Learning to speak Chinese – Mandarin

Victorian students are required to learn a language other than English up until year 8 and for many years our students learnt Italian. This year after extensive community consultation we choose to change the language to Chinese – Mandarin.

The main reasons the community selected Mandarin include:

  •  Australia is viewed geographically as part of Asia and most people immigrating into Australia come from Asian countries – therefore we should include Asian perspectives across the curriculum to better understand our neighbours – including a language. 
  • China is one of our main trading nations and in this international economic climate to speak the language is an advantage. 

We have recruited a teacher and looked for grants to fund the resources required to start teaching the language. We have already attracted groups of Chinese teachers at summer school at RMIT to visit the school and interact with the students. In the next year or so we we look to develop a sister school relationship with a school in China so that students can learn about Chinese culture and practice some language skills.

We imagine it will take some time for the students who, for the most part do not come from Asian countries, to learn about the Chinese culture. We are operating from the theory that when you understand the culture your capacity to understand the language improves. This all makes for an exciting journey ahead.

Any tips from schools that have started this journey would be appreciated.

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7 Responses to Learning to speak Chinese – Mandarin

  1. Darrell Fraser says:

    Hi Mark,
    I really like your website, and i have even bookmarked it in my favourites! You are a credit to Victoria Education, and i hope to speak to you soon.

  2. derekpm says:

    Rather interesting. Has few times re-read for this purpose to remember. Thanks for interesting article. Waiting for trackback

  3. Adrian says:

    Nice site and an interesting read – are you having fun with it? I like what you are doing here.

  4. My son told me to check out your blog and I must say I’m impressed, very helpful.

  5. Min Min says:

    Chinese is not really difficult to learn. I have created a free learning Chinese website for people who are keen to learn Chinese. Please give me comments and suggestions for improvement.

  6. mwalker says:

    I’m not an expert here but they tell me the major difference here is that Chinese is character based where Italian is phonetic. I will ask my newly appointed Chinese teacher and get back to you soon.

  7. Hey I am very much interested in learning different languages, I have been learning Italian for five months and I know Spanish already, Chinese could be a nice option for me but I am a little bit confused about Chinese as some people told me that learning Chinese is not so easy, Tell me is learning Chinese really difficult?

Interested in your thoughts