Friday, April 8, 2016

Language Pathways

During my trip to Beijing and Shanghai last year I was astounded and humbled visiting a range of schools.  A lasting impression I have of these visits is in being shown around schools by students (ranging in age from 8-10) who were bilingual in Mandarin and English.  This experience encouraged me to investigate how we could provide a language programme for our learners that would work alongside our Te Reo programme as current Ministry of Education guidelines only encourages the learning of another language at Year Seven.

One of the exciting actions from my trip was in managing to secure a Mandarin Language Assistant for our school.  This amazing opportunity is provided by the Confucius Institute.  Though we are only in term one of having our assistant we are already seeing the amazing benefits of our students being exposed to another language and culture.

I believe the role of our language pathways at Silverdale Normal School is to provide another opportunity for our learners to find their talents, passions or interest-  this programme may 'light the spark' for our learners now or later in their lives to pursue learning another language.  It also fits with the vision of our learner:

A major consideration at Silverdale Normal School is in preparing our learners for their future.  The Mandarin language is the most widely spoken language in the world.  Having an understanding of the language and the Chinese culture is going to be essential as we look toward the future.  The video clip below sums up the significant opportunity we are providing our learners.

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