Teaching and Learning

One reason you are setting up your partnership may be to improve your students’ Chinese language skills by, among other things, being exposed to and practising oral and written language. This section contains some ideas for how you might go about it. But first, some preliminary advice.

Some schools have had the experience of beginning their partnership intending to develop extensive curricular collaborations immediately: shared student projects, co-development and completion of units of work and so on. However, they have confronted various problems.

These include very different approaches to the construction of curricula (and where the authority lies to do so), stringent prescription of content and teaching and learning activities which leave little room for experimentation or variation, tight teaching timelines which are regulated by regular testing, and, simply, differing expectations existing in the sister school about the nature and purposes of the partnership.

In setting up your partnership you should make it clear from the outset that you would like to organise activities designed to help your students learn Chinese and that you have some ideas in mind for how this might occur.

Be patient. It may take two or three years before the sorts of interactions you want actually occur. It is a good idea to start small and develop your ambitions as the partnership matures. It is likely that you will reap considerable benefit from trialing activities to see what works for you both.

You will find many teaching and learning ideas to share with your partner school in the ‘‘Professional Learning modules’ section of the Language Learning Space

Chinese in the Australian curriculum

The Chinese Language curriculum being developed for the Australian Curriculum contains two major content strands:

  • Communicating: using language for communicative purposes in interpreting, creating, and exchanging meaning; and
  • Understanding: analysing language and culture as a resource for interpreting and creating meaning.

Most of the sub-strands under ’Communicating’ provide fertile ground for developing learning activities with your partner, for example:

  • Socialising and taking action
  • Obtaining and using information
  • Moving between/translating
  • Expressing and performing identity, and
  • Reflecting on intercultural language use.

Many of the content descriptions under ‘Understanding’ are also relevant. For example: in the sub-strand ‘Language awareness’, ‘Use technology to construct and convey messages in Chinese’ (Level 2) and ‘Apply understanding of language used in digital media to participate in online forums in Chinese’ (Level 4). Native speakers' commentary on many of the other content descriptions in ‘Understanding’ would enrich and authenticate learners’ educational experiences.

Video with Standard Audio:

Julia Gong, Chinese educator, describes ways a school partnership can support Chinese language learning.

Video with Audio Description:

Julia Gong, Chinese educator, describes ways a school partnership can support Chinese language learning.

Focus questions to help you make curriculum connections with your partner can be found here.

Collaborative work

As time goes by it will be possible to try more sophisticated learning experiences and exchanges.

Here are some learning sequences developed by Australian teachers of Chinese for that purpose.

Other ideas are available via these sources: