Mandarin teaching at LIFT in primary school

Mandarin teaching is an important matter at LIFT. As a matter of fact, a lot of LIFT families are taiwanese or bi-national: it is important to us to make sure that even if the choice of a french school and an international education is being made, we offer our pupils the possibility to keep and to develop the mastering of one of their mother tongues.

Thus, we strive, in dialog with families, to set up a curriculum as a way to be as close as possible to the educational taiwanese system’s expectations without losing sight of the fact that we are a french school that, first and foremost, has to deliver and answer the french curriculum needs.

It is by looking for this balance that we imagined our mandarin learning system which intends to enable all the pupils, in their profile and family circumstances diversity to develop oral, reading and writing skills regarding their needs.

Weekly schedules

For the chinese speaking children choosing the french/mandarin pathway

Each mandarin class from the french/mandarin pathway is leaded by two teachers in order to make needs groups, so that we reach at best our differentiation and personalization objective.

Cycle 2

  • 3h weekly mandarin (oral, reading, writing)
  • 2,5h of weekly EMILE (science, music, citizenship education teachings in mandarin)

Cycle 3

  • 4h weekly mandarin (oral, reading, writing)
  • 2h weekly of EMILE (maths, arts and music in mandarin)

For non chinese speaking pupils, picking up the french/english pathway

Cycle 2/3
  • 2h weekly of mandarin as a foreign language (oral, reading)
This rate is a way to bring our teaching into a true french-mandarin bilingualism.

Our frame of reference

The national taiwanese curriculum remains our frame of reference to build the learning sequences. It details the expectations in oral understanding, oral production, written understanding and written production, as well as the drawing of characters and zhuyin.

It thus matters to create possible bridges between LIFT and the taiwanese public primary school for the families that wish so.

From there, the school has set objectives regarding the number of taught characters in each grade, which represent 70% of the local Taiwanese system.

Tools used in mandarin class

  • At the beginning of each timeframe, families receive a linguistic program with studied themes, characters, grammar, books and texts read, and cultural elements.
  • We make the choice not to follow a specific manual because this cannot fit our trilingual approach and our project pedagogy that implies that our teachers share common themes. In this perspective, it would be difficult to follow a manual with themes disconnected from the other teachings.

Assessing the level of mandarin

In addition to the continuous assessment procedures, the school offers two assessment setups as a way to certify the pupils’ level of mandarin:

  • Carrying out national assessments produced by Taichung Univesity for all the primary school classes. These end of the schoolyear tests are a way to determine the french/mandarin pathway pupils’ level in reading and writing.
  • The Children Chinese Competencies Certification (CCCC) that enables the non chinese speaking pupils to get a validation of their mandarin level regarding three levels (pre A1, A1 and A2).