Early Morning Mandarin at Downsend

A Surrey languages teacher is bringing a small part of China to the classroom with her online interactive Mandarin lessons, live from Beijing.


For the last few weeks, Susie Taylor, Deputy Head of Languages at Downsend School, part of Cognita Schools, has treated her Year 8 pupils to an interactive Mandarin lesson live from Beijing using Zoom and a webcam.


From the comfort of their classroom the children have been taught by Yaya Yang about Chinese culture, geography and were also introduced to the basics of the Mandarin language.  The ICT department helped Susie to convert the classroom into an “interactive classroom” complete with state-of-the-art technology.


Susie explains “I wanted to give our Year 8 linguists a different language learning experience. They learnt to say basic greetings that could be useful for their careers in the future.”


“To be exposed to the intricacies of the 4 tones and pinyin was a great learning experience for us all. It was a fabulous opportunity to practise a new language creatively.”


A Downsend pupil from Year 8 who took part in the Mandarin lessons said “The lesson was great. Yaya showed us the view from her window in Beijing and played video clips of different cities in China as well clips of the deserts of Western China and the rice-fields in Southern China. We learnt that the lowest recorded temperature in Northern China one winter was -44°C.”


Ian Thorpe, Downsend School’s Headmaster said: “Cognita Schools aim to take an innovative approach to global education and Susie is certainly doing that. It’s great to see the children being so engaged with their learning and the online Mandarin lessons are the perfect example of the creative teaching that makes Downsend such an inspiring place to learn.”

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