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Confucius Institute

Learning Mandarin through Music

6 October 2015

Music is such a powerful way of studying is because it's fun. At our Confucius Classroom The Gleddings Preparatory School, Mandarin is taught from Year 1 to Year 6 in an informal style and relaxed atmosphere.

Music is such a powerful way of studying is because it's fun. At our Confucius Classroom The Gleddings Preparatory School, Mandarin is taught from Year 1 to Year 6 in an informal style and relaxed atmosphere. They find that it is most effective to ensure all children participate and thoroughly enjoy their lessons.  

Our main objective in teaching Mandarin is for the children to gain enthusiasm and confidence for language learning. At the same time we encourage the children to achieve an understanding of Chinese culture and also develop a greater awareness and sensitivity of the life of others.

One of the children’s favourite activities is singing their catchy English and Mandarin bilingual songs. First, children listen carefully how the keywords are being spoken by the teacher with the correct intonation and pronunciation. Once the children have gained confidence with the new keywords, the teacher says the keywords at different speeds as well as different rhythmic patterns for the children to copy orally. This is done in order to avoid tedious repetition. When the children have mastered the intonation and pronunciation of the keywords, they are invited to learn the words and melody of the new bilingual song. Finally, they are invited to contribute ideas for various actions for the song. Children are encouraged to perform in front of others, for example, in the classroom, school assemblies and the European Day of Languages special assemblies.

In 2014, a group of Year 5 children were invited to perform in Manchester. The children sang their favourite bilingual colours song. It is fondly nicknamed by the children as The Jelly-Bean Song. Their delightful singing and lovely expression brought a smile to everyone’s face.

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