- Monday, 29 August 2011
Welcome to the Chinese Department in St Columb's College
.In recent years, Mandarin Chinese has been gaining increasing global significance. Education Secretary Michael Gove earlier this year highlighted the social and economic importance of learning Chinese in order to access the modern and ancient culture of China. Business people, who speak Mandarin, have a huge advantage in tapping into the Chinese market..
St. Columb’s College introduced Mandarin Chinese in 2008 when a group of pupils stayed after school twice a week, receiving language lessons from a native speaker.
The project continued in 2009 with the arrival of the school’s first Chinese Language Assistant, Miss Zhao Jing, who was followed by Mrs Bai Jie in 2010, and now Miss Wang Pingping in 2011. The Chinese Language Assistants have been taking small groups of pupils out of their normal class for one lesson per week and teaching them aspects of Chinese culture and language.
Through these two teachers the first links were formed to two large schools in China, Hangzhou Foreign Language School in Zheijiang Province on the East Coast of China, and Yuxi No 3 Middle School in Yunnan Province in the south west. Since then, pupils from St. Columb’s College have been e-mailing partners in China on a regular basis, hoping to meet their partners some day.
At Easter 2011, a group of 7 students accompanied by three teachers travelled to China and visited both schools. They were very warmly welcomed by their Chinese hosts and participated in a wide range of educational and cultural activities. At the weekend, the Irish students even stayed with Chinese host families, gaining a unique insight into people’s lives. The trip was a truly fantastic experience.
St. Columb’s College now hopes to build on the current success and is expecting the arrival of the new Chinese Language Assistant, Mrs Wang Pingping, in September 2011. Pupils, who are currently learning Mandarin, will have the opportunity to continue next year, and new pupils are welcome to sign up for lessons.
Teachers and students from both Hangzhou as well as Yuxi will visit St. Columb’s College next year, and it is hoped that a new trip to China will be organised for 2012.
(Coordinator of the European and Global Dimension)