Jiayan spreads the word
PUBLISHED: 11:44 29 March 2007 | UPDATED: 15:03 12 May 2010
A YOUNGSTER has swapped her desk for the front of the class, and is teaching her school friends Mandarin. Thirteen-year-old Jiayan Liu, who attends Greneway School in Royston, is running lunchtime sessions in which she teaches pupils Mandarin and Chinese
A YOUNGSTER has swapped her desk for the front of the class, and is teaching her school friends Mandarin.
Thirteen-year-old Jiayan Liu, who attends Greneway School in Royston, is running lunchtime sessions in which she teaches pupils Mandarin and Chinese culture.
Jiayan who joined the school last year, decided to set up the classes so that others can learn about her history and the country of her birth.
She said: "I think it is really important that children learn about cultures and find out things they never knew. China is a beautiful country, with so much going on."
Jiayan has been teaching her friends Chinese greetings, numbers and games, as well as reading them Chinese stories.
Jiayan explained: "I think they like what I have been teaching. I really enjoy the classes and I would like to be a teacher when I'm older - I would love to teach art.
"I do miss China a lot, especially the art and culture. I used to love visiting Tianjin, where the art work is lovely.
"It is all very colourful and it represents a lot of different emotions without using any words."
Jiayan said she also missed the Mandarin language, but added it might not be too long before her friends were speaking it.
She said: "At the moment I would give them eight out of 10. I have been impressed, and with a few more lessons I think they will be even better. They will be speaking in Mandarin in no time."
Year 6 pupil Megan Digby, one of more than 15 members of the group, described the classes as "enjoyable with lots to learn".
She added: "It's been really good finding out about Chinese culture and it's fun learning a new language - I would really like to visit China."
Jiayan is assisted by librarian Sandra Ready, who said the classes were a "vital opportunity".
She added: "What Jiayan is doing is fantastic. She is giving the children an insight into another culture."
- Mandarin is spoken by more than a billion people - approximately double the amount who speak English
- It is the official language of China, as well as one of the six official languages of the United Nations
- Mandarin is written with thousands of distinctive characters, which bear no relation to the sound of a word
- The number of strokes required to draw a Chinese character can be as high as 33
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