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Non-Chinese speaker in Chinese schools

  1. #1
    svasbt's Avatar
    svasbt is offline Registered User
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    Non-Chinese speaker in Chinese schools

    Hi there!
    Are there any non-Chinese speakers out there that have kids in Chinese schools? We will be in HKG for quite some time so I'm really keen on sending my boy to a local school. I know an American couple (whose kid is in First grade in a Chinese school) who is very pleased about the whole thing. But I often get disencouraged from friends saying that the kids would have problems with the language and we parents won't be able to help with homework. Any thoughts on this subject please?
    Thanks so much.

  2. #2
    maya is offline Registered User
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    Hi, My children are mixed and they spoke English only before 3 yrs old. I sent them to a local kindergarten, HK baptist University kindergarten in Kowloon Tong. They learn Cantonese in 3-4 months. Now my 5.5 years old boy starts recognising the characters and writing too. I know there are 2-3 students are non chinese speakers. the school usually gives a lot of help to those non chinese speaking parents as well.

    there are a few primary schools that you can consider.
    Kiangsu &chekiang Primary school (international Section)
    http://kcis.kcs.edu.hk/home.htm

    Yew Chung International School
    http://www.ycef.com/

    Po Leung Kuk Choi Kai Yau School (in Sham Shui Po)
    http://www2.hkedcity.net/sch_files/a...b/public_html/
    their parents site
    http://cky.eduhk.net/~cky/pn714/html...display&pid=12

    Logos Academy (in TKO)
    http://www.logosacademy.org.hk/

    these school are bilingual. Real bilingual. children are able to speak both language well, not like the other local schools. the first two i mentioned here have lots of experience with Western and mixed parents and i'm sure they will assist those non chinese speaking parents.

    The last two are quite new schools. 99.5 % are locals. PLK Choi uses English for most lessons , since children are locals they speak cantonese between them outside classes. They have Chinese lessons (in mandarin ) this school still has more chinese lessons than most international schools. All these schools are not those stiff ones that your child have to memorize the whole book for three exams a year and dictation 3 times a week plus mountains of homework plus heavy school bag. No, none of these. they don;t use govt curriculum so they can follow the children's development better than the subsudy ones.

    When the school is dealing your children chinese language, then you just need to concentrate on the English side more. one parent (adult) one language so they don't speak half half of everything. when adding a new language to them it does slow down the other one a bit (this happens when they learn both at young age) As long as you are aware of that and help them by reading lots of books to them to balance out . chinese is quite complicated to learn as you may know spoken Cantonese is different from written Chinese. so you will be dealing three languages here. Stick with Mandarin is a lot easier for english speakers.

  3. #3
    kaz
    kaz is offline Registered User
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    That is great that you are thinking about putting your kid in a local school-the most important thing
    is to do it early as possible because the best way that children learn a language is through play. When you say a local school-you mean Cantonese? If you are only sending them for a few years-I have heard Ling Nan is very activity orientated and in Cantonese. We have a child in the Mandarin stream of a local school and are very happy with it. However they will need lots of help with nightly homework from age 4 onwards.There is no getting around it-I think they need language support at home-or with a tutor. Generally,kids need to recognise and write 20 characters by 4-5years-you can learn with them.It is not hard till they are 5 and then it snowballs.I have seen several non-Chinese speakers withdraw or change streams as they weren't able to pick up the Chinese without any English on the side. It depends if you are looking at it long term or just to expand their horizons. It also depends on your child and if they are outgoing and if they are interested, then give it a try but keep other options open.

  4. #4
    loupou is offline Baby Guru
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    Our experience

    We are a mixed family (DH is Chinese) and we have been sending our eldest to a local school. She is now in P2.

    We are planning to switch her to an English medium school (ESF) next September.

    We are glad that we tried it, and it has been excellent for her Cantonese speaking.

    However, most local schools expect that the parents will seriously supervise the homework until the children are in P3 or more. Some parents get around this by sending the kids to a homework center (Bo Jaap Jung Sum).

    So, we have really begun to dislike that our main interaction w/ our girl during the week is "have you done your homework?" "have you prepared your school bag?" "you mean you misplaced your reading log AGAIN?".

