Friday 17th August 2007 by C. Freeman
Brooke Weston has been immersed in Chinese projects, linking up with another school and forging links with teachers during a series of meetings and trips.
Firstly Executive Principal, Mr Peter Simpson and Head of Languages, Mr Robert Nicholls undertook a week-long visit to Xiamen. The visit ended with the official signing of a partnership agreement between Brooke Weston and Haicang School where each pledged to support and liaise with the other. This may include student and teacher exchange trips and working co-operatively over the internet. Mr Simpson and Mr Nicholls saw the diversity of Chinese life from traditional wooden roundhouses for communal living to a Buddhist temple and the impressive 'Number One Middle School' which has 3,000 children selected for their educational prowess.
Both were shown around the city of Xiamen by Mr Martin Wang, Brooke Weston's former Chinese languages assistant who had just returned to China after a ten-month placement at the College.
Before his departure Mr Wang said: 'The Brooke Weston students were very enthusiastic learning Mandarin Chinese. They were anxious to know everything about China so I also talked about Chinese culture. I also showed them how to do calligraphy.'
Mr Wang took some time getting used to typical English cuisine although he went home with a photograph of the restaurant staff at Brooke Weston as a souvenir! Just before he left, Mr Wang presented certificates to some of the students he had taught.
Mr Wang and Students
He said: 'What impressed me most were the numbers of students in every group. Here there's about 25 in a class. In China there's at least 50 students in a class. There are a lot of extra-curricular activities in this College and the residential trips especially impressed me. Students learn, not only through books but also by co-operating with each other and through activities.'
Mr Nicholls said: 'Mr Wang has been a valuable member of the languages staff for the past academic year, and it is increasingly important, with the rise of the Chinese economy, that students in this country are familiar with aspects of Chinese life.'
Mr Simpson said: 'Although the trip was only brief we managed to lay the groundwork for partnership between Brooke Weston and Haicang school which is affiliated to Beijing Normal University. Hopefully exchange visits can be arranged between the schools to further cultural understanding and communication. This is going to be a long term project and one which Brooke Weston will actively encourage.'
Trish Stringer and Chinese Teachers
In a further professional link, Principal, Trish Stringer, also showed a contingent of Chinese teachers around Brooke Weston as part of a fact-finding tour. The four teachers, who teach English to Chinese students at Beijing Changping Vocational School were being hosted by Corby's Lodge Park School but spent a morning being shown around the facilities at Brooke Weston. After seeing students practising Mandarin they presented Miss Stringer with a ceremonial scroll to mark the visit. Finally Brooke Weston students also visited China on a fortnight's visit, spending four days in the capital and the rest of the time in Zhejaing province. They got a chance to visit the Great Wall of China and Shanghai. A total of 15 students from Year 12 and three from year 11 were among a contingent of 150 students from the UK to visit China.