Wednesday, May 4, 2016

BCS Mandarin Program

BCS’s World Language program, available to all students K-8, was designed to support the school’s mission to graduate students who are confident, global citizens.  Mandarin and Spanish instruction are offered to students several times per week and much of the core content, traditionally taught in English, is integrated and reinforced in these language classes. 

BCS educators researched the benefits of many world languages before deciding to offer Mandarin instruction at the elementary level. Almost 900 million people worldwide speak Mandarin, making it a prominent language in both eastern and western cultures.  Research shows that children benefit from learning a tonal language like Mandarin at an early age, as it helps develop musical ability and pitch.  In addition, learning a non-alphabetic language activates different parts of the brain as young learners process the characters and develop visual-spatial analysis.

At BCS, all Mandarin teachers are native speakers and bring with them a deep knowledge of the language and culture.  By utilizing technology such as podcasts and on-line collaboration tools, the Mandarin team is able to provide differentiated instruction for all students, whether they are beginners or native speakers and whether they enter the program at kindergarten or middle school.

Public speaking is an important feature of the BCS Mandarin program. Students are required to present to their class at the end of every learning unit, reinforcing their learning and providing numerous opportunities to practice speaking Mandarin. The students’ regular homeroom teachers say that these presentations really help the students improve their public speaking skills, and build their self-esteem and confidence. Please enjoy some of these Mandarin presentations below!

Kindergarten students share the names of shapes:

Second grade students role-play how to buy and sell fruits.

Fourth grade students produce a Chinese shadow show, which supports their study of zoo habitats.

Fifth graders role-play ordering food in a Chinese restaurant. The students developed their own scripts and printed them in Chinese characters.