Mandarin is a specialist subject within the language curriculum, however, being in the host country of China; Mandarin is considered as a core language. Mandarin is taught to all students from Pre-Nursery to Year 9. It is compulsory for students in these year levels to study Chinese language and culture three to four times a week.
From Year 10 in Upper School, Mandarin becomes an elective subject; IGCSE First Language pathway is available to native speakers, Second Language is available to intermediate students and Mandarin Foreign Language is available to non-native speakers. AS and A-Level Chinese, suited to all language pathways are taught in Year 12 and 13. This Edexcel syllabus focuses on research skills and 21st century thinking skills, including evaluation of social issues and development.
To cater for students from various background and language level; Mandarin at Harrow focuses on differentiation and individual progression.
Currently, for Early Years and Key Stage 1 students, students are divided into two groups based on whether or not they have native language background. We aim to continuously monitor student progression as they develop foundation skills in Mandarin. In the native stream, local Chinese Yu-Wen textbook is used, we use the Ren-Jiao version in line with local schools. However, we put a different interpretation to the teaching of the syllabus to allow maximum results in the limited specialist subject contact hours.
For Upper School, classes are divided into three groups; Beginner, Intermediate and Native Background. We value the importance of catering for different learning goals and appreciate the fact that learning needs will differ more as a student progress towards senior school. Therefore, we have created clear learning goals for each level.
Chinese New Year celebrations is our main cultural event of the year. We have been holding yearly ‘MiaoHui’ CNY fairs to incorporate food stalls and traditional activities to showcase the best of Chinese New Year and our wonderful Chinese cultural traditions.
We also hold a yearly Chinese New Year concert and invite traditional lion dance performers as well as various other Chinese acts to bring the whole school community together in a spectacular show. Our own students also learn traditional songs to perform as part of the concert.