As China develops into a world economic powerhouse, more and more people are interested in studying its official language. Over 1.3 billion people speak Mandarin Chinese in China, Singapore and Taiwan and in recent years there has been an increased demand for bilingual Mandarin speakers in the workplace.
We introduced Mandarin Chinese into Eltham College Senior School in 2010. Exposure to the most widely spoken language in the world and to a language which is entirely different to all foreign European languages will not only provide a bold challenge but also great rewards for students. The ability to understand and communicate in Mandarin Chinese is a lifelong skill for education, employment and leisure in this country and throughout the world.
Aims of the department
We aim to provide opportunities for students to appreciate different aspects of Chinese culture and to gain an understanding of how the Mandarin Chinese language is structured, manipulated and applied differently from students’ own language.
We also aim to help our students to develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in Chinese through a variety of opportunities in their learning experience.
Years 7 and 8
In Year 7, students have three lessons per week of Mandarin Chinese and Year 8 students have three lessons per week and one piece of homework will be set. Students will study a variety of topics including:
|Year 7||Year 8|
|Introduction and Greetings||School|
|Numbers and Age||Food and Drinks|
|Family and Pets||Daily Meals|
|Birthdays and Dates||Weather|
|Hobbies and Sports||Countries, Nationality and Languages|
|School Subjects||Holiday Locations and Activities|
We provide students with a core textbook “Jin Bu 1” and “Jin Bu 2” (part one) in the Lower School supplemented with a workbook and a subscribed online learning platform “GoChinese”.
In Year 9, students have three lessons per week of Mandarin Chinese and one piece of homework will be set. Students will study a variety of topics including:
- Home and furniture
- Daily routine
- Colour and clothes
- Places and directions
- Weekend plans
- Shopping and online activities
- Seasons and time frames
- Expressing feelings and opinions
We provide students with a core textbook “Jin Bu 2” supplemented with a workbook and two subscribed online learning platforms: GoChinese and “iPandarin”.
Mandarin Chinese is an option subject at GCSE. Students follow the Edexcel GCSE Chinese (9-1) specification.
At GCSE, students have one double lesson and two single lessons per week of Mandarin Chinese and two pieces of homework will be set. Full details can be found in the specification but topics include:
|Year 10||Year 11|
|Identity||Education and School|
|Local Area and Environment||Study and Work|
|Holiday and Travel||International and Global Dimension|
We provide students with a core textbook “Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Chinese” and a subscribed online learning platform “GoChinese”.
The course is examined by four exams at the end of Year 11.
- Paper 1: Listening and Understanding in Chinese—understand and respond to different types of spoken language 25%. 50 minutes.
- Paper 2: Speaking in Chinese—communicate and interact effectively in speech 25%. 25 minutes.
- Paper 3: Reading and Understanding in Chinese—understand and respond to different types of written language 25%. 50 minutes.
- Paper 4: Writing in Chinese—communicate in writing 25%. One hour and 25 minutes.
Trips, activities and clubs
In addition to our teaching there are a range of opportunities to support the development of students’ Mandarin Chinese knowledge.
We organise a study trip to China every two years in October half term. It is open to Year 9 to Year 11 students who are learning Mandarin Chinese. During the ten-day trip, we visit three major cities in China: Beijing, Xi’an and Tianjin. We will also visit our partner school in Beijing and Tianjin where the students can interact with Chinese students and participate in cultural activities.
The trip to China will provide a fantastic opportunity for the students to use their Chinese language skills in many practical situations. By visiting many historical sites and interacting with Chinese students it will increase students’ motivation and interest in their language learning. It is certainly a beneficial experience for students who will be preparing for their GCSE Chinese speaking and writing assessment. We have run three hugely successful study trips to China in 2014, 2016 and 2019 October. The next trip will take place in October half term 2022.
Chinese New Year trip to the British Museum and Chinatown
We also run a day trip to the British Museum and London’s Chinatown during the Chinese New Year for Year 10 students where they will explore Chinese history and culture through the exhibition of objects in the museum as well as to experience the Chinese new year celebration, authentic Chinese cuisine and shopping in Chinatown.
- Ms M Su BA MA (Head of Mandarin)