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Mandarin raises Te Aro pupil confidence

Mar 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

 TEACHERS at Te Aro School are reporting positive results after three years of pupils learning Mandarin at the school.

The school has 200 students from 40 different nationalities. Yet they say learning a foreign language helps to make every pupil’s culture feel valued.

“They just love it,”Mandarin teacher Kristin Holmes says.

Mandarin was initially taught to years seven and eight, but Te Aro School has taken it a step further by teaching it from year four up.

“They (years four to six) are almost more receptive to it because it’s so new and exciting,” says Kristin.

Learning Mandarin has even helped with pupils’ confidence, she says.

“We have a lot of mandarin speaking children here, so for them it’s been a real boost to their confidence because they become the experts, as they know more than I do.”

Te Aro School ensures that every culture and language is appreciated, not just Chinese and Mandarin.

“Language and culture is really valued at school and that has a knock on effect for kids from other cultures. They can see that it’s not just all about being white and speaking English.”

Kristin has even noticed the intellectual effect learning Mandarin has had on the students.

“Just getting their tongues around another language helps the pronunciation with other languages like Te Reo Maori,” says Kristin.

“It’s also helped the older kids understand how language works and also how our own language works.”

Principal, Sue Clement wasn’t surprised to find, when she arrived at the school two terms ago, that the school was learning Mandarin.

“I’m used to the idea of people learning an Asian language to ensure they are able to contribute to the ever changing world that we’re in.”

Further illustration of Te Aro pupils willingness to embrace new cultures is their plan to celebrate the school’s diversity in their annual Race Relations Day.

“The house captains have a big leadership role on Race Relations Day. They are researching games from around the world that represent the students who we have here,” says Sue.

The principal says the school plans to continue teaching Mandarin because of its many life-long benefits.

“It gives students the opportunities to have a taster for possible closer relations they might have themselves in their work and study lives.”


Left to right: Levi Siaosi,Nuru Arse,Indy Aiono,Jena Khamsonah

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is a student on the 2012 radio journalism diploma course. Jess also completed the Certificate in Journalism course in 2012.
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