Yew Chung International School of Hong Kong’s distinctive immersive Mandarin and English language curriculum could provide your child with the winning formula for a successful career in tomorrow’s global economy. Ahead of their Secondary Information Sessions on February 9 and Primary Information Session on March 16, we learn more about the YCIS education philosophy from Dr Troy Lui, Head of the school’s Chinese Curriculum & Research Division.
Mandarin for the Next Generation
Yew Chung International School provides international, bilingual education to expatriate and local children aged from just six months – all the way to 18 years of age. Dr Troy Lui, head of Yew Chung International School Chinese Curriculum and Research Division (CCRD), the team responsible for the school’s innovative curriculum, explains, “YCIS prides itself on its distinctive education programme where children are completely immersed in Eastern and Western cultures, simultaneously acquiring a high level of proficiency in both English and Chinese.
“Some may ask if Mandarin acquisition is really worthwhile or should Yew Chung International School consider adopting other languages’, Dr Lui adds, “But with a quarter of the world’s population speaking Mandarin, and with China emerging as a major superpower, this clearly leads Mandarin to be a powerful tool of communication for a young adult entering this global economy.”
YCIS prides itself on its distinctive education programme where children are completely immersed in Eastern and Western cultures, simultaneously acquiring a high level of proficiency in both English and Chinese.
The Benefits of Early Learning for Language
As a ‘through-train’ school, the YCIS CCRD team of academics have been able to develop an immersive teaching path that supports students from their first day at school until their last, with impressive results in both IGCSE and the IB Diploma.
Although it is still possible to learn a second language later on in life, there are significant benefits to learning a second language while young and Yew Chung International School (YCIS) has developed its curriculum to take full advantage of this.
Research has shown that the brain is more receptive to linguistic development before teen years and children who learn a language earlier are more likely to be able to achieve native-like pronunciation. Plus, students who start learning second languages during their elementary years are often able to pick up other languages with greater ease and speak with greater fluency than those who started studying after high school.
In addition, early learning of languages is shown to increase mental flexibility, improve divergent thinking, and some studies show, contribute to higher scores on measures of verbal ability in the one’s native language. As anyone who has learned another language will be aware, it also enhances a student’s understanding of the structure and patterns of English.
YCIS’s Distinctive Learning Environment
Regardless of the student’s native language, or fluency in the second language, each student is matched with a correlating curriculum that has been developed by the CCRD. “We have a different programme for first language students, and for those with Chinese as an additional language. This means the materials will be different, and the pace and the timing of certain aspects will differ. Our schools can cater for any level as the structure is so well researched and implemented,” says Dr Lui
In order to maintain an education programme in a bilingual and multicultural environment, Dr Lui says the school tends to ease away from traditional teaching methods, “Essentially we aim for a change of mind-set from formal teaching practices to new methods to match our environment. I always say that curriculum development never ceases, it is ever evolving with the changing times.”
The school uses a co-cultural and co-teaching model where two fully qualified co-teachers, one Western and one Chinese, serve as teaching partners in each of the school’s Early Childhood and Primary classrooms, and share all responsibilities over the care and international education of students in their class. They plan and work together to provide students with a variety of learning experiences, help students develop English and Chinese communication skills, and role-model appreciation and respect for diversity.
Mandarin – a Tool of Communication and Study
This co-cultural and co-teaching model adds strength to the academic programme, ensuring equity in status between the two world languages and cultures throughout the school, and reinforces students’ social and cultural competence.
“Our students may speak Cantonese at a colloquial level, but we seek Mandarin to become a tool of communication and study. Our students can go to study at universities in Hong Kong or China, reaching a high level,” says Dr Lui. But key to this language and cultural ‘fluency’ is the exposure to an international schooling environment. “This makes YCIS very different to a local school,” he adds.
YCIS also offers the China Classroom Programme to its Lower Secondary Students. Year 7 students get the opportunity to experience life in Huang Shan, Year 8 students travel to Shanxi, and Year 9 students go to Beijing and Taipei. “Our China Classroom Programme helps build-in knowledge and awareness, it triggers one to think about global issues in Chinese, the history, reflect, and build-up a sense of belonging and a sense of situation in Hong Kong,” explains Dr Lui.
Where Can I Learn More About YCIS?
YCIS are holding a Secondary Information Sessions and Primary Information Session where you will hear from their co-principals and other school leaders to gain a better understanding of the YCIS curriculum, background, and educational philosophy.Subscribe to receive our weekly newsletter