Modern Foreign Languages

Learning Mandarin

From Year 3 up, pupils at St James receive a weekly 45 minute Mandarin lesson delivered by a specialist teacher.

Although there are many stereotypes of Chinese being very difficult to learn, our students enjoy the challenge of writing characters and mastering pronunciation with the support of a Mandarin Primary Specialist Teacher. Their Mandarin lessons will not only equip them with the knowledge and understanding to communicate in the most widely-spoken world language, but will also give them insights, ideas and revelations about themselves and the world around them through the study of China as an ancient civilization and modern global power.

In Years 3 and 4, children’s learning is based around songs, rhymes and games. Through this, children will start to hear the different sounds that occur in Mandarin and will feel confident using key words and phrases. They will begin to learn basic components of Chinese characters and start their journey towards reading and writing in another language.

In Years 5 and 6, pupils will be encouraged to practice writing characters regularly and will be given the opportunity to engage in a variety of role-plays to practise their speaking and listening. Pupils who begin Mandarin in Year 3, should be able to understand around 100 characters by Year 6 – in line with the internationally recognised ‘Youth Chinese Test’.