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November 15th 2018

Spotlight on Mandarin

Our Mandarin teacher Mrs Chung tells us about the benefits of Chinese and why it's becoming more popular in Blackheath High School.

How long have you been teaching Mandarin at Blackheath High School?

I have been teaching Mandarin at Blackheath High school for about 10 years now.

Can you tell us about your background?

I was born in Taiwan. I also lived in New Zealand for 10 years before living in the UK. I completed my degree at University of Canterbury in Christchurch, before coming to the UK and continued my teaching career.

What is covered in Mandarin? What are your students working on at the moment?

We cover all five strands of the framework where applicable to Mandarin Chinese:

  • Words: Using pinyin to practise the sounds of Chinese characters and words, as well as their meaning and how to write them.
  • Sentences: teaching pupils how to write simple grammatically correct sentences.
  • Texts: teaching pupils how to understand and write more complex text.
  • Listening and speaking: linking listening and speaking to help pupils speak more accurately and authentically.
  • Culture knowledge and contact: giving pupils the opportunity to learn about China and other Chinese-speaking countries.

My students are all working on the five strands of the framework at moment.

Is it a popular choice of subject?

Mandarin is getting more and more popular for our students to choose in Year 7 at Senior School. Our students think that learning Chinese is fascinating and exciting. If students approach the language with an open and curious mind, they will naturally learn more easily and have more fun while learning.

What are the benefits of studying this subject?

Chinese is now considered as an important language worldwide because of its increase in presence in the business world. Chinese is involved in many businesses throughout the world. You would be surprised to know that around one-fifth of the entire world population speaks Chinese as their native language. 

What are the benefits of studying Mandarin at Blackheath High School? What is unique about Mandarin here?

The benefits are:

  • We achieved excellent GCSE and A level exam grades
  • We offer a small conversation class on a regular basis
  • We offer MFL breakfast club on a regular basis
  • We offer online Mandarin interactive learning platform for students to practise their language skills
  • A Mandarin trip to The British Museum and China Town
  • Chinese culture activities (eg: Chinese calligraphy, Chinese cookery lessons, Chinese dance lessons etc) are very popular with our students

Is there a particular aspect of the course that students tend to enjoy?

Students tend to enjoy the Chinese culture as well as leaning the language. The Chinese culture is diverse and unique, yet harmoniously blended; it is an invaluable asset to the world. Each year, Year 7 Mandarin students always enjoy performing at school assembly for the Chinese New Year Festival.


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