Kids Living Here Living In Hong Kong

The challenges of learning Chinese

Feeling intimidated by Chinese language learning? Don’t be! Some Hong Kong schools offer a whole raft of support measures for students (and parents!). We take a look at one of them.

The importance of exposing children to language learning at a young age is well documented. And that means little learners are particularly well placed to tackle what many adults consider to be the most daunting language of all: Chinese! Children, especially young children, are sponges, and many of Hong Kong’s expat kids love learning Chinese.

Supporting parents

While the kids are having a ball with their language learning, we know that it can be overwhelming for non-Chinese speaking parents – especially when there are no native speakers at home. So, how are parents supported by the city’s international schools? We caught up with FLORA HUI, Head of Chinese at The American School Hong Kong (ASHK), to find out how her team helps parents just like you.

American School in Hong Kong - Chinese program

#1 Warm Welcome:

New non-native students receive a “Welcome to Chinese” package that includes video lessons and online resources prepared by teachers.

#2 Personalised Pace:

From the very beginning, ASHK learners are placed into an appropriate class for their Chinese understanding. This ensures all students are learning at the right pace. The different pathways offered by the school include Advanced Level, Higher Level, Standard Level and Foundation Level; these can be adjusted during the year to match individual student needs.

#3 Loads of Support:

ASHK parents are never alone; the school offers after school classes to support students who are new to Chinese. This includes a speaking class for students whose first language is not Mandarin. Other after-school classes and activities are also offered at different times throughout the year, including Chinese dance, martial arts, instruments, and arts and crafts.

#4 Cultural Celebrations:

ll the important Chinese festivals, like the Mid-Autumn Festival and Chinese New Year, are celebrated by the entire school community – and that includes mums and dads! There are also field trips where students get to experience elements of Chinese culture in the community, and which parents are welcome to join.

#5 Chinese Realm:

Each teacher has their own Chinese classroom at ASHK. This allows students to learn the language and culture in a Chinese style environment.

American School in Hong Kong

A final word

“A successful Chinese learning journey starts with an interest in the language, so help your child to look forward to walking into their Chinese classroom!” – Ms Flora Hui

The American School Hong Kong is at 6 Ma Chung Road in Tai Po in the New Territories.
3919 4111 | ashk.edu.hk

This article first appeared in the June 2020 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.