Crickhowell High School is absolutely thrilled to announce that it has become an official Confucius Classroom. The goal of a Confucius Classroom is to help local schools to start or strengthen the teaching of Chinese language and culture. Confucius Classroom status leads to more opportunities to attend sponsored trips to visit China and conduct educational exchanges with schools in China. In the future, students in Crickhowell will have opportunities to attend sponsored summer camps to China in summer. The Confucius Classroom is an excellent concept that will give students the chance not only to enhance their language skills, but also to enrich their lives by learning about China, its people and its culture. But the activity doesn’t stop there. The Confucius Classroom will generate an even wider interest in China by organising events out in the community.
What is the Confucius Institute?
The Confucius Institute is a non-profit-making organisation, devoted to promoting the understanding of Chinese language and culture throughout the world and strengthening cultural co-operation and developing a closer relationship between China and other nations. There are currently 500 Confucius Institutes and 1,000 Confucius Classrooms all over the world. The Confucius Institute head office is in Hanban, Beijing.
How it all started at Crickhowell:
Our journey and the steady growth of Chinese language and culture
in October 2012, four Chinese artists from Xi’An in Shaanxi province visited schools in the Crickhowell area as part of an organised tour and art exhibition by the Confucius Institute at the University of Wales Trinity St David. The visit aroused huge interest in Chinese language and culture and resulted in the placement of Mr Liang Lingsheng in a number of Powys schools.
Crickhowell High School was thrilled to have its own dedicated Chinese teacher and Liang Lingsheng’s valuable contribution led to the rapid growth of Mandarin. In keeping with the school motto “Excellence Through Endeavour” the school wished for its pupils to ‘be the best they can be’ and to strive for excellence in Mandarin and Chinese Studies. A vibrant hub of learning and excellence: promoting and celebrating Chinese language, creative and performing arts and culture, whilst developing and deepening pupils’ knowledge and understanding by firmly embedding Mandarin in to the school curriculum.
The school of course grasped this excellent opportunity to imbed Chinese into the school curriculum. Every Year 7 pupil regardless of ability learns Chinese as part of their academic timetable. The school has a new Hanban teacher, Mr Yuhui Qin, a talented and energetic Mandarin teacher and professional calligrapher. His engaging teaching style encourages all students to participate and his use of repetition exercises, both of words and tonal patterns has meant that pupils have learned to speak accurately.
The school now has a GCSE Mandarin class and after school Mandarin lessons for beginners of all abilities as well as a highly successful Chinese Calligraphy club. It has hosted an exciting China Day and has welcomed Chinese artists and musicians in to the school working with students from Year 8 to Year 13 across the curriculum. A recent visit by a number of prestigious Chinese artists has resulted in the work of our A level Art students being selected for an exhibition in China.
The Hanban teacher also teaches Mandarin, Chinese exercise and Chinese arts and crafts at three local primary schools. It is fully inclusive with all pupils are involved, from Reception to Year 6 classes.
Two members of staff including the Head teacher, Jackie Parker, have visited China on the British Council China Bridge Programme. The Head teacher has also attended a high profile conference in Shanghai. The Director of MFL, Keri Bosley has also recently completed the Chinese Language immersion course run by the Cardiff Confucius Institute.
We consider the addition of Chinese to be fundamental to our success as a global school.
Message from Jackie Parker, Head Teacher at Crickhowell High School
Mandarin has made a huge impact at the school. Our pupils have benefited enormously from the generosity of Hanban, who have placed Chinese teachers at the school. We are running highly successful Chinese language and cultural classes here and also in three of the primary schools. We look forward to sending our students to summer camps and to further developing the teaching of Mandarin at GCSE level. Our links with two secondary school in China will ensure that a wide range of subjects across the curriculum are included in future cultural exchanges.
Erasmus + Success
As a school, we already have a wealth of experience in international exchanges and have an exciting and diverse range of established international collaborative projects. We have the full International Award from the British Council. We have recently been successful in two large applications for Erasmus + projects, securing funding for a range of very exciting collaborative projects involving staff members and students.
Twenty members of staff including the Head Teacher are involved in the Global Futures Languages Project and will all visit a diverse range of countries this academic year to learn a new language and take part in professional development. At the time of writing, one member of staff is in Bordeaux undertaking professional development and learning French. There will be visits to Poland, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Iceland, Italy and Finland.
We also have an incredibly exciting trilateral project with Finland and Austria involving Year 12 students.