‘Unbelievable’ response from pupils as Brock partners with Priestlands School to offer Chinese language classes

23 February 2022

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Young linguists at Priestlands School in Lymington have enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity to learn Chinese through a Brockenhurst College pilot programme.

Sixty pupils from Years 7 to 10 applied for just 30 places studying Mandarin Chinese after school with Brock’s visiting volunteer lecturer Qilin Peng.

The overwhelming response meant names had to be pulled out of the hat randomly for the scheme, which comprises ten one-hour lessons over ten weeks.

So far, pupils have been learning greetings, numbers and useful phrases for shopping and using restaurant services.

There has also been an emphasis on Chinese culture through learning initiatives related to Chinese festivals, paper cutting, and the Chinese Zodiac and calligraphy.

Year 7 pupil, Lacey, said: “I think this is a great after school club; I have always wanted to learn Chinese; I loved learning about the Spring Festival.”

Head of Modern Foreign Languages at Priestlands School, Ruth Owen, said: “It is great to see our students really enjoying Chinese language and culture lessons prepared by Brock’s volunteer teacher.

“It is so nice to have Chinese learning opportunities to offer to our learners.”

Brockenhurst College is the only Further Education college in the UK to be awarded UCL Confucius Classroom status for the quality of its teaching and learning in GCSE and A Level Mandarin Chinese.

It also maintains relations with partner schools in China, organises exchange trips to China, and is well known for its Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations.

Brock Confucius Classroom Manager, Xing Li Bloodworth, said: “The response to this opportunity to gain an initial grounding in this increasingly important world language has been unbelievable.

“We are aiming to provide an inspiring experience by introducing pupils to a user-friendly system of learning that breaks down perceived barriers by using Pinyin, a Latin alphabet system, to distinguish sounds.

“Importantly, we will be showing learners that becoming fluent in Chinese is achievable for those who are ambitious and accept the challenge.”

There are now plans to arrange introductory classes to those who missed out this time, as well as more advanced classes for the original group.

Priestlands and Brock may also explore the feasibility of jointly offering the opportunity to gain an AQA FCSE qualification in Chinese.