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Teaching Mandarin, and enjoying British fish and chips, part and parcel of Chinese students’ visit to Reepham

PUBLISHED: 14:00 24 January 2017

Pupils from the Qiaoxiang Foreign Language School in Shenzhen, China, help to teach mandarin to Reepham High School students during their visit to their partner school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Pupils from the Qiaoxiang Foreign Language School in Shenzhen, China, help to teach mandarin to Reepham High School students during their visit to their partner school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

Students at Reepham High School and College have said their goodbyes, or zài jiàn, to new friends from the Shenzen Education Bureau in China after another successful visit to the school.

Pupils from the Qiaoxiang Foreign Language School in Shenzhen, China, help to teach mandarin to Reepham High School students during their visit to their partner school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPupils from the Qiaoxiang Foreign Language School in Shenzhen, China, help to teach mandarin to Reepham High School students during their visit to their partner school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Reepham was the first school in the UK to be selected for a partnership programme with the far eastern education authority and the first students from Guangming School visited last year.

A two-week visit this term from the Qiaoxiang Foreign Language School in Shenzen saw the Chinese pupils gain an insight into the UK’s education system and share their language skills.

James Hayward, RHSC’s Head of Languages, said the project funds a teacher of Mandarin and it will subsidise travel for student learners of Mandarin to China.

“In return we undertake to receive the groups of Chinese students and teachers when they come across,” he said.

Cai Yun Kai, 11, from the Qiaoxiang Foreign Language School in Shenzhen, China, teaches mandarin to Reepham High School Sixth Form student Emily Baker, 17, during their visit to their partner school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYCai Yun Kai, 11, from the Qiaoxiang Foreign Language School in Shenzhen, China, teaches mandarin to Reepham High School Sixth Form student Emily Baker, 17, during their visit to their partner school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“They are interested in our broader curriculum and how we promote soft skills like team working and creativity while we hope to gain insight into how they teach Maths at such a high level plus the opportunity to teach Mandarin here.”

The project is benefitting students across all year groups, he said.

Year 7 and 8 pupils were buddied up with the Chinese students and accompanyied them to lessons.

The Chinese students also gave additional support for learners of Mandarin in years 9, 10 and 12.

Pupils from the Qiaoxiang Foreign Language School in Shenzhen, China, help to teach mandarin to Reepham High School students during their visit to their partner school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPupils from the Qiaoxiang Foreign Language School in Shenzhen, China, help to teach mandarin to Reepham High School students during their visit to their partner school. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Hayward added: “There are added benefits with the cultural experience for our pupils and there is lots of enthusiasm from Year 7 and 8 for the programme. Some have stayed in touch with students from the last visit in October and many want to learn Mandarin in future years if they get the opportunity.

“We have 48 learners of Mandarin across Y9. 10 and 12, making fast progress. The Chinese students (including the younger ones) supported ours in learning Mandarin especially pronunciation and reading and recognising the characters, with support from the teachers who travelled across with them.”

Over the weekends the Chinese group visited Oxford, Cambridge and London as well as destinations in Norfolk.

Qui Yue, 11, said she had enjoyed making friends and science lessons.

“This is a good school, a nice school,” she said, adding that she has really enjoyed English food, particularly fish and chips.

Huang Hongxhue, 12, said that he has enjoyed Maths and Music. “In China we sing in our music lessons, but in England we got to play the piano as well,” he said.

Reepham High pupil Lucy Carlile, 13 said: “This has been an amazing experience, once in a lifetime. It has been great seeing the two cultures coming together, I would be really keen to visit China if the opportunity arose.”

14-year-old Nessie Everett took part in Mandarin lessons with the visiting pupils. She said that she had really enjoyed learning Mandarin and although it was difficult she had loved the chance to learn another language.

* Is your school welcoming some special visitors? Email kathryn.cross@archant.co.uk

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