Mandarin Chinese Curriculum

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Due to the current situation, departmental curriculum plans are not currently available.

Here is the Cowley COVID resuming plan as an interim guide.

Curriculum aim

Mandarin teaching at Cowley is interactive, challenging and enables students to become resilient, confident communicators. They develop skills that they will need throughout their school career and beyond. The aim of the KS3 course is to introduce pupils to language learning skills that they can apply to learning other foreign languages in the future.  All Mandarin students also study either French or German in Years 7 and 8. At this stage, we are ensuring students can use the most common vocabulary and structures with confidence.  Through this focus, we are preparing students of the demands of the GCSE course.

The GCSE Mandarin course begins properly in year 10, allowing 2 years for pupils to prepare for the GCSE exams in speaking, listening, reading and writing.  Also allowing for regular assessment of core skills across the topics covered. The depth of coverage should equip our learners to be able to use their skills in leisure, travel or work-related situations or be able to continue to higher study. Learners are also given opportunities to understand the culture of China and encouraging understanding and acceptance of other customs and beliefs

Learners are given access to the same core materials, which are differentiated according to need. Core areas are revisited throughout the programmes of study in order to embed and develop learning each time it is revisited.  Independent study is fostered through regular homework tasks (both paper-based and online if appropriate) to review, practise, consolidate and extend classroom based learning.

Learners are challenged in their language lessons through use of the target language for regular communication and the skills are balanced throughout the lessons. Use of authentic texts, video, songs provide a context for genuine relevance and understanding.  Structures and grammatical teaching is carried out in context and regularly revisited throughout the learning programmes with a strong literacy focus.

Curriculum structure

The Mandarin curriculum aims to develop a love and appreciation of the Chinese language with regard to the four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. It also aims to develop and extend the pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Chinese culture. We intend to develop and extend our student’s understanding of this ancient language and all its complexities. The curriculum is ambitious and designed to give all learners the knowledge and culture capital they may need to succeed in later life.  In addition, it provides pupils with the opportunity to significantly develop their MFL literacy. Our students will develop skills and to become independent learners and critical and reflective thinkers. It is planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment both in the UK and China.

Pupils who engage with Mandarin are equipped to become more involved with the complex world they live in, and to maintain throughout their lives a spirit of inquiry and curiosity that can not only make them more active in their communities, but also provide them with personal enrichment. We are committed to the MEP and all students will have an opportunity to visit China and develop their language skills in a natural environment. This unique opportunity will also allow our students to acknowledge a tolerance of cultural diversity, participation in community life and a contribution to Anglo-Sino relations.

We are committed to a student-centred approach that enables all students to flourish and reach their potential regardless of ability. As a department, we constantly review our curriculum and constantly promote a love of learning and aim to set the highest exemplary standards in all we do. Teaching is designed to foster a love of the language and a love of learning. We endeavor to help students master this complex language by making lessons fun. Students learn best when actively involved in lessons.

Teachers use assessment well to design bespoke learning to maximise progress. Resources and materials reflect our ambitious intentions. Our programmes of study help enrich and enhance the curriculum. Our assessments provide progressive ‘stepping stones’ for the mastery and recall of skills that lead to the more critical independence of thought demanded at GCSE level. Essential skills such as translation, the reading and writing of Chinese characters and conversation are developed throughout both key stages. The content of study aims to promote engagement and interest in the language and develop curious and inquisitive minds. We aim to develop confident learners and young adults that are prepared to lead, have the ability to make informed decisions, the ability to communicate effectively, the ability to reflect and become independent and critical thinkers. Our students are able to perform well in examinations as they receive early immersion via the MEP National Hurdle Tests. They fully understand the need for thorough revision in preparation for all future examinations.

Our students are well equipped for the complex world they live in. They learn the values of respect, tolerance and empathy with other cultures. They also have an understanding and tolerance of multi-cultural Britain. They build culture capital through our many links to China.

The Mandarin curriculum plays a significant role in the development of wider language acquisition. Our students are rigorously developing their four skills throughout the Mandarin curriculum and these skills are transferable to French, German and Spanish. Our students out-perform other MEP schools at Key Stage 3.

Curriculum in action

Curriculum Beyond the Classroom

Educational Visits
Year 7- Intensive learning days at Upton Hall school and the University of Leeds.

Year 8- Two week residential, educational trip to China.

Year 9- One week residential, educational trip to University of Nottingham.

Extra Curricular
Chinese-culture classes runs for each year group, once a week at lunchtime.

Homework is set regularly in line with the school homework policy with the intent to accelerate exam technique but also promote a love of Mandarin and a love of learning.


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