently, and with or without assistance they could engage, participate and respond to basic conversations in relation to social and personal information. More than that, ICT tools and resources are actively embedded in the classroom to further support students’ language acquisition. By the end of year 6, students are also expected to be able to use digital technologies to create simple digital bilingual texts.

Chinese Academy

Chinese Academy is an extended after school learning class and it is held on Monday and Tuesday for 1 hour (from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm), providing a solid extra hour for our students who are particularly interested in learning Chinese to gain more practice and reinforcement of their language skills. In comparison to a normal Chinese class, Chinese Academy focuses on giving each child more individualised learning opportunities in an enjoyable and collaborative way. This includes learning popular Chinese songs, making puppet shows, paper cutting, practising Chinese calligraphy, using chopsticks to get Maltesers, handcrafting and many more to be explored upon students’ choice, as we value the importance of having students to take ownership of their own learning!

In order to better accommodate students’ varying level of learning needs, Monday’s session is held for Junior Unit students, while the Tuesday session is held for Middle and Senior Unit students.

Our Chinese Academy students will also represent and promote our Chinese program at various occasions and events. We even hope that we could host a visit from our Chinese sister school in Beijing in the future!