Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Community language school initiatives in 2013

1. Chinese Camp

The Australian School of Contemporary Chinese ran an innovative Chinese Camp in Canberra during the October school holidays. Over 140 children had fun in a number of activities while being immersed in the Chinese language. Although the majority of participants had Chinese heritage, the camp was open to all students interested in learning about Chinese language and culture.

Teachers and professors from Shangdong Province teamed up with local Chinese teachers in the ACT to teach a range of arts, crafts and skills such as clay sculpture, Chinese knots, calligraphy, traditional Chinese painting, Peking Opera styles of makeup, paper-cuts, dancing and martial arts. Scroll down the page HERE to see some of their work. 

The camp was supported by the China Overseas Exchange Association (Qiaoban), Shandong Overseas Exchange

2. Pilot course at FCCCI Chinese School

The FCCCI Chinese School is trying new ways to inspire students to build on their family languages. At a workshop for parents and teachers in November 2013, the school reported on a trail of a new series of text books written by Dr Liping Ma from Sitanfu Chinese School in the San Francisco Bay Area for children from Mandarin-speaking families. 

The results of the pilot class using Book 1 in the series in 2013 have been remarkable in terms of students' Chinese proficiency and engagement with language learning. For example, one boy who had refused to speak Mandarin at home is now speaking and enjoys going to weekend school. 

Book 1 focuses more on reading than writing, allowing more vocabulary to be introduced and thus more interesting stories, riddles and songs to be read by the students. Another key component is that parents are expected to help students go over they have learned in class during the week.

Due to the success of the pilot class, the school will continue with Book 2 in 2014 and also open another Grade 1 class if there is sufficient interest from parents.

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