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BRIDGE vignettes


Bulahdelah Central School, NSW

Partner school:
Taishan High School of Shandong
Students at Bulahdelah and Taishan have expanded their knowledge of the history, geography, culture and contemporary society of their partner’s country through online collaboration and a teacher and student visit.

Their partnership Wikispace has been used to share video questions about school life, cultural experience, their local area and culture. The Lead BRIDGE teachers have shared resources (such as realia) for use in their language classrooms.

A 12-day trip to China was organised in 2013 involving nine years 11 and 12 Australian students, during which they made the most of opportunities to use their developing Chinese language skills.

Christian Brothers College, SA

Partner school:
Boshan No.7 Middle School
As a result of this partnership the Australian BRIDGE teacher has been writing new curriculum to be used in history, geography and languages based on resources collected from her China trip. Four Australian teachers with 18 students visited the partner school in April 2014 and were warmly received by the partner. The study tour was a combination of school visits and cultural activities designed to promote the study of Mandarin Chinese and ‘bring the Chinese classroom to life’. The visits to historical sites provided students with exposure to background knowledge and experiences that they would have had little chance of getting otherwise. After the visit, both students and teachers have been in regular contact. The Zibo Education Bureau Director has already visited CBC and Boshan No. 7 is in the process of planning a visit to Australia for some of its staff and students.

Coffs Harbour High School, NSW

Partner school:
The Middle School Attached to Shandong University
The positive impact of BRIDGE at Coffs Harbour HS can be seen by the increase in the number of students choosing to study Chinese. For their 100 mandatory hours of language learning, all Year 8 students study Mandarin. But now, in addition, there are two Year 9 elective groups, a Year 10 elective group and a Year 12 class that is studying the challenging Chinese Continuers course. The school has prioritised the expansion of the Chinese language department.

Recently, the first group of 6 staff and 30 students visited their Chinese partner school. A second visit is planned.

Coffs Harbour HS has been accorded the honour of becoming a Confucius Classroom school.

Doncaster Gardens Primary School, VIC

Partner school:
Beijing Fangcaodi International School
These two schools are in contact on a weekly basis. WeChat, FaceTime and Skype have been popular tools used for communication.

This project has had an impact across the school community. Accompanied by the Principal and three teachers, Australian Year 6 students have attended a summer camp in Beijing organized by the partner school. From 2012-2014, 44 students and 10 teachers participated in this Immersion program. Study of Chinese, history and intercultural understanding are included in this program. One of the positive outcomes is that many students have become keen to take up Chinese language in their secondary studies.

There has been also been an increase of interest in China and Chinese language in the school community and staff. Chinese classes have been offered to parents.

A staff exchange program has run over the past three years with one teacher from each school visiting Fangcaodi for a period of up to a month to build professional and cultural knowledge and skill. There have been 8 Chinese teachers and leaders and 9 Australian Chinese teachers and leaders involved. A visit focusing on intensive professional learning is in the planning stages.

Mount Lawley Senior High School, WA

Partner school:
Beijing Chenjinglun High School
At Mount Lawley Years 8-11 students participate in the BRIDGE project. Weekly QQ sessions, both formally structured and outside hours, provide an excellent opportunity for the Australian students to improve their oral Chinese skills. The students in both schools have learnt a great deal about the nature of each other’s daily lives. Recent discussion topics have been popular songs, artists and movies.

Two recent collaborative tasks for Year 8 students were to: ‘Create a description of school life in Australia/China’; and ‘Create a description of personal life in Australia/China’. Following research, students were required to present their reports, using multimedia and in the target language, to each other via QQ.

North Sydney Demonstration School, NSW

Partner school:
The Primary School attached to Shandong Normal University
Year 1-6 students from the NSDS have been actively involved in the Australia-China BRIDGE Project. Collaborative activities have included regular video-conferencing sessions, exchange of postcards and sharing materials for cultural activities. The Australian and Chinese students have worked together through games and activities designed by their teachers. Year 6 students have shared a unit on dining/cooking, working in groups to make a dish and produce a bi-lingual poster. They were required to record their cooking experience and present their posters in Chinese. The students used on-line tools and parents helped with the task. These activities are recorded on both school websites.

Shandong students have visited North Sydney and the teacher exchange program between the two schools has continued successfully.

Initiatives planned for the future include:
  • use of a series of new apps in the Mandarin program
  • application of game-based teaching and learning methodology
  • setting up a platform to showcase student work across the schools
  • collaboration with other Australian schools through joint projects, postcard or treasure box exchange, and video conferencing communication.

