Mandarin and cultural learning receives a boost in North Queensland

24 February 2020

After a number of years of close collaboration on Chinese language and cultural learning, Trinity Bay State High School in Cairns together with the Confucius Institute at The University of Queensland (UQ CI) officially opened a Confucius Classroom.

In connecting with the region’s strong Indigenous heritage, the opening ceremony on February 12 featured a Welcome to Country ceremony and a traditional Torres Strait Islander performance from performing group Gerib Sik. A local lion dance troupe also performed a traditional Chinese lion dance.

Trinity Bay State High School Confucius Classroom will become a hub for Chinese language teaching in the area. The classroom will incorporate technology to enhance language learning, and strengthen relationships within the school, with the local Chinese community, Chinese visitors to the region, in-country Chinese people and, in particular, sister schools in China.

This is the fourth such classroom to open in Queensland in partnership with UQ CI to promote language and cultural learning through the classroom concept. Trinity Bay State High School has demonstrated its strong Chinese language program, its commitment to further development, and is also a hub of expertise and resources for Chinese language education in the community.

The Director of UQ CI, Professor Ping Chen, said the Institute tried its best to meet requests from the community for assistance with Chinese language education, and had developed strong links with schools. This gives a wider range of students the opportunity to engage with not only the language, but also Chinese culture.

“Confucius Classrooms will no doubt contribute to the understanding of Chinese language and culture among high school students, and importantly offer additional higher learning and career pathways beyond graduation," he said.

 “The Australia–China relationship is very strong in areas including trade, culture and education, and developing cross-cultural skills will help our next generation continue to benefit from this relationship,” Professor Chen added.

The Deputy Principal of Trinity Bay State High School, Bruce Paris, said the school had worked closely with UQ CI since 2015.

“A Confucius Classroom at Trinity Bay State High School will enhance Chinese language learning, as well as bring about an increased understanding of Chinese culture,” he said.

In developing a Confucius Classroom network, UQ CI has been pleased to have partnered with a range of schools, administrators and teachers dedicated to developing Mandarin and cultural learning opportunities in their communities, and looks forward to further collaborations.