Mandarin Enrichment Days and Hurdle Tests
Final Results of the Hurdle Tests in May, 2019
Since the formal launch of the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) in January 2019, both the MEP students and the teacher have been working incredibly hard towards the hurdle tests, which happened in May, 2019. The hurdle tests take in the form of GCSE. Each year MEP students are required to sit four skill tests, namely listening, speaking, reading and writing. Listening and reading tests are operated online through “GoChinese”, with each one being out of 25 marks. Speaking and writing tests are conducted in the exam conditions in classrooms with supervision and each one being out of 50 marks.
As required by the programme, students have been taking 4 hours of Mandarin lessons at school each week, as well as 4 hours of independent learning at home. With the continuous support and guidance from both Mr Zhang and the parents as well as the continuous hard work, MEP students have achieved amazing scores in the tests. As their Mandarin teacher, I am very proud of every single one of my students. I am also very grateful that parents have been supportive and helpful along the journey. With the new school year starting, I can’t wait to continue the journey with the new Y8 cohort. At the same time, I am very excited to welcome the new Y7 cohort.
Enrichment week summary: Enrichment activities with Chinese visitors (Interviews, Singing, Film appreciation, Dumpling buffet and cultural presentations) / Speech by the head of Education and Society of the British Council / the trip to London Chinatown / Mandarin lesson and visit to SOAS University of London / team activity and competition, Chinese art (origami)
The 8th of July in session 5 – Chinese interviews in the library: Our MEP students took the initiatives to interview the Chinese students with 20 questions in Mandarin and then create personal profiles in Chinese characters.
The 11th of July
Session1 and 2: Our MEP students were divided into 9 groups. Each group chose a topic regarding one thing that is well-known in the British cultures. Students worked in groups to collect information, create PPT slides and prepare a 6-minute presentation in both Mandarin and Chinese for our Chinese visitors.
Session3 to (1/2)section4: Chinese students took the initiatives to teach our MEP students useful and authentic phrases from a Chinese film about the secondary school life in China.
(1/2)Session4: Students had a Chinese dumpling buffet together, and socialised with each other with background music both in Chinese and English. The Head of Education and Society came to deliver a talk to recognise the marvellous achievements by our MEP students as well as to inspire their Mandarin learning in the future. Our MEP students also performed the Mandarin speech with both verbal and sign languages to welcome the guest.
Session 5 and 6: Both the Chinese students and our MEP students and student ambassadors sat together to watch a Chinese film about the secondary school life in China. Students had cultural discussions during the break and after the film. Our MEP students were really impressed by the school life in China. They not only learned about the differences between the schools and educational situations, but also get to discover the commonalities that are shared in these two different cultures, which contributes to their cultural intelligence and awareness.
The 12th of July – Session 1, 2 and 5 in the Cooksey Centre:
Session1 and 2: Our MEP students took the lead to deliver the 6-minute presentations in both Mandarin and English. Our visitors got to raise questions for further discussions.
Session5: Our MEP students delivered a farewell speech and a song in Mandarin to the Chinese visitors. Following that, they sang the Chinese song 手牵手 – hand in hand in both English and Mandarin while reminiscing the time that they had spent together. It was a very touching moment to see students in tears hugging each other and saying goodbye after taking the group pictures.
The 16th of July: The trip to London
Accompanied by the staff members from school, our MEP students set out the trip to London with excitement and many snacks. In our first stop in SOAS, we were offered a campus tour by the student ambassadors. Students were impressed by the different facilities and activities the university had to offer. Following that, students and teachers had a one-hour Mandarin language and culture taster session. Students were not only able to showcase the knowledge that they had acquired, but also learned a lot of fascinating facts about China and the Chinese cultures. Following the lunch in the university hall, we got on the tube to go to China Town. On arrival, students were given tasks to search for Chinese characters and phrases that they had known and hadn’t known. After that, they needed to approach the native speakers to both introduce themselves and ask questions in Mandarin. Students also bought different kinds of Chinese snacks and food to share with each other. The Chinese bubble tea was a particular highlight. Some of them even bought gifts and souvenirs for their friends and families. It was very culturally rich and interesting when students asked me questions about different kinds of things and situations in different shops.
The 18th of July
Session1 and 2 in the Cooksey centre: group competitions. Our MEP students were divided into 3 groups. Each group were given 30 – 40 minutes to revise the words, and phrases that they had learned over the last few months about school life and food. After that, they competed against each other in groups. The competitions included matching Chinese characters and pinyin with English translations, arranging the Chinese characters and phrases in the correct order to build sentences, finding and correcting mistakes in sentences in a long paragraph, writing Chinese characters according to the pinyin that is provided. The competitions took the forms of a rally. Students in each group took turns to complete one task each time before letting another teammate take over the next task. For the winning group, all members received a teamwork certificate with the head teacher’s signature.
Session3 and 4 in the Art classroom: Our MEP students created individual poster of characters and pictures within characters. Each student was given a A3 paper with two big empty Chinese characters about eating and drinking. Students need to fill in the big characters with small characters and colourful images to demonstrate the meanings. Students also had the chance to learn how to make the Chinese paper hearts and write down the blessings in the back for their friends and families.
Session5 in the drama studio: Presentation of excellent work + invite students to come and share Mandarin learning experience and techniques. After that, there will be a Chinese dance session for students to end the day. In the end, students were given certificates that certify their success in completing the Mandarin Excellence Programme in year7.
With the interaction with the Chinese visitors, the trip to London as well as other enrichment activities, our MEP students were not only given the platform to showcase the knowledge that they had learned, but also the opportunities to broaden their horizons and to be inspired. Overall, the enrichment is a perfect closure for their Mandarin learning journey in year 7. As their Mandarin teacher, I am very proud of the achievement that they have made so far. Furthermore, I have strong faith that they will continue to strive to be the best of themselves and make both the school and the family proud.