How Mandarin as a Second Language is Taught at OWIS

Chang Liu
Updated on
January 26, 2021

The Mandarin programme at OWIS gives your child an opportunity to learn one of the most spoken languages in the world. We have structured our Mandarin programme in a differentiated manner so that your child can grasp and master the language and gain all the benefits of learning Mandarin in Singapore.

How Mandarin Classes Work at OWIS

Mandarin instruction at OWIS starts as early as Early Childhood 1, for our youngest learners (aged 3+) and is offered to students until they finish secondary school. Mandarin is a part of our IGCSE and IBDP programmes as a foreign/second language option. Our curriculum includes two hours of Mandarin instruction each week, and your child will learn to speak, read and write the language.

Students attend Mandarin lessons in three different classrooms (at Beginner, Intermediate and Native level). Due to Covid-19, as per the safe distancing measures at OWIS, Primary students now attend lessons in their homeroom, while Secondary students move to different classrooms.

Learning Mandarin at OWIS goes beyond an academic focus. We teach your child about the Chinese culture, traditions and their ways of living. Your child will understand how the language fits into everyday life and be able to use it in a variety of settings.

Our goal is for your child to achieve his or her capabilities and learn Mandarin fluently as we place appropriate expectations on each student. In primary school, your child’s Mandarin language progress is measured primarily by their daily classroom performance. We offer various assessments throughout the year based on your child’s learning level and learning objectives. In Secondary school, your child’s progress and level are based on his or her classroom performance, assignments and assessments.

We Differentiate Mandarin at all Levels

To ensure all of our students gain Mandarin language competency, we offer three different levels of instruction. Your child may be enrolled in the Beginners, Intermediate or Native (Advanced for secondary students) level.

We differentiate instruction at all three levels and in all grades so that your child receives personalised guidance. Experienced Mandarin teachers use worksheets, activities and homework to differentiate instruction for your child. Here are two examples of differentiated activities teachers use to teach and engage children in creative ways beyond rote memorisation.

  1. Football Writing Team - The entire class works together as a football team. One student with a slighter higher proficiency serves as the coach, the whole class votes for three referees, and the rest of the children are players. The team contributes together to create a writing passage with the advanced students using their skills to teach classmates. While learning Mandarin, your child develops communication skills and the spirit of teamwork in a fun environment.

  2. Mandarin Monopoly - The teacher creates ‘Chance’ cards with assignments of different difficulty levels. Players might need to translate a sentence, answer vocabulary questions, introduce a Chinese cultural custom, or describe how to celebrate the Chinese New Year based on the card they pick. Players earn points for each correct answer. As this activity is played as a game, your child is motivated to share what they know and learn new Mandarin facts and information while having fun.

Why Your Child Should Learn Mandarin

Mandarin is widely spoken in Singapore, Hongkong, Taiwan, Macau and China, besides being the second most spoken language in the world. When your child learns Mandarin, he or she develops a skill that can enhance their communication opportunities now and in the future.

Learning an additional language also offers your child dozens of cognitive, academic and personal benefits. In addition to improving memory, attention span, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, a second language can boost creativity, increase self-confidence and open professional doors.

Learning Mandarin also helps your child connect with our multicultural community. With 74 different nationalities represented by the student body at OWIS, your child already learns from a wide variety of cultures. Mandarin classes provide additional exposure to the literature, customs and other cultural aspects associated with this language.

OWIS Offers a Bilingual Programme

The Chinese - English Bilingual programme at OWIS is for children between the ages of 6 and 11. Our genuinely bilingual, bicultural and bi-literate education is taught by bilingual teachers. Your child receives in-depth instruction relative to his or her Mandarin and English language levels and personalised learning with a 1:12 teacher to student ratio.

We also invite you to schedule a school tour and discover how Learning Mandarin in Singapore and attending our multicultural school environment can benefit your child.

About Author

Chang Liu

Mandarin Teacher, Head of Mandarin Department

As a 2016 graduate of Towson University’s Masters program, Chang is a world language teacher with Mandarin specialisation, from the state of Maryland. Chang has worked in US public schools and the Baltimore Chinese School for over 3 years.

Chang has always been passionate to inspire students’ interest in creativity and innovation, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration. She believes learning should be student-centered and has composed different types of Mandarin teaching material as per various curricula and students’ feedback.

She hopes to guide students and change their future for the better. She looks forward to creating a positive learning environment for children, helping them become self-motivated, independent and confident human-beings. 

Chang appreciates biological chemistry, architectural design, music, foreign languages, script writing and travelling. Among all these, travelling is her favourite thing to do. She has been to over 30 countries, mostly by herself! She enjoys the process of travel planning and understanding the local customs in each place.





view all posts
Tags
The latest OWIS news, articles and resources sent straight to your inbox every month.

Related blog posts