Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Plea for Mandarin in regional schools

Plea for Mandarin in regional schools

Heartland New Zealand might seem a long way from Mainland China, but students here are being denied important cultural and educational opportunities as long as Mandarin remains off the school curriculum, says a Massey senior lecturer in Chinese Dr Rosemary Haddon.

Mandarin (Chinese) language learning has increased ten-fold in Auckland primary schools. But in many smaller regions the language is not established in the curriculum, says Dr Haddon.

“It denies the children in these areas an invaluable learning opportunity and disadvantages them with respect to future career choices, jobs and earning potential,” she says.

A shortage of qualified teachers is the given reason for not offering Chinese in schools, yet little has been done to address the situation, says Dr Haddon.

However, the People's Republic of China made news last week by sending 70 language assistants to primary and secondary schools throughout New Zealand in an initiative set up as part of the 2008 Free Trade Meanwhile, a specialist language teacher from China joins Massey’s Chinese programme this month and will be available to give free tuition in the local schools that offer the language on an extra-curricular basis or have plans to include Chinese as a regular part of their offerings.

Ms Lanhui Ying is a qualified teacher of Chinese who holds a Master’s degree from the prestigious Beijing Languages University. She is being sent to New Zealand under the auspices of Hanban (Office of the Chinese Language Council International) and will stay in this country for two years.

In addition, Dr. Haddon says the Confucius Institute (based at Auckland, Victoria, Canterbury and Otago universities) provides schools with teaching resources and other materials,. Under the scheme, clusters of schools can be granted a “Confucius Classroom” status, making them eligible for resources and support for Chinese language and culture programmes.

Canadian-born Dr Haddon has been teaching Chinese at Massey since arriving here in 1995. The Chinese programme, which is part of the School of Humanities, has flourished since then with extensive distance offerings and, more recently, additional papers on the Albany campus. In 2012 she launched a popular Chinese film festival in Palmerston North, which also ran in Albany last year.

In describing her own journey as a student of Chinese, she acknowledges it can be a daunting language.

“It helped turn my life around during a challenging period. More significantly, it opened the door to a profoundly fascinating world, a world that beguiles and intrigues me still.”

After completing a PhD in modern Chinese literature at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, she spent 18 months at the Australian National University, Canberra, as a Postdoctoral Fellow before coming to New Zealand.

She was “shell-shocked” by the attitudes to language learning here in contrast to North America, Europe and Asia. In China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other areas of the Chinese-speaking world, “one thinks nothing of the vast levels of multilingualism,” she says. “Everyday life is a matter of hearing and speaking
Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghai-nese, Min, Hakka, multiple dialects, not to mention English, Japanese, Korean, and others”.

Dr Haddon stresses the advantages enjoyed by those who speak more than one language, including superior creative thinking, multi-tasking skills and even improved numeracy. As well as Chinese, Massey offers Japanese, French and Spanish language programmes as part of its Bachelor of Arts degree, or as electives in business, science or education degrees.

Another consideration for learning Mandarin is that China is New Zealand’s premier trading partner – in particular for dairy and agricultural products that are fundamental to New Zealand’s economy, she says.

“On the economic front, not sharing a common language is a barrier to trade,” says Dr Haddon. “Small to medium enterprises suffer the most from the reduced language facility, which is especially important in the New Zealand context given the high proportion of these enterprises.”

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Game Review: Midsomer Murders Meets First Year Philosophy

Developed by The Chinese Room, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture sees the player exploring what appears to be a recently abandoned idyllic English village trying to figure out where everybody's gone. Spoiler: they've gone to the rapture. (On a serious note, this review contains plot spoilers.) More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Clear Science

It was really after his move to Wellington, to Victoria University, that it became apparent that Sir Paul Cllaghan was much more than an eminent physicist... More>>

ALSO:

Francis Cook: Weekend SportzMania! All Blacks! Netball!

Sports were on all weekend. I normally don’t write about sports but with Richie McCaw tipped to be the next Prime Minister, and Colin Craig arguing sports are almost as important as politics, I thought “what better time to start!” More>>

ALSO:

Beervana: Aussie Pav Beer Declared Taste Of NZ

In a surprising upset, an Australian beer modelled on the pavlova, created by Brisbane brewery Newstead Brewing, the 250 Beers blog and Scratch Bar, has been announced the winner at the Beervana craft beer festival ‘Flag Brew’ competition, which challenged media and brewing teams to capture the distinctive taste of New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Air NZ Teams Up With All Blacks For Men In Black Video

Inspired by the Columbia Pictures global film franchise Men in Black, Air New Zealand’s latest safety instalment features All Blacks’ Captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter as Men in Black agents. More>>

ALSO:

World Champions: BRADAS Of Identity Company Take On The World And Win Gold

This is only the second time since NZ has qualified for the HHI world finals that NZ has taken home a GOLD medal in this division. REQUEST Dance Crew being the only other NZ crew to achieve this. New Zealands only other medal this year was Silver for the Royal Family in a very close final in the Megacrew division. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Contrary To Popular Belief - Lloyd Geering

Many older Dunediners like myself, and indeed older Presbyterians and others throughout the country, will remember the controversy aroused by the articles and speeches of Professor Geering, Principal of Knox College Theological Hall in the late 1960s... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news