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Mandarin across St Mary's

Mandarin across St Mary's

From traditional class teaching, to remote learning and hybrid learning, our girls in both Junior and Senior School displayed their perseverance and resilience skills in Mandarin subject.

The Junior School girls were given opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the ‘Chinese 12 Zodiac Animals’ theme by writing down the animals in Mandarin characters as well as completing their own tasks. Lessons were set as open-ended tasks for the girls to choose from (including creating patterns, arts and crafts, and painting) - encouraging them to be able to take charge of their own learning from their own choices, as well as being willing to take risks and becoming more confident after completing it successfully. There was much creative work received and many were above the high expectations set in class. 

  • Rosa H. (Year 4), made an Ox Head, for the Year of Ox
  • Rebecca B. (Year 4),made a super dragon’s head for the Year of Dragon
  • Shiying C. (Year 1), drew Mandarin characters in patterns
  • Layla R. (Year 1) created 12 Zodiac Animal Cards 

During lockdown, our Mandarin in Junior School was delivered in a recorded format. Girls in the Junior School not only embraced the new way of learning with an optimistic open mind, but also adapted the practice proficiently, with diligent attitudes and high-quality achievements. 

In Senior School, I was impressed by our Year 10 girls in one of our verbal practice lessons during remote learning. Working in different locations, with a mixed class of native and non-native speakers we needed to create practice suitable for both groups, including extension for native speakers. The girls actually worked in an incredibly collaborative way: the native speakers led the verbal practice - challenged to find the correct vocabulary and grammar to lead the class forward, whilst non-native speakers practised speaking, as well as listening skills from their native peers.

I felt like a conductor in an orchestra during that lesson. It was a wonderful experience for me as a teacher. I was very proud of all the girls - they took charge, successfully practised the content, laughed, learned, worked, enlightened and encouraged each other as a team.

Girls in Senior School demonstrated many quality independent works through their remote learning, for example:

  • Francesca R. (Year 10), Writing: My Hobbies
  • Maryam G. (Year 11), Letter to my grandma.

In our Senior School Mandarin lessons, girls worked hard and displayed a persistent collaborative way of learning, helping each other remotely, to overcome technical difficulties including technical failure. As a teacher, I encountered many touching moments where girls were being kind and thoughtful in class, collaborating with each other, helping each other in learning Mandarin. I am very proud of them all. 

We all live in a historical moment, embracing sadness, loss, worry, uncertainty … many that we were not familiar with; however, what have we learned from it? Life experiences were great lessons. Indeed we are, as a community together, becoming stronger. We looked after each other, helped each other, we listened to each other, we were kind, patient, we learned from each other, from teachers or through our peers. Whilst the virus kept us physically distant, it brought us closer together. Here we are, standing strong together: ‘Still St Mary’s’. 

The girls demonstrated Mary Ward Values, particularly in supporting each other, being kind and helpful. Whilst remote teaching was challenging, I learned from our girls: their optimistic attitudes, ability to overcome difficulties, hardworking and flexible ways to adapt to the new … I am going to use Robert Heilein’s word here:

“When one teaches, two learn”. Thank you, girls. 

Mrs Skillings

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