Monday, 27 January 2014

Eye on the Ball, Please! Part 2

This is the second part of a series of my termly plans.  The first part is Ball #1: Language Arts.

Ball #2: Mandarin - Language and Culture
Tiger's Chinese class is working out very well for him.  He has been able to keep up with the speed of the lessons (by putting in a fair bit of hard work) and it is paying off.  His interest and confidence in learning the language has increased substantially because: (1) he feels encouraged and recognised by his teacher when she gave him a classroom assistant role to teach the rest of the class a small part of the new lessons, and (2) he is motivated to maintain his recent exam success.

We are all encouraged by Tiger's positive experience at the Chinese school so he will continue with the course there.  Staying on top of the weekly homework and revisions will be our focus -- there is very little time or need for us to do much else in terms of studying Mandarin at home. 

Our commitment to learning Mandarin also means that we will have to forego Latin.  Boo.  Sed valefaciens, et lingua decora!

Learning a language is best supplemented by an understanding of its culture of origin.  Getting to know a culture makes the language come alive, so while the Chinese school is now taking on the bulk of language training for Tiger, we are supplementing his learning and experience by watching a few cultural-related clips online.

We find the individual lessons at Growing up with Chinese to be very lively and interesting.  Each lesson focuses on a certain aspect of social engagement, as well as a few tips on understanding the Chinese characters, all set within a story.

For a more contemporary understanding of modern China, we are currently watching the 10-part BBC TV series, Real Chinese:

After we have watched the series above, I plan to continue with our armchair cultural immersion by working our way through the documentaries here.

A new project that I'd like to take on this year is to spend two weeks focusing on Chinese New Year.  It will be very similar to how we usually spend the month of December focusing on Christmas-related activities.  I am getting a lot of ideas for Chinese New Year from Marie's Pastiche, which has a whole year's worth of China-related ideas and activities to learn from.

This post is linked up to Chinese Activities Link Up.


  1. Pea and I really enjoyed the Real Chinese series - the documentaries we've watched gave us the truest glimpse of real life in China. I am so impressed with Tiger and his mandarin studies! It is such a complex language- he must be so proud :)

    1. Thank you, Marie! The Mandarin results come with hard work -- much harder than Tiger is used to. :-) We are all very glad that the hard work has paid off, at least for the first half of the year.

      I stumbled upon the Real Chinese series and found it very relevant too, when it comes to understanding what life is like in modern China.

  2. The Chinese teacher sounds like she knows how to bring out the best in her students - and that Tiger is giving his all to the class - well done!
    I can't remember if you've told us, Hwee - do you speak Mandarin? (In addition to Latin, lol!)
    We are going to do something this week for Chinese New Year, probably just watercolours and a story. I'm looking forward to reading about what you do. :-)

    1. Yes, I speak Mandarin, Cantonese and Hokkien. :-)

      I'm a little overwhelmed by the choices for Chinese New Year -- a case of analysis paralysis!! If I still can't decide what to do, then I might just take a trip to Chinatown and tick my box off! :-)


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