We are very excited by the opportunities offered in learning Mandarin at NHEHS. Girls and their parents recognise the importance of this language in the 21st century economy but, perhaps more importantly, our pupils find it a fascinating and engaging intellectual challenge as well as a doorway to this ancient yet vibrant culture.
Mandarin is offered to all students in Year 7 and Year 8 as part of the curriculum. Pupils begin by learning more about the major principles that underlie the Chinese language which makes it so different from their studies of French, German or Spanish, such as the importance of tones and the structure of Chinese characters. From the start we encourage pupils to interact with their teachers and each other in Mandarin through games, role plays and a variety of fun and challenging activities.
“We loved Chinese this year as it is was a great and extremely interesting language. I particularly liked learning the characters and writing them”
Mandarin is a popular subject and girls embrace the course with great enthusiasm and success. Students can choose to continue to study through to GCSE in Year 11 and further on to A Level. The aim is always to stimulate lasting curiosity in the language, by giving pupils every opportunity to communicate in Mandarin, and to develop their linguistic and grammatical knowledge.
At the same time courses are designed to develop cultural awareness, through a variety of fun activities including singing, dancing, calligraphy, food and the celebration of key festivals. Pupils also take part in national Mandarin writing and speaking competitions, and this year our team won the British Council / HSBC Mandarin Speaking Competition and a trip to Beijing. Every two years we take a large group of GCSE students to China giving them the perfect opportunity to practise what they have learnt as well as see some of the famous sights we have read about during our studies.
Our new closer partnership with Beijing No 80 High School will allow us to develop even greater whole school links with China including offering opportunities for online collaboration and student exchanges.