Beyond Bilingualism: Nurturing Bi-Cultural Learning in Secondary
At Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS Beijing), we have been holding a lot of Celebrations of Learning for our Secondary School Chinese programme students lately. As the school year draws to a close, our students are enjoying showing off all they have been learning about Chinese language and culture to their parents, peers and teachers in these dynamic, end of unit presentations. Our students are also beginning to look forward to what next school year will hold for them, and their 2019-2020 Chinese cultural exploration trips and festival celebrations are top of mind. This week we were joined once again by Amy Zhang, Secondary Chinese Co-ordinator, to discuss what bi-cultural learning means in practice at YCIS Beijing and how it forms an integral part of our Chinese programme in Secondary.
Beyond cultivating bilingualism, how does YCIS Beijing nurture bi-cultural learning in Secondary School?
We teach our students about many essential aspects of Chinese culture, such as food, geography, technology, Chinese ethnic groups, Art, history and holidays, to name a few.
While teaching our students to read and write Chinese characters we also teach them the history behind the language, the artistry embodied in it and link the Chinese language’s origins through to modern day communication in China. We incorporate field trips to museums and modern Chinese printing presses into these lessons to help students connect their learning to the world around them.
How does YCIS Beijing use holidays to teach about Chinese culture?
To bring our broader lessons on Chinese culture alive, we work to connect them to the celebration of Chinese holiday, or festivals. We celebrate the Dragon Boat, Mid Autumn, and Spring festivals at school. For each festival, we showcase and celebrate what students are learning in their Chinese lessons and often invite the public and parents onto our campus to take part. Our celebrations of each festival are very hands on. Teachers provide a general introduction, but then get students busy with hands-on activities.
How do YCIS schools teach Chinese culture beyond the classroom?
Another vital part of our Chinese programme in Secondary School is our trips around China. We provide Experiencing China trips for students in Years 10-12, where we take them to important locations in China for an authentic exploration of Chinese culture far from any expat bubbles.
Starting next school year, we are introducing China Classroom trips for Years 7-9. These trips will differ from the older students’ Experiencing China trips as they will be more closely tied to lessons. China Classroom trips are designed especially for YCIS Schools by Chor Hang Educational Research Institute (CHERI) the private research arm of Yew Chung Education Foundation (YCEF).
Next years’ Chinese culture trips for our Secondary School will be:
- Year 7 Hung Shan
- Year 8 Shan Xi
- Year 9 Taipei
- Year 10 Inner Mongolia
- Year 11-12 Fujian Province
Are there any other ways YCIS works to connect students to Chinese learning outside the classroom?
Our proprietary "iLearnChinese" platform, designed by YCEF for YCIS Network students is available online for our students to access outside of school hours. This interactive learning platform allows our students to build their Chinese skills with a range of activities from beginner level lessons through to more advanced Chinese lessons suitable for our Chinese Literature and Language (CLL) learners. Students can take quizzes, complete practice exercises, watch videos, play games, and much, much more. We also regularly assign Chinese as an Additional Language (CAL) students optional additional reading, to extend their exposure to written Chinese beyond classroom hours.
To learn more about bi-cultural and bilingual education in Secondary School at YCIS Beijing, please read the following articles: “Keeping Chinese at the Heart of Secondary”, “Out of the Classroom and into China”, “A Team to Unite Cultures”, “Chinese Interviews in Honglingjin Park”, “Coming Soon! Join YCIS Beijing’s Temple Fair”, “Experiencing China: Each Year a New Trip of a Lifetime”, “Chinese New Year Round-Up!”, “Celebrating CNY: Bringing Chinese Culture to Life”, and “Chinese Corner: Preparing for the Year of the Dog”.