Port Lincoln Primary School, SA

Partner school:
Huantai Experimental Junior School
This partnership has been characterised by frequent contact between partner teachers and students beginning with 129 Pt Lincoln students sending letters to their Chinese counterparts and receiving replies.

A reciprocal visiting program has been established. Recently, eight students and four teachers from the Zibo partner school visited Pt Lincoln PS and its neighbouring schools, Port Lincoln High School and Tumby Bay Area School, for five days. They stayed with Australian families and attended classes. Two Australian teachers have visited China and been hosted by the Chinese partner school. Both schools provided a rich and interactive agenda for the visitors.

The Australian BRIDGE teacher has shared her BRIDGE experience with whole school staff, year level teams and broader community and networks.

St Columba College, SA

Partner school:
Experimental Primary School of Zibo High-Tech District
The two partner BRIDGE teachers are in regular contact. Teachers at St Columba have uploaded Year 5 students' videos on their Wikispace to share with their Chinese partners. The Australian lead teacher and headmaster of the primary school have visited their Chinese partner school to build relationships and discuss how the partnership can be advanced. Participation in the partnership has encouraged activities like mounting a forum entitled ‘Opening the Door to Asia’ in which fifteen Year 9 students took part. The Chinese partner school is planning a staff and student visit to St Columba College.

St Columba's Memorial School, SA

Partner school:
The Middle School Affiliated to Zibo Normal College
While regular contact between BRIDGE teachers is conducted through email and QQ, Wikispaces is used as a wider platform for discussion. The BRIDGE teachers prepare and post topics to initiate discussions. Subjects covered have included: festivals, school concerts, birthday celebrations, school holidays, my dream, weekend activities, and common and unusual foods. Students from both schools have been actively involved and contributed their views. The comments have generally been written in English, but also in Mandarin sometimes. The regularity of the communication has generated considerable interest in each other’s culture. Teachers have noted a growth in students’ understanding of cultural similarities and differences. They have also been able to enhance their intercultural communication skills.

St Joseph's School, Port Lincoln, SA

Partner school:
Huantai Experimental School
At St Joseph’s, students from Foundation, Years 1 and 5 to 8 are participating in the program. The positive outcomes have included an increase in intercultural understanding among both teachers and students, along with a much stronger interest in China and the Chinese language.

Collaborative activities between the two schools have included: Year 6 letter writing about things that are special in Australia and why the Australian students are proud to be Australian and vice versa; Year 9 cooking traditional Chinese and Australia cuisines; and active Wikispace discussion forums for the Year 9 students.

In 2014 10 students and four teachers from the Chinese partner school visited St Joseph’s School. Shortly after, this visit was returned by a teacher and a student from St Joseph’s. Further reciprocal visits by students and staff from both schools are being planned.

St Pauls School, Brisbane, QLD

Partner school:
Dongfang Decai School
This partnership has moved from predominantly asynchronous (via email and wikis) to synchronous (videoconferencing) interaction. Weekly Skype sessions have been used in language classes to support listening and speaking skills. Both schools have shared their expanded learning and collaboration with other colleagues to strengthen the BRIDGE project across the school community.

Year 8 Chinese language students have engaged in hands-on practical activities to learn about Chinese arts, crafts, food and festival celebrations. Years 10 and 11 students have also taken part in activities — as diverse as learning how to order food at a Chinese restaurant to investigating opportunities to study Chinese at university — to enrich their learning experiences.

A recent highlight was the Chinese Language students’ participation in the Sunshine Coast Modern Language Teacher's Association Speech Contest. After the contest, the judges of the Year 7 division congratulated St Paul’s and commented that they were amazed at the high standard the Year 7 students had achieved given that they only began their Chinese language study that year.

A visiting program has been occurring since 2012. Two In-Country Learning programs were held in 2012 and 2014. The most recent had an environmental theme as students investigated Australian and Chinese perspectives of the social use of space – be it traditional or contemporary, green or concrete, living or non-living and real or virtual.

Woodvale Secondary College, WA

Partner school:
Beijing Ritan High School
Students from Years 8, 10 and 12 are involved in the BRIDGE project. Videoconferencing has been used for collaborative learning activities involving three classes (approximately 90 students). Participation in the BRIDGE project has consolidated the teacher’s understanding of Chinese culture, enabling her to make her teaching more vivid and authentic. This has encouraged the Australian students to host Chinese partner students and made them confident about homestays while visiting China. Woodvale will introduce Chinese for all Year 7 and 8 students (150 in 2015) for the first time.

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