千里之行,始于足下 (qiān lǐ zhī xíng, shǐ yú zú xià) - A thousand mile journey is started by taking the first step (Laozi, Chinese philosopher, approx. 571-531BC)
Students have the opportunity to opt for Mandarin from Year 8. We believe that the study of the Chinese language opens the way to different important fields such as Chinese literature, history, art, politics and economy. But to study Chinese is to study the culture, the people and understand what is at the heart of this ancient civilization. What makes it so unique and powerful, and continues to surprise the world today.
Key Stage 3
Students enter the world of this ancient yet modern language by getting to grips with the linguistic peculiarities of the language that make it so exciting to learn. These include the structure of Chinese characters, the phonetic alphabet pīn yīn, and the four tones of Mandarin. Building on from these understandings, pupils will gradually develop the four key skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing. These skills are introduced through the topics of:
• Introducing Selves and Others
• Food and Drink
• Free time and Hobbies
We use 'Jìn bù 1 & Jìn bù 2' to support pupils in class and at home.
Years 10 and 11 (GCSE AQA)
Students build on the work they have done in Key Stage 3 and continue to develop the four key skills. At GCSE pupils build upon some Key Stage 3 topics and are introduced to new ones. The topics are:
• Leisure (free time and the media/holidays)
• Work and Education (school, college and future plans/current and future plans)
• Lifestyle (Relationships and choices/health)
• Home and Local Environment (Environment/Home and local area)
Pupils complete controlled assessments (in speaking and writing). These take place during Years 10 and 11. In addition, pupils take the listening and reading examination in June of Year 11.
Years 12 and 13 (GCE Edexcel)
Students of Mandarin Chinese in the sixth form quickly notice a dramatic improvement in their understanding and ability to communicate. At this level students study Mandarin Chinese intensely, both in the classroom and through private study. The topics for AS level are:
• Youth culture and Chinese festivals
• The world around us: travel and tourism
• Lifestyle: health and fitness
• Education and employment
The topics for A2 level are above four topics plus
• The Environment (energy, pollution and environmental campaigns)
Students have 6 lessons per week and an individual lesson with the Mandarin teacher each week. Students are expected to follow up this work with private study of at least an equivalent time.
Being a native speaker and growing up in China herself, our Mandarin teacher offers lunch time clinics as well as after school twilight sessions that provides more targeted support and focused practise.
At Westholme, students have a wide range of resources to help them improve their language learning. All Language classrooms have interactive whiteboards. Each pupil is given their own text book at the beginning of the year.
An important part of learning a language is being exposed to the culture and people of the country. At Westholme we endeavour to give pupils the opportunity to improve their language skills and experience in Chinese culture. The new Head of Mandarin is currently building links with the Confucius Institute in UCLAN and Edge Hill University, looking at taking part in the National Speaking competition in November 2015, and exploring options for a China trip in 2016/17. More recently there was a visit to a Chinese restaurant in Chorley, which was an enormous enjoyable event for the pupils.
Useful Websites to visit