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Aims & Philosophy of the Oriental Studies Department

“They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it.”  – The Analects of Confucius

China, Chinese-speaking peoples and the lands’ immense cultural legacy are re-shaping the modern world as we know it. In light of China’s recent rise, there has never been a better time to learn Chinese language and about its culture. Chinese Mandarin is an exciting language programme which offers girls the opportunity to look beyond Chinese stereotypes and, in so doing, glimpse an alternative version of the world around them. We also believe that the study of Mandarin is an excellent complement for students who aspire to work in a global context, as the language is of great benefit in business and commerce.

The Department of Oriental Studies aims to deliver Mandarin lessons to every student at all levels of interest and ability while fostering an awareness of the cultural and historical traditions that have led to the creation of modern day China. Girls have the opportunity  to develop a real sense of enjoyment from learning this ancient language while at the same time acquiring one of the most valuable skills needed in future business. The department encourages the development of these skills through interactive teaching methods, independent oral and audio projects and the regular practice of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Overview of Key Stage 3 Curriculum

All Year I girls study Mandarin for 2 hours per week. It is not long before total beginners of Mandarin are confidently applying basic Chinese greetings and getting to grips with the linguistic peculiarities of the language. These include the Chinese characters ( 汉字), the phonetic alphabet pinyin, and the four tones of Mandarin. By the end of Year I, students can write a range of most frequently used characters and hold simple conversations.

In Year II, girls start to use the popular Jinbu textbooks written by Xiaoming Zhu and Yu Bin. These provide a thorough foundation for progression to GCSE and to other routes of learning and qualification. The girls will be introduced to more advanced grammatical features such as the position of time words, comparatives, different tenses and aspects.  They will be required to submit a Chinese diary every fortnight.

In Year III, girls can choose to continue their study of Mandarin, and there is also the opportunity for girls new to QM to begin the subject from scratch. By the end of the year, students will have finished the Jinbu textbooks 1 and 2, and about half of the grammar and syntax needed for GCSE has been covered.

What makes the department unique from those at other schools?

Many girls describe the subject as “different” as it adds freshness to their learning experiences. Mandarin lessons are filled with a rich variety of fun activities and resources to ensure that different learning styles are catered for. Our students will find themselves interacting in Chinese with their teacher, between each other and with Chinese girls at QM. For those unable to have Mandarin as their curriculum lesson, they can enjoy learning at the weekly Mandarin Club.

The department strongly believes in the importance of promoting the culture of a country alongside the study of its language. Therefore a wide range of enrichment activities are organised, including  watching and reviewing Chinese films and videos, learning to sing Chinese pop songs, celebrating traditional Chinese festivals and eating out at Chinese restaurants. QM’s first trip to China is also being organised for Easter 2015.

Career prospects for reading Mandarin are endless. Some include international finance, foreign office, interpreting and translating, journalism and publishing.

To learn about the Oriental Studies Department
curriculum in other Key Stages please choose a link