Language centre seeks to empower and enrich students culturally
To the head honchos of Han Language Centre (HLC), Chinese is not becoming more difficult for our children to learn. It is our attitudes towards the language that are changing, which makes it appear challenging.
Ms Ooi Ching Ya, the principal of Han Culture & Education Group (HCEG) - of which HLC is a core business brand - told The New Paper: "The students themselves have said that by the time they reach Secondary 4 and are done with the exams, they think they will have nothing to do with the subject any more.
"Students tend to take Chinese for granted... Their attitude is that it is no longer relevant or relatable in their lives aside from academics."
This ends up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy cycle, according to Ms Ooi. As students speak less Mandarin, their confidence in the language drops, and they are further discouraged from speaking it.
Mr Lim Wei Yang, chief executive officer of HCEG, added: "Students might find it hugely challenging to learn Mandarin nowadays because of the setting we are in, where English is the official working language."
He added: "HLC complements the changing education system. In fact, we take it a step further by empowering and enriching our students culturally so they can relate to it and remember what is taught."
Along with Chinese tuition and enrichment programmes for children aged four to 16, HLC - established in 1993 and now has 11 branches - also offers immersive courses such as creative writing and drama.
Beyond these, it organises cultural and experiential activities, such as Chinese New Year craft work and workplace tours to widen students' horizons.
Even for its PSLE programme, each lesson begins with "cultural dim sum" and ends with "cultural dessert" - a moniker for the practice of engaging students at the beginning and end of each session, with a story, video or conversation that extends beyond what is taught in the curriculum.
From now until Thursday, HLC is offering a free trial class, complimentary consultation and $38 off the first term for new sign-ups. There will be additional discounts if the sign-up exceeds one term.