Can media change how we learn?

Many of our Chinese teachers share the same childhood memory from their school days: Every morning, they would sit in the classroom together and recite ancient Chinese poetry with or without understanding the meaning. This poetry enriched their childhood, but as children, they didn’t have the knowledge and skills to understand the aesthetic context.
Those beautiful ancient Chinese poems were passed on in the oral tradition over generations, then they were written in scrolls, then printed on paper, then published in books, and now they are shared and accessible to the whole world on the internet. But after surviving four massive media revolutions that have ushered in this modern Information Age, can technology really impact how we learn and understand Chinese literature, especially ancient Chinese poetry? We decided to further explore this topic with our Lower Secondary students, getting some of their feedback. 
Our Year 7 CFL students started their new adventure of studying “Ancient Chinese poetry” with Ms. Ni and Ms. Chen in August. This week, we interviewed the teachers and several Y7 students. Here is some of what they learned “in their own words.” 

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Reading the Classics in Chinese


On Monday’s assembly, Anna Chen from Y9 amazed all the attendees with her original song written after she read “Journey to the West《西游记》”.

Starting from February, our Year 9 CFL took the challenge of reading the original edition of “Journey to the West”《西游记》 during their leisure time, and they were encouraged to create their own products with reflections on this book.

Here are the reflections from some of them:

Being a risk-taker, this was my first time to compose a song by myself, lyrics and music. The lyrics talk about the change of Sun Wu Kong after eighty-one adventurous experiences. I thought a lot about the theme of risk-taking and adventure, title and lyrics, because there were so many things I could write about. When we were studying the novel “Journey to the west”, we learned writing techniques and the importance of cooperation. We also did a lot of analysis work for characteristics of the characters. I think this project has cultivated our creativity, imagination and thinking skills.

—Anna Chen

We had made cookies for the creative project of Journey to the West. We’ve included some of the features of Journey to the West by using food coloring to make the icing and drawing it onto the cookies. We’ve included characters and key words to make our cookies approach the topic. The process was really tough, for example, riding 6 km to buy food coloring, and while making them we found that there weren’t enough cookies so we had to bake a second batch. Together we spent four hours completing it, however, as a result, it worked really well.

—Nikita & Catherine

Journey to the West is a famous Chinese novel, and what I did was rewrite my own theme song, and filming myself acting out the main plot of the story. There was a short drama before the song, and I played the role of all the characters. I learned this technique from a YouTuber. The filming consisted of the four main characters from the novel, and the main theme that I rewrote was based on the theme song for the old TV show that was made based on the novel.

— Kevin Du

Recently in Chinese class, we read a novel called The Journey to the West. I chose to rearrange the theme song, Yun Gong Xun Yin. The beginning of the rearrangement is calm, and brings us to the start of the journey. Then, it alters into a different style with a strong sense of rhythm. While rearranging the song, I extended a main element of the story—the perseverance of the team and the spirit of not giving up.


During Chinese class, we read a famous Chinese book called “Journey to the West”. For this project, I made The Monkey King’s clothes. I learned how hard it can be to make a set of clothes and The Monkey King’s characteristics, so I can bring it out into the set of clothes. I really enjoyed this project, because you could be really creative with it and there are no limits. It was something I have never done before, which was really exciting to do. I will love to do a similar project again.

—Mary Liu

In Chinese class, we read the book “Journey to the West”. It was a great book and we learned a lot from it. For the project, I made a trailer. I did some research about the episodes that were made in the past years and found pictures, clips to fit into the trailer. From the process of making the trailer, I learned more information and background of the book. I learned that it takes collaboration and working together to lead to success.

— Ann Huang

For this project about the traditional classic “Journey To The West”, we were required to recreate the book and its contents in any form. I chose to compose another version of the movie’s theme song, 雲宮迅音. This composition relates to the book because it’s the song that introduces the opening scene of the movie. In the process of composing my piece, I also learned a lot about music composition software (in my case, Musescore), because I don’t normally create compositions. I could test around different features in the software and this made me a more knowledgeable learner.

— Hayley Chu

In the end, the students all wrote poems to celebrate completing the reading of the entire book:

Our Year 9 CFL students wish more students will join them and make good use of their time, reading more Chinese literary classics outside of the classroom.

The painting above is made by LEE Wan yu (Minna).


Year 9 Chinese Studies Gets Animated

Year 9 students are learning all about “Chinese Animation Movies” and their history in our Chinese Studies classes, including traditional Chinese art skills which are applied in modern animated films. Today, they went to Shanghai Movie Museum to explore this in greater depth.

During this trip, the students watched a movie talking about the history of Chinese animation, played with the interactive installations, and attended a workshop led by Chinese famous artist, Ms. Xia Jing. After listening to Ms. Xia’s introduction of Chinese ink painting techniques, the students created their own art work with brush and ink. The quality, skill and sensitivity of their works were commended by the artist.

With newly found enthusiasm for this medium after today’s visit to the museum, we are excited about next week’s Chinese Studies classes and anticipate some ‘animated’ discussions about the future of animation in China from our brilliant Year 9 students.

中国研习十月课程一览 Chinese Studies – October, 2016

  • Year 7: Suzhou Garden  (collaborate with DT Department)
  • 七年级:与DT学科合作,完成了《苏州园林》的主题学习
  • Year9: East meets West (collaborate with English Department)
  • 九年级:与英语学科合作,完成了《东西相遇》的主题学习










中国研习二月课程一览 Chinese Studies-February

We’ve learnt some interesting topics in this month. Let’s enjoy it!:)

Y7: Chinese traditional games  (collaborate with PE Department)

Y7 students have designed their own games

Y8: Chinese luna calendar (collaborate with math Department)

Y8 students have designed their own calendars for the Monkey year

Y9: Seal Carving (collaborate with DT Department)

Y9 students have designed some wonderful seal carvings

七年级1 七年级2


八年级1 八年级2 八年级3 八年级4IMG_3461_meitu_1IMG_3461_meitu_2IMG_3461_meitu_3IMG_3461_meitu_4

中国研习十一月课程一览 Chinese Studies-November

We’ve learnt some interesting topics in this month. Let’s enjoy it!:)

Y7: Window Design – Suzhou Garden (collaborate with DT Department)

Chinese Characters – Poetic Symbols (collaborate with English Department)

Y8: Chinese chess (collaborate with PE Department)

Y9: Riddles (collaborate with English Department)

Y9 students have designed some Chinese riddles and some students from other year level tried to guess the riddles



Activities in CAL classes- October to November, 2015

CAL-L2 are making posters about classifying objects they may find at a supermarket.


A CAL-L7 student is making a presentation about urbanization in Shanghai.


CAL-L2 students are having a field trip to a local market.

CAL-L2 field trip to the local market

CAL-L1 students are doing a survey about how to go to school.

CAL-L1 课堂调查-我坐什么车上学

An IGCSE CAL-L1 Year 10 student is reading characters.

IGCSE CAL-L1 认读字卡 Oliver BYRNE

IGCSE CAL-L1 students are doing a matching game.

IGCSE CAL-L1 Match Game

CAL-L5 students are role playing their text.



中国研习十月课程一览 Chinese Studies – October



  • 七年级:与DT学科合作,完成了《苏州园林》的主题学习
  • 八年级:与人文学科合作,完成了《龙凤呈祥》的主题学习
  • 九年级:与英语学科合作,完成了《谜语》及《东西相遇》的主题学习


Year 7 Su Zhou Garden Year 8 Dragon and Phoenix Year 9 East Meets West