FAQ - Lower Primary

Lower Primary - Chinese Studies FAQ

The HKIS Mandarin language program develops students' language skills based on their linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Whether this is their first exposure to Mandarin or it's their native language, our two-track approach caters to all learners. Learn more about our program below.

Placement + Assessment

What is the difference between MSL + MNN?

MSL: Mandarin as a Second Language
MNN: Mandarin for Near-Native Speakers

The MNN program and classes are designed for students who already possess a communicative fluency which enables them to learn other content areas in Chinese.

Are students placed in MSL or MNN classes from Reception 1?

In Reception 1, our setting allows students to learn Chinese with their peers, that is to say, second language learners of Chinese and near-native speakers of Chinese have class together.  We feel strongly that at that age, both types of learners benefit strongly from common Mandarin classroom activities such as stories, singing and games.

Beginning with Reception 2, we offer two separate classes of Chinese: MSL and MNN.  This allows us to build semantic foundation of each learner type by emphasizing oral skills, followed by functional reading and writing skills.

From R2 to Grade 2, MSL + MNN classes are offered as one common level.

Starting from Grade 3 in Upper Primary, two level of classes are offered for each stream; MSL 1-2 and MNN 1-2.

How is a student’s level assessed?

Students’ level is assessed by the teachers’ yearlong observation which ensures milestones are reached, with a strong emphasis on oral skills.

What are the criteria for placement in MNN classes?

When making the decision regarding MSL or MNN classes, our goal is to ensure that the students are placed at a level which is just right for them: challenging enough to enable good and steady progress, while remaining on par with their current level to foster confidence and maintain motivation.

The typical MNN student profiles are students who:

  • Meet the standard on oral communication,
  • Understand functional classroom language,
  • Are ready to expand their ability in reading and writing.

Is it possible for students to move from MSL to MNN?

Yes.  Based on fluency and ability and following teachers' recommendation, it is possible for students to move from MSL to MNN.

How much Chinese language instruction will my child receive per week?

This depends on grade level and class scheduling.  However, the table below roughly shows the instructional minutes per division per week.

 

Who can I contact if I have questions about my child’s Chinese Studies class?

The first person to speak with should be your child’s current Chinese teacher.  Placement is never an exact science and an open discussion about the student’s demonstrated strengths and skills with their teacher should be a first start.

Chinese Studies contacts: click here.

Learning Support

What ways can parents be involved in improving their child’s Chinese language education?

There are many ways you can support your child learning Chinese language, below are a few ideas…

  • Show an interest in your child’s Chinese studies by getting involved!
  • Ask them to teach you or the family a word/phrase at the dinner table.
  • As you walk around town, play games with your child to see how many Chinese words they recognize and might be able to tell you about.
  • Ask your child to write and post the Chinese words for everyday items around the house such as the door, table, computer, etc, and the whole family can practice using these words on a daily basis.
  • Sit with your child as they work through their Chinese homework – shows a genuine interest by asking about what they are doing.
  • Visit cities and places where your child can use a Chinese word, phrase or even read numbers written in Chinese.
  • Go to restaurants, markets, exhibitions and shops.
  • Join HKIS’s free Mandarin lessons for adults in our community, offered twice a year!

Is outside tutoring the only way to maintain and improve my child’s Chinese?

Under no circumstances, no student should be in a position to require additional tutoring to be able to learn Chinese. However, there are students and families who wish to strengthen one or two skill areas by securing structured tutoring. At the end of the day, these choices are personal and should be made based on the family’s values and vision for their child. However, it should never be the case that a tutor is necessary to complete homework.

Are there after school activities I can sign my child up for?

It's important to note that HKIS is not a bilingual nor an immersion school. Our LP program aims to build the foundation of Chinese. We believe that, this age group of students learn through play, through interaction at home, through playing outside of school and also through the family time. We will not structure any after school activity or Mandarin Reading club due to those reasons.

Who can I contact if I have questions about my child’s Chinese Studies class?

The first person to speak with should be your child’s current Chinese teacher.  Placement is never an exact science and an open discussion about the student’s demonstrated strengths and skills with their teacher should be a first start.

Chinese Studies contacts: click here.

Resources

Chinese Studies class websites

Below includes the list of class websites for all Chinese Studies classes – the teachers post resources that are level and age appropriate. We encourage your child to access these resources.

Reception 1 

Reception 2: MSL / MNN

Grade 1: MSL / MNN

Grade 2: MSL / MNN

Chinese books from Library

We offer a wide selection of Chinese books at the Lower Primary library.  Encourage your child to borrow books on their library day or join us on a Family Library day on select Saturdays throughout the year to browse this section and bring home books to read together. 

On the class google sites, Chinese teachers post a lot of digital books, audio books that are interesting and age appropriate.  Links in dropdown below.

Playdates with children from child's MNN class

Ask your child’s homeroom for the names + contact information for the other students in your child’s MNN class.

Chinese Studies Slideshow