This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more details about cookies and how to manage them see our Privacy Policy.


Apr 17 2020


Dennis Wang

Beijing City International School's (BCIS) Chinese language program builds practical skills and instills a passion for language learning. Secondary School Chinese team leader and teacher Fiona Chen extolls the value of reading in language learning and created a series of practical projects for students to complete during this period of online learning. In her Grade 7 class, students have been working collaboratively in small groups completing bibliographies, intensive reading comprehension and creative writing tasks. Throughout February, student groups were tasked with reading one of the following novels: Four Springs, Our Story: A Memoir of Life and Love in China, The Lessons of Story, Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover, and Journey to the West. In March, groups took turns to host online discussion sessions on the themes and topics covered in the books, whilst at the same time, working on their own creative writing projects.

Last week, each group delivered an online presentation to the rest of the class delving into the background of their group's novel, contextualizing the book within the author's life and giving in-depth explanations of the novel's key themes, characters and their own emotional reaction to the story. Some groups used in-picture video to combine their video feed with the PPT display to create a real sense of face-to-face communication; others prompted discussion with a few "audience questions" to engage their classmates and test their listening skills.

Specialist teaching, after-class reading, group discussions, report presentations, and individual creative projects are the framework for Ms Fiona Chen's approach to encourage reading in language learning, at this time the only difference being the medium of delivery from in-classroom to online. Yet, this change of environment cannot shake the respect and curiosity of BCIS teachers and students for knowledge.