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For four days last November, CIS was delighted to host renowned language expert and director of foreign languages at Melbourne University, Dr Wang, for an in-depth evaluation of our Chinese-English bilingual programme. Since its launch in August 2014, enrolments in our programme have grown by more than 50%. We now have over 30 bilingual classes from junior kindergarten to grade 6, and opened an additional grade one class this month to meet the growing demand.

Dr Wang’s evaluation of the programme follows earlier reviews carried out by other leading language experts. Each year, we invite an expert to come and critically evaluate how effective they believe our programme is in meeting its objective (to educate students in becoming fluent communicators in both Chinese and English), together with providing a set of useful recommendations on what we can do to improve the programme even further.

Four major commendations

Dr Wang’s findings were extremely encouraging. “The overall level of attainment and student learning experience is among the highest of similar programmes in the Asia-Pacific Region,” he said. This conclusion was based on an aggregate of language competency by students in each language, rather than a comparison in either language alone.

Other major commendations by Dr Wang included our innovative and highly workable teaching model. In comparison to other programmes, he believed our model to be more challenging and rewarding. “The equal time split by daily swap is one of the most effective models of bilingual programmes,” he said.

Our Chinese teachers were also commended for developing a well established curriculum and their courageous and successful effort in delivering the IB PYP Units of Inquiry. “Dedication and hard work characterise the Chinese team,” said Dr Wang. “Teachers have almost made it a norm of practice to put in extra work when preparing lessons, developing resources, marking student work, giving individual care and searching for more effective methods.”

Dr Wang’s final key commendation was the happy and rewarding learning experience we offer our students. He believed this to be one of the most outstanding features of the programme. “Students work in a comfortable yet challenging environment where confidence, delight and harmony ensure a clear sense of success.”

Recommendations

In addition to his positive feedback, Dr Wang also provided us with several valuable recommendations on how we can take the programme to even greater heights. His recommendations included providing a rigorous programme for students to continue their Chinese learning at a high level once they’ve completed the programme and enter Secondary School, together with continued professional development opportunities for our teachers.

Our senior leadership team, in collaboration with the programme’s faculty, are now carefully reviewing these suggestions and hope to share their plans with you in the coming months. Making sure we continue to provide your children with one of the best Chinese-English bilingual programmes in the region, remains a key priority of ours. Stay tuned for more exciting updates over the next months!

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