How much do you know about the famous pair of bronze lions at the gate of the Forbidden City? What about the treasures in the Palace Museum in Beijing and the one in Taipei? Well, Concordia students Saanvi S. and Angelina W. know a great deal about these fascinating cultural artifacts.
With their wonderful speeches and presentations, they won the 2nd prize (in the ES and MS categories respectively) in the Palace Museum Chinese Speech Competition of the Pudong Overseas Students Chinese Culture Exhibition. Additionally, Concordia Shanghai was honored with an Excellent Organizer Award.
The event attracted more than 3,000 expat students from schools for children of expats and some international schools across Pudong.
From March to May, Concordia students were actively engaged in a series of training sessions, including public speaking training and a cultural lecture given by Yang Wanli, an expert on the Palace Museum. With coaching from the cultural expert and the school's Mandarin teachers, they were encouraged to express their thoughts and feelings about the Forbidden City in the form of a Chinese speech.
In the preliminary round of the speech competition, 17 students from different divisions gave their speeches without a script, covering topics varying from history, architecture, Qing Dynasty costumes, cats in the Forbidden City, etc.
Guided by their Mandarin teachers, our students worked very hard to better understand and articulate the content covered in their presentations, while at the same time trying to make their speeches more vivid and engaging. On May 25, the day of the final round of the competition finally arrived.
On the day, young Saanvi S. (G3) spoke passionately to the judges about her fondness for the famous pair of bronze lions that stand guard at the gate of the Forbidden City.
Upon taking the stage, Angelina W.(G6) spoke eloquently of the differences and similarities between the jade pieces, bronzeware, calligraphy works and other collections housed in the Palace Museum in Beijing and the one in Taipei. In her presentation, she also highlighted the enriching history of China and the idea that the two Palace Museums stem from the same cultural root despite their different locations.
Through the process of researching the Forbidden City and expressing their views in the form of a speech, the students found joy in learning the Chinese language and consciously deepened their appreciation of Chinese culture. Congratulations to all the students who participated in this event for their creative and wonderful showcase of the various aspects of the ancient palace!
However, the opportunity to embrace the Chinese language and culture is not limited to this event at Concordia, as the Mandarin program is an integral part of the school's education. Daily compulsory Mandarin classes from Preschool through Grade 5, and elective Mandarin courses beyond that, provide opportunities for students to either discover Mandarin as a foreign language or deepen their understanding at the heritage level. In and out of the Mandarin class, students practice and engage in activities that allow them to experience the language, culture, and flavors of our host country.
To meet the increasing demand for Mandarin learning in international schools, in 2017 Concordia became the first school in Asia to adopt a Workshop approach to teaching Mandarin literacy. The program, modeled after the Teachers College Reading & Writing project at Columbia University, encourages students to brainstorm freely and utilize the writing skills they have learned to create their own literary works, from paragraphs to chapters, covering topics from individuals to social issues. In class, students are able to experience the joy of reading, writing, and sharing. They also see their own and their peers' growth, which drives them in Chinese learning. This model has been extremely successful in helping students become "effective communicators" and "insightful learners."