St Columb’s College Confucius Hub:  Learning Mandarin Chinese

In September 2015 the British Chancellor George Osborne pledged his support to the teaching of Mandarin Chinese in order to give more young people the opportunity to learn a language that will help them succeed in our increasingly global economy.  And in February 2016 the new UCD Confucius Institute was launched in Dublin. Not only do business people who speak Mandarin have a huge advantage in tapping into the Chinese market.  Learning Mandarin also gives our young people access to the 5,000-year old history and culture of a country of 1.35 billion people. St Columb’s College introduced Mandarin Chinese back in in 2008 and first employed Mandarin teachers from China in 2009.  The success of the project led to St Columb’s becoming one of the 8 Confucius Hub schools in Northern Ireland. As a result we have two teachers, Mr Pi Wenli and Ms Xu Bowen who teach selected groups of students in KS3 as well as Y13 students during Curriculum Enrichment in Mandarin Chinese.  They also visit whole classes during citizenship and HE lessons to give presentations about Chinese culture, run competitions or help preparing Chinese food.  As well as that both teachers teach in our local hub partner schools, some secondary and some primary. 

All students involved in the programme are encouraged to take the YCT exam (Youth Chinese test) or the HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) proficiency test.  Last year, in 2015, 35 students in St Columb’s College successfully completed their YCT Level 1 certificate and some of them are now progressing to Level 2.

Every September interested students in Y8-10 are invited to sign up to lessons which will take place during curriculum enrichment. They have to obtain permission from their parents and, after a few ‘taster’ sessions, are then expected to continue lessons for the rest of the school year. 

In Year 13 students have the opportunity to participate in an exchange with our partner school Hangzhou Foreign Language School, a prestigious secondary school in Zhejiang province on the east coast of China. This will be a two-week trip including five days sightseeing in Beijing and Shanghai and a wide range of school-based activities in Hangzhou such as Chinese Kung Fu, calligraphy, cookery and much more.  An experience of a lifetime!

For questions and comments please contact Ms Marion Lübbeke (Confucius Hob Coordinator and Coordinator of the European and Global Dimension)