The Board of Trustees is very committed to developing the Chinese programme at Te Aro School as we are committed to supporting generations of New Zealand children in becoming global learners and Asia aware.
With a strategic goal in cultural inclusiveness and a newly appointed teacher who spoke Mandarin, Chinese studies began at Te Aro in 2009 with Mandarin lessons for Year 7 and 8 children. In 2010 this programme was extended to Year 3-8 children. The goal is to ensure that by the end of Year 8 the children of Te Aro have a basic understanding of Mandarin language and Chinese culture. It is hoped that many of the students will then carry this on into secondary school and further in their careers.
Each week all children from Yearrs 4 -8 have a forty minute lesson in Mandarin language and Chinese cultural studies.. This has proved very successful and has been fully endorsed by both the Ministry of Education and the Asian NZ Foundation. We are currently a case study school and are the focus of a research programme on the development of Asia awareness in New Zealand schools. For more information about this ongoing research project, please visit Asia New Zealand Fundation Te Aro School Case Study.
During Term 3 students in Years 4 – 8 worked with Fei, our Mandarin language assistant, to write speeches and prepare for the Chinese language speech competition held up at Victoria University during September.
Thirteen students were chosen to be our representatives at the speech competition. From this group of thirteen students five were chosen to speak in the finals.
Lucy Mabbett and Cecilia spoke about their pets. Lucy’s speech was about her cat Pushka. She described what Pushka looked like and what she liked to do. Cecilia spoke about her dog Archer. Reuben and Hannah spoke about a friend. Reuben spoke about his friendship with Alex Congalton his classmate. Hannah spoke about her friendship with Cecilia. Tom spoke about his family.
Reuben was placed 3rd in the Year 3 & 4 section of the competition; Hannah was placed 3rd in the Year 5 & 6 section, Lucy was placed 4th in the Year 3 & 4 section and Tom MacKenzie - Bridle was placed 2nd in the Year 7 & 8 section.
We practised for six weeks and that wasn’t enough time for me! It was really helpful having Fei’s planning sheet to use and to fill it in to help get a framework for our speeches. For two weeks we practised reading from our sheets. Then we had two weeks of practising without our planning sheets. For the final two weeks of practising our speeches we had to answer questions in Mandarin that Fei asked us. The finals were really scary as we had to speak in front of secondary school age students. I was sure that children who spoke Chinese at home would be placed ahead of me. – Reuben
It was most scary for me delivering my speech in front of the whole school at Friday assembly. It was harder being judged and listened to by people who know me. Fei and Kristin gave me good advice. I had to learn to speak more slowly and a lot louder. It was nerve racking waiting for my name. I was sure if I was to get a place it would be 4th or 5th. I was in a group of all native speakers. – Hannah
I thought the finals were the scariest thing of all. Nearly everyone was a stranger. There were lots of people in the audience up at the university. I had practised my speech lots at home. When I went to the competition I knew my speech off by heart. I didn’t look at anyone except the judges. Mum and Dad told me to try my best. They were really proud of me getting into the finals. I was both surprised and happy to come 4th. – Lucy M
Before I got into the finals when I was preparing my speech and practising it I knew it off by heart. I was just remembering it and saying it but it wasn’t like I was speaking to the judges. At first I didn’t make eye contact. I thought all the other contestants who were Chinese would get into the finals as their speeches were much longer and they sounded more fluent than me. I thought the judges would like the native speakers’ speeches. I think I got through to the finals because my speech was short (but not too short) and it covered all the key information. Also I spoke without much hesitation and I used hand gestures. By the time I got to the finals my speech was a lot better. When I gave my speech at the finals it felt like I was actually speaking to the judges. – Tom
Feichang piaoliang! Vey beautiful!
Students across the four senior classes each participated in an exciting Chinese brush painting and calligraphy class taught by Stan Chan, of inkLink. Stan’s great hands-on workshop gave the students an opportunity to turn their hand to painting their own birds, dragons and pandas.
Last Sunday, seven Year 7 and 8 students participated in the 4th Chinese Bridge Speech Competition, held at Wellington College. This was the first time Te Aro had entered this competition. Although none were placed, we all felt very proud of their achievement. The participants were:
Indy Aiono, Tom McKenzie-Bridle, James McLean, Zeni Gibson, Susan Makori, Karen Fu and Bonnie Chen.
As part of our Mandarin programme, the senior students at Te Aro recently participated in a cultural exchange with Room 11 from Brooklyn School. First, Ruma Kowhai put their language skills to the test. Using only Mandarin, they found out the names of eight students from Room 11. Then they enquired as to their health and found out their favourite food. They discovered that the majority of them felt okay and that jiaozi and ice cream are popular!
After eating lunch, a fiercely contested game of netball and a slightly more relaxed game of soccer for all comers filled the rest of the hour. No Mandarin required – sport is an international language.
After lunch, they were chased indoors by a smart shower, but it didn’t stop them from playing the ‘crouching turnip’ game – a chance for them all to practise the colours in Mandarin.
The afternoon ended with an impressive display by members of the Brooklyn Shaolin Kung Fu Club. They explained about the history and philosophy of Shaolin Kung Fu, performed some empty hand routines and wowed us with sparring routines using sticks and even a large sword!
On 16/02/11 we had special visitors. They were from China and spoke Mandarin; they came in to show us how to make things out of paper by just cutting different shapes. There was a translator who translated and a man and women who showed us these really cool things! The way they spoke Chinese was amazing.
First the man showed us how to make animals and insects. What you do is fold a square piece of paper into 3 triangles and cut out an animal or an insect or even an object! Then when you opened them up they would all be attached and make four altogether. There were things like owls, bats, bells, crabs and even pineapples, all kind of things! It was amazing how this happened by just cutting and folding!
Then they showed us how to make animal faces. You just folded the squared paper in half and stencilled half an animal’s face on the folded paper and cut it out. Once you did that you opened it up and fix up the mouth. What the mouth did was, if you moved the face up and down the mouth would move as if it was talking! You could make chickens, rabbits, pigs and owls.
The next thing they showed us was how to make 3D animals. That was my favourite! You would have longer pieces of paper and then cut out the animal you wanted. Then you open it out and folded some things like: ears, horns and tails just so they would stick out. Then you would put them on a hard surface and they would stand up as if they were 3D animals. The last thing was to put googly eyes on them, which made them look quite funny.
Last but not least was, a woman who came to the front and showed us the most amazing pop up things she had made in the past. Nearly all of them took her 5 hours or more! She told us that she got one piece of paper and cut very delicately. She showed us things she had made like: houses, sculptures, chairs, bunk beds, and more. It was incredible how she did it!
As part of the Mandarin programme, Ruma Kowhai and Ruma Rata visited Toi Poneke Gallery in Abel Smith St to see the Exhibition ‘Da Shi Jie’ by Kiwi artist Kerry Ann Lee. The works were created when she had a residency in Shanghai. They are about her experiences living there as someone with a Chinese background (her family come from China, but she is a 3rd generation Kiwi) but not speaking the language and unfamiliar with the culture.
She has very interesting and creative ideas and we have been inspired to create our own art using her ideas. Watch out for our very own exhibition!
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