Discovery College aims to provide a Mandarin language programme that will allow students to achieve a standard of proficiency over their time at school that corresponds with their ability and commitment. It is important to understand that while we are committed to providing a comprehensive Mandarin programme, our language of instruction is English. We do not provide an immersion programme in which some subjects are taught in Mandarin, neither are we a bilingual school.

Our curriculum design is based on the ESF Chinese curriculum, and the PYP Language scope and sequence. Developing vocabulary, character knowledge and sentence patterns are an important element of each lesson. These are always related to the topic we are currently focusing on, with opportunities for students to practise new words or phrases in conversations at their level throughout the lesson. Wherever possible, we aim to integrate our lessons with each year level unit of inquiry to ensure learning is transdisciplinary.

What is the Mandarin pathway system?

The Mandarin Pathway system is common to all ESF schools, including Discovery College. The range of Mandarin ability is broad, as some students enter the school with no experience of the language, while for others it is their mother tongue and they are proficient at speaking and listening when they enter school. Students are assessed either at the end of the previous year, or in some cases, at the beginning of the year, to determine the most suitable pathway. Ongoing assessments throughout the year will also determine whether a child may need to shift Pathways. If this is the case, we will notify parents of the changes.

At Discovery College we have three pathways that are decided upon using the following criteria: 

Pathway 3
Students who have demonstrated a level of proficiency (oral and written) through formal and informal assessments

Pathway 2
Students who have demonstrated a developing understanding (oral and written) through formal and informal assessments

Pathway 1
Students who have demonstrated a beginning understanding (oral and written) through formal and informal assessment

However, we are gradually moving to a 2 pathway system, with the following two Chinese classes currently being offered in Year 1:

Native/Near-native Class

Native/Near-native Class is prepared for students who learn Chinese at native or near-native level. Learners usually speak Chinese at home and they are familiar with a wide range of forms of language discourse in varied situations. 

Non-native Class

Non-native Class is prepared for those who add Chinese as an additional language to their existing language profile. Learners usually have limited exposure to Chinese at home to support the language development. Learners are able to use basic vocabulary and grammatical structure in familiar situations, and engage in learning activities involving receptive and expressive language appropriate to their age level.