Mandarin Chinese

Mandarin was introduced nearly ten years ago with great success in St Paul’s and every year girls go on to study the subject to sixth form level and beyond. Mandarin features as one of the languages in the MIV language discovery course and can then be selected at the end of MIV as ML1 or at the start of UIV as an ML2.

The GCSE course involves components of controlled assessment for speaking and writing. For the Edexcel GCSE, students will be expected to understand and express themselves on the following topic areas: media and culture, sport and leisure, travel and tourism, work and employment, and business. Following the GCSE, students of Mandarin will study for the Pre-U. In the VII the students deepen their grammatical knowledge and significantly extend their active vocabulary to explore issues touching on the position of the young person in society. They have to be able to offer opinions on relevant topics ranging from the positive and negative effects of popular trends to the environmental impact of mass tourism. From the summer of the VII they will embark on study of a literary work which they will write about in English.

The second year of Pre-U asks the student to consider their position as a member of the global society and interestingly, is one of the few senior school subjects which insists that students explore ethical issues, such as euthanasia, globalisation and nuclear energy in depth. The discursive essay prepares them well for many higher education courses which require such skills whilst the use of language paper hones their linguistic awareness and rigour. The cultural paper allows them to explore one literary work in depth and a cultural topic related to Chinese geography, history or economics.

Trips and cultural opportunities

The V are offered a ten-day exchange to the second high school affiliated to Beijing Normal University. Sixth form students have the opportunity to take part in an intensive Chinese language course in Hangzhou University and volunteering at the school for the deaf. Every year, we celebrate the Chinese New Year with the whole school through performances of Chinese folk dancing, kung fu and Chinese instrument workshops. Chinese tea tasting and Chinese calligraphy sessions are also offered. Day trips to London for special conferences and events, for example visiting Chinatown and having dinner in Chinese restaurants, are organised during term time. We regularly participate with great success in the HSBC/British Council Chinese speaking competition in London.