Beliefs and Values
Children learn everything, everyday. Can’t stop them.
Children need to enjoy what they learn. They also need to enjoy the learning process.
Unless we truly understand how children can enjoy learning Chinese, we won’t really know how to teach it. Because, hot-housing hasn’t worked with my kids. And aimless playgroups, though fun, have their limitations.
A child learns best when he likes his teacher, environment and the things he is being taught. Children like the thrill of discovery. At the same time, they need to understand how some things tick. Blanket recitation of nursery rhymes isn’t enough.
At Little Mandarins, we take ‘enjoyment’ seriously. Underpinning all our thinking and planning of courses are three simple facts:
Our class sizes are always small. Because large classes are run at the expense of children’s learning opportunity. Small classes allow teacher and student to bond. It lets her modulate her pace in step with the child’s learning temperament. It allows her the freedom to stretch, slow down or revise with a child as needed. How do you do that in a class of 18, all needing quality attention? At Little Mandarins, we sacrifice profitable large class sizes in favour of small intimate ones, just so that we can ensure that what is taught is successfully learned.
Our materials are always engaging. Because you simply cannot bore a child into learning. Unless our students are intellectually and emotionally engaged in class, young minds will wander and attention will find other targets. The cumulative effects of learning would not be achieved, producing at best mimicry by rote, even disinterest or outright rejection. At Little Mandarins, our mission is to win over every student. We do it with artistry and charm.
Our programmes are always purposeful. Because structure and purpose provide focus. Every child who sign up to a Little Mandarins programme sign up to a set of learning goals which we nurture them towards throughout the term. These may be expressed as the number of spoken Mandarin words to be acquired, level of comprehension and their ability to form meaningful sentences with them. Or it may simply be to build vocabulary and confidence in spoken Mandarin. Whichever the case, our learning goals are defined in bite-size chunks so they are achievable. Early achievements help build confidence and fuel ambition to out-perform each time. That’s why we always celebrate achievements at Little Mandarins.
We do not believe in exam pressure, but we do believe in testing. We test throughout the lessons by coming at subjects from different and interesting angles. Testing allows us to check that learning has been successfully embedded.