the ruyton reporter
I learn Chinese because…’
I learn Chinese because my mother said that I may be able to get a job in China when
I grow up.’
Year 5 student
I learn Chinese because it is fun’.
Year 5 student
I learn Chinese because it is different.’
Year 8 student
I want to communicate with my relatives in China.’
Year 10 student
I want to learn Chinese because I can get bonus marks for my VCE study and it will be
very useful when I go travelling in Asia or when I want to find a job.’
Year 11 student
These are some of the typical responses I get when I ask our girls why they choose
to learn Chinese at Ruyton. And they actually summarise what we offer in our
programme in Chinese.
It has long been recognised that knowledge of the Chinese language and Chinese
culture is a great asset, as China has become Australia’s most important trading
partner and is a local economic and political power. Every year thousands of
Australians visit China, Singapore, Hong Kong,Taiwan and Malaysia and many go
to work there. In Australia there are increasing numbers of Chinese immigrants
and tourists.Therefore there are many identified cultural, economic and educational
benefits in providing quality programmes to our young people. Our ultimate goal
is to enable them to communicate culturally and linguistically with the Chinese.
As our girls say, learning Chinese is different and it is fun. It is different as Chinese
is a tonal language with its written form in characters. Its grammar is very simple.
Although it is perceived as a hard subject at School, it is not a mission impossible!
With the support of the School, the learning journey is fun.We have endeavoured
to do this in the following ways:
In our teaching we offer differentiated curriculum activities and task-based
learning.We try to accommodate the different needs of non-Chinese-background
students and students with diverse Chinese backgrounds, such as Cantonese
speakers and speakers of other Chinese dialects and students who have native-like
oral competence but no reading and writing skills. In 2010, we started our first Year
Accelerated Chinese programme and by 2012 we have been able to streamline
the programmes in Years 7 to 12.
We make the study engaging.The rich ICT resources and the availability of the
Internet have enabled us to offer new and diverse activities in the classroom.
Multimedia offers the opportunity to make class presentation more interesting.
Web 2.0 resources and computer games make it possible for the girls to revise,
create and share their work in all areas of language study: listening, speaking,
reading and writing.
We blend the study of Chinese culture into the study of the language. If our
girls are to be competent Chinese speakers they must have understanding and
appreciation of Chinese culture. Cultural components are introduced through
different topics, such as Chinese food, and Chinese festivals and workshops on
Chinese martial arts, calligraphy, painting, dancing, music, cooking, knotting and
paper cutting.
We have established cross-age mentoring and parent-support reading programmes.
Our Year 9 mainstream students act as mentors to Year 5 and in Term 2 Mrs Godwin
and Mrs Raynal visited to read with the Year 5 girls.
Our class sizes are deliberately small and a team of highly professional teachers
work closely with our girls to enable them to achieve their best possible results.
Since 1995 Ruyton has organised tours to China to provide girls with opportunities
to experience Chinese culture in context.We have also established successful
sister-school relationships with Yu Xin School in Beijing and Sheng Kung Catholic
Girls’ School in Tainan,Taiwan.
There are many reasons why students choose to learn Chinese.The Chinese
Department at Ruyton is thriving as a result of successful collaboration between
enthusiastic students, teachers and the School community.The Chinese idiom,
meaning ‘You can’t clap with one hand’, best describes the outcome
of the learning journey.
Mrs Danyang McAuliffe,
Dean of Chinese
Mr Guanxin Ren was awarded the Ruyton
Educational Research Award in 2011 and
conducted research into the effectiveness of
secondary school girls’ learning styles in
Chinese as a second language. He presented
his findings in a paper to the June 2012
European International Education Conference
in Rome, where his hard work was recognised
by being awarded Best Paper. His research
findings show that girls can learn better by
displaying their natural learning style
strengths without making their learning
styles congruent with a particular teaching
style.We are fortunate to have Guanxin’s
skills in our LOTE Department.
Language Skills Chinese