Mandarin Now Offered to Grades 3 and 4


In the continuing efforts to expand curricular offerings and proffer a truly dynamic education, Chinese language classes were introduced as one of the foreign language offerings to students in La Salle Green Hills (LSGH) as early as schoolyear 2003-2004.

Recognizing that Chinese language, along with the rapid development of China’s economy, is becoming increasingly popular in the world, LSGH has, for the past 12 years, implemented the Chinese Language Program (CLP) as a special feature of the school.

The CLP is a foreign language enrichment program that teaches Mandarin to Filipinos. It was first affiliated with China’s prestigious Fujian Normal University in Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, China. Forging this strong school partnership, the program’s emphasis has long been on an accelerated and outstanding Mandarin language curriculum under the instruction of Mandarin teachers who specialize in teaching Chinese as a second language.

The program also recognizes China as a dominant force of the 21st century. Individuals who understand Chinese and can communicate in Mandarin will have an advantage in many career paths. In addition, studying Chinese will be useful for travel and communicating with Chinese speakers worldwide. The program further aims to develop in the learners and their facilitators a global attitude, the enhancement of cognitive and communication skills and gain for them a personal learning experience.

The program first developed from a non-graded, after-school enrichment program open to interested enrollees from grade one to fourth year high school. Divided into 6 groups over a twice-a-week schedule, Mandarin 1 for beginners and Mandarin 2 for continuing enrollees were the courses offered. Classroom activities include study of pinyin and practice of dialogues, sentences and basic greetings, poetry reading, singing in Chinese, engaging in Chinese games and film viewing.

A line-up of alternative classroom activities also included celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival (Mooncake) in September and the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) in January or February. A culminating activity was also set at the end of the schoolyear, where pupils showcased their learnings from class and were awarded special certificates. Other activities include singing of songs and recitation of poems in Mandarin, performing Chinese gong-fu, dumpling-making, film viewing and many more. These Chinese Enrichment Classes continue to be implemented up to the present.

Extending its program offering further, LSGH also opened Chinese language classes in Basic Mandarin for adults and professionals from 2005-2010. In the light of the growing Chinese population in the Philippines and its impressive impact on business and trading industries as well as the increasing number of jobs overseas in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, it is very important to keep with the world events and developments.

This specialized Mandarin program invites enrollees to choose the lessons they want to learn from a list of topics. The students have a hand at designing the course outline, making the classes more dynamic, flexible, and suitable for the learners. The classes included teaching of basic language skills in Mandarin. At the end of the courses, all students are expected to be able to enunciate pinyin and Chinese words properly, read basic sentences in Mandarin, engage in simple dialogues and say basic greetings. The 3-hour classes are held on Saturdays and runs for 10 weekends.

One of the major innovations of the program was the publication of the book, Kuàilè Xué Pīnyīn, Qīngsōng Liàn Hànzì (Happy to Learn Pinyin, Easy to Write Chinese Characters) authored by 2 Lasallian faculty members, Mr. Romeo Bautista, Jr. and Ms. Maria Johanna Batolos, together with Chinese teacher-partner Ms. Ye Jian Lan. The book, published by Phoenix Publishing House and completed in August 2007, is a pinyin exercise book for learning pronunciation which also introduces beginning writing of Chinese strokes. The second edition was published in 2014 and was renamed Pīnyīn Yǔ Hànzì (Introduction to Pinyin and Chinese Characters).

In 2010, the Grade School Department invited the CLP to open a Chinese interest club for grades 5-7 students. Called the Hanyu Chinese Culture Club, Friday Activity Period topics include history, geography, music, art and literature, sports, leisure and entertainment topics to further promote, learn from and appreciate the unique Chinese culture.

By 2011, the CLP-LSGH became a partner-school of Hanban/Confucius Institute in Beijing, China through the Confucius Institute-Angeles University Foundation in Angeles City, Pampanga. This allowed for more teacher-training opportunities for both Chinese and Lasallian teachers involved in the program. Interacting with more Chinese teachers was a way of a strengthening the friendship and cultural relationship between the Chinese and the Filipinos with language and culture as their bridge to understanding and cooperation and the key to further promoting strong inter-country relations.

Another highlight for the CLP was the offering of Mandarin classes in first year high school as a semestral elective by schoolyear 2012-2013. An 80-minute session was assigned for each class per week as part of the regular academic periods. Grades were given on a semestral basis. This continued for the ensuing schoolyear, 2013-2014, with the now second year high school students taking the Youth Chinese Test Level 1 (YCT1), the first group in November 2013 and the second last March 2014.

The YCT is the international standardized examination that assesses non-native Chinese speakers’ abilities in using the Chinese language in their daily and academic lives. This test aims to “promote learning through testing” and preparing for this test as a method of learning helps improve Chinese language abilities in a systematic and efficient way.

The examination papers, results and certificates are issued by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters, Beijing, China. Students who pass the YCT may use this as an academic/employment credential. Those interested to take advanced courses would also find the YCT very beneficial. This is the same test taken by all Chinese language students [HSK for adults and professionals] all over the world.

Selected Grade School students from the enrichment class also took and passed the YCT 1.

Following this development, the teaching of Mandarin was then included as an elective for the Grade School beginning with Grade 3 for schoolyear 2014-2015. The teaching of introductory courses in Basic Mandarin in the early grades is believed to have immense gains on students’ linguistic and cultural acquisition and comprehension.

The curriculum is based, with adaptation, from the Special Program in Foreign Language Concept and Performance Matrix of the K-12 Program of the Department of Education. The Program Standard is for the learner to demonstrate an understanding of a foreign language and its culture for basic inter-cultural communication in pursuit of a career or higher education in response to the demands of the 21st century.

Below is the proposed schedule of implementation:

SY 2014-15 (ongoing)

Level 1 Basic/Introductory Mandarin Grade 3 (2 Chinese teachers)
SY 2015-16
Level 1 Basic/Introductory Mandarin Grade 3 (1 Chinese teacher per level)
Level 2 Pre-Intermediate Mandarin Grade 4
SY 2016-17
Level 1 Basic/Introductory Mandarin Grade 3 [1 Chinese teacher per level]
Level 2 Pre-Intermediate Mandarin Grade 4
Level 3 Intermediate Mandarin Grade 5
SY 2017-18
Level 1 Basic/Introductory Mandarin Grade 3 (1 Chinese teacher per level)
Level 2 Pre-Intermediate Mandarin Grade 4
Level 3 Intermediate Mandarin Grade 5
Level 4 Advanced Mandarin Grade 6