TGS students are preparing for our third international stop in year one: Beijing. Teacher Sherry Zhang is instructing students in Mandarin language classes in order to help them communicate and interact with people they meet this spring. Common phrases and greetings as well as the nuances of proper pronunciation are practiced regularly in class.
Additionally, Sherry integrates elements of Chinese culture into her coursework to help students get a better sense of their third home this school year. And to top it off, students have regular Skype sessions with the students of our Beijing host school to practice their skills.
One of the important elements of Sherry’s coursework is not only to learn how to pronounce the words and read “pinyin” (Mandarin words spelled out in western characters for learning purposes) – students are also learning to recognize, read, and write Chinese characters.
TGS students use variety of tools to hone their skills in this area. Traditional paper, ink, and brushes are a great way to learn brushstrokes and other subtleties of the characters; students do use these materials on occasion. But in a modern twist, students also turn to their iPads to practice their writing, and to turn in assignments.
Required apps for the class include:
The iPhone 4 also features built in character recognition software that allows you to draw Chinese characters with your finger.
All of these tools allow students to practice their writing, reading and pronunciation skills on the go without lugging dictionaries, brushes and notepads along; world travelers pack light, after all!