Pupils impress Chinese delegation with their Mandarin skills

Pupils from Danestone Primary School showed off their language skills to a delegation from Wuhan University in China, along with representatives from Aberdeen University’s Confucius Institute, today (Tuesday October).

The delegation was in Aberdeen on a visit aimed at strengthening ties between the two universities. Danestone Primary School and Oldmachar Academy, along with Forehill, Glashieburn, Greenbrae and Middleton Park schools form the only associated school group in the country offering a non-European language as part of the curriculum between Primary 1 and Secondary 6.

The delegation went on to Oldmachar Academy where they met the Lord Provost and pupils and staff including Head Teacher, Judith Mohamed.

Also witnessing the Danestone youngsters’ language skills at first hand was Councillor Angela Taylor, Education and Children’s Services committee convener, who said: “I’m delighted to see Aberdeen University’s Confucius Institute working so closely with Danestone Primary School and Oldmachar Academy in teaching pupils Mandarin. Being able to communicate in language spoken by 16% of the world’s population will open up new horizons for our children.

“I’m proud that our schools are leading the way in Scotland as being the first to offer a non-European language as part of the curriculum from Primary 1 upwards. And having partner schools in Wuhan will also help pupils here appreciate and understand their culture.”

“I’m sure our visitors from Aberdeen and Wuhan Universities will have been impressed with what they’ve seen today.”

George Roberts, Head Teacher at Danestone Primary School, said: “Learning Mandarin is much more than just learning a foreign language. Being able to talk two or more languages will increase your overall attainment. Being better able to learn across all subjects was a major influence in investing the time and effort to introduce Mandarin into our curriculum.

“The partnership with the University of Aberdeen Confucius Institute has been invaluable. They have helped us secure individual partner schools in the city of Wuhan and provide each of our schools with a native Mandarin speaking volunteer who work with us for a whole year and support our Mandarin teaching.”

Dr Will Tuladhar-Douglas, Director of The Confucius Institute said “We are very proud of the extraordinary collaboration we have with Aberdeen City, Wuhan University, CISS, and the schools in the Oldmachar cluster. Together we have built the only language teaching programme in Scotland that actually delivers Mandarin from the moment a child enters school.

“This partnership is the cornerstone of a wide-ranging and rapidly growing partnership between the education sectors in Aberdeen and Wuhan: it begins with primary school and continues right through postgraduate research and professorships. We are honoured to have Vice Principal LI Fei here today to see the amazing work we are doing together and to work with us on building further research and teaching collaborations”.