    The other thing is that it is sometimes hard for me (whose Chinese reading is only at about P2 level myself) to help my daughter with her maths homework and her science (Daily knowledge) homework. Because... it's hard to recognize the words for "hydrometer" and "humidity" in Chinese.

    If my DH were a stay-at-home-dad who could supervise her homework more, or if our girl was of a more serious and scholarly bent (at the age of 7....) then we might stick it out. But, our dissatisfactions are growing.

    Also, be aware that some schools are hard to get into.

    My kids were both wait-listed at Yau Choi & never got in. My son was rejected outright by Logos.

  5. #5
    Gabriel ma is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by maya View Post
    Hi, My children are mixed and they spoke English only before 3 yrs old. I sent them to a local kindergarten, HK baptist University kindergarten in Kowloon Tong. They learn Cantonese in 3-4 months. Now my 5.5 years old boy starts recognising the characters and writing too. I know there are 2-3 students are non chinese speakers. the school usually gives a lot of help to those non chinese speaking parents as well.

    there are a few primary schools that you can consider.
    Kiangsu &chekiang Primary school (international Section)
    http://kcis.kcs.edu.hk/home.htm

    Yew Chung International School
    http://www.ycef.com/

    Po Leung Kuk Choi Kai Yau School (in Sham Shui Po)
    http://www2.hkedcity.net/sch_files/a...b/public_html/
    their parents site
    http://cky.eduhk.net/~cky/pn714/html...display&pid=12

    Logos Academy (in TKO)
    http://www.logosacademy.org.hk/

    these school are bilingual. Real bilingual. children are able to speak both language well, not like the other local schools. the first two i mentioned here have lots of experience with Western and mixed parents and i'm sure they will assist those non chinese speaking parents.

    The last two are quite new schools. 99.5 % are locals. PLK Choi uses English for most lessons , since children are locals they speak cantonese between them outside classes. They have Chinese lessons (in mandarin ) this school still has more chinese lessons than most international schools. All these schools are not those stiff ones that your child have to memorize the whole book for three exams a year and dictation 3 times a week plus mountains of homework plus heavy school bag. No, none of these. they don;t use govt curriculum so they can follow the children's development better than the subsudy ones.

    When the school is dealing your children chinese language, then you just need to concentrate on the English side more. one parent (adult) one language so they don't speak half half of everything. when adding a new language to them it does slow down the other one a bit (this happens when they learn both at young age) As long as you are aware of that and help them by reading lots of books to them to balance out . chinese is quite complicated to learn as you may know spoken Cantonese is different from written Chinese. so you will be dealing three languages here. Stick with Mandarin is a lot easier for english speakers.

    The annual school fee of Yew Chung (Intl school) is over HKD 120,000.
    And PLK CKY (local school with English + Mardarin as teaching medium) is around HKD 46,000. Primary school from Y1-5. Secondary school from Y6-10. Y11-12 is IB.
    Not sure if the CKY students can be enrolled into local universities?

  6. #6
    bekyboo44 is offline Registered User
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    Kiangsu Chekiang Primary School International School teaches in English and follows the British curriculum.
    They have Mandarin lessons every day.
    School fees start at almost HK$7,000 a month for half day kindergarten.

    Kiangsu Chekiang Main Section teaches only in Mandarin and follows a local curriculum.
    They have English lessons as part of the curriculum.
    School fees are less than half the international school fees.

  7. #7
    kashismum is offline Registered User
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    svasbt,
    Your original question has generated some confused responses.
    When you ask about 'Chinese schools', you're opening a can of worms.
    If you are new to Hong Kong, you may want to learn about the system here. All schools are technically Chinese since they are in China!
    We have local government schools, quasi-government:DSS, grant-aided, ESF and private, including international schools.
    If you are asking about medium of instruction, that's another matter.
    To end, we are a non-Chinese family sending our daughter to a bilingual kindergarten. She is learning Mandarin just fine and we are very happy with it.

  8. #8
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    I would love learn Chinese. Superficially, the local schools seem to offer this. The reason we chose to send our daughters to an international school is the method of teaching in local schools - large class sizes, emphasis on homework, rote learning and exams from a young age. Also, my husband asked the very important question "when is she going to learn English?". Having an excellent command of the English language is important to us.

    We have been very happy with our choice of school.

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