Staying ahead in this multicultural world means having to master more than one language. To provide your PYP child with a head start, consider letting them pick up Chinese – one of the leading languages in the world. Here’s how more and more IB schools are including Chinese in their bilingual programmes and all with good reason!
Why IB schools have recognised the value of Chinese
Statistically speaking, the Chinese language has proven to be one of the top three most spoken languages in the world, with roughly 1.31 billion speakers globally. Given that it has over 50,000 characters and has a handful of tones with specific meanings, becoming proficient in the language entails time and effort. You can say that mastering this complex language is also a feat in itself! For this reason, international schools in Singapore have curated education models that make Chinese-learning available for all their students.
How Chinese is taught in IB schools
1. Holistic approach
In most IB schools, the Chinese language is integrated into their bilingual programmes – typically the bilingual English-Chinese programme. Because they are among the most spoken languages globally, many schools decide to give these two languages equal emphasis while aligning with the IB PYP framework.
In some cases, Chinese and the other language (in the bilingual model) are used to teach other subjects like Mathematics. In this holistic manner, the language is not only taught in one specific subject. Your child will soon be a master of Chinese, not just in the speaking component but also the writing, reading and listening aspects!
2. Cultural approach
Given that international schools are often referred to as a melting pot of different ethnicities and backgrounds, they are sure to incorporate culture into the language learning process. Besides academics, lessons inside the classroom also cover the values of other cultures, their beliefs, and history.
Take a Chinese lesson, for instance, Chinese nursery rhymes, poems, and songs are thrown in to offer that rich cultural experience. With this cultural lens, students are also equipped to become effective communicators who are sensitive to differences they observe between themselves and their peers.
What to consider in a Chinese-language programme
1. Skilled teachers
Besides being of Chinese descent, you would want to ensure your child is offered that quality instruction. It’s important to find a native teacher who comes with experience and proven qualifications to help your child be proficient.
2. Teaching model
In Singapore, Chinese is offered as part of different bilingual education models across IB schools. As you search for the IB school that’ll give your child that edge, start looking around and ask how often each language is taught and across which subject. This pro tip can narrow down your search quickly for the best one for your child.
3. Class size
This is wholly dependent on your child’s demeanour and best learning method. But for classes dedicated to Chinese learning, it’s best to have a smaller student-teacher ratio so that your child can be given more attention.
These can differ from school to school, that’s why it’s essential to check the requirements needed by for admission. Before deciding on which school your child will go to, check if they require your child to meet a specific level of Chinese proficiency.
5. Track records
Just like any other business or institution, the credentials of an IB school will help you get an idea of the quality of the education. If you want your child to get the best possible Chinese education, choose a learning institution that is well-established and has a proven track record. Check records of the student’s grades (for the Youth Chinese Test) and the programme’s age to find the best IB school for your child.
For the best Chinese learning experience, be sure to check out IB schools that utilise pioneering methods to make the language more accessible to little ones – as young as pre-kindergarten! Start providing your child with the competitive edge that they need by enquiring for an open house today.