Bolstering independent and flexible thinkers, eager to approach and appreciate life’s novel challenges, unique opportunities, and perspective broadening experiences is the guiding ethos at BASIS Independent Fremont. Ms. Liang, Lower School Mandarin Subject Expert Teacher, is cultivating just that in her students - not only through the exploration of the Mandarin language but also through opportunities to “visit” cultures from around the world. By building up their global mindsets, Ms. Liang successfully whets her students' inquisitive thirst for knowledge, opens hearts to the unfamiliar, and unbinds boundless opportunities.
Celebrating traditions and customs, appreciating colorful art, lively dance and music, and of course, delicious culinary treats are fun and engaging ways to introduce students to Mandarin who potentially have never been exposed to the language before. These students join Ms. Liang in our Non-Heritage Mandarin class, where she guides their introduction into a new world.
“I scaffold my lessons with authentic resources to allow our students to gain an insider’s view of Chinese culture, through experiences such as food, music, and authentic holiday celebrations. Cultural events celebrating different holidays and festivals are beneficial for the students, allowing them to celebrate their own culture and identity, as well as others different from their own. Our celebrations for International Day, Diwali, The Moon Festival, and Lunar New Year are some of our most beloved moments of the year.”
Some parents are initially apprehensive about their Non-Heritage student’s introduction to Mandarin – what if they are overwhelmed or fall behind? These concerns soon fade under Ms. Liang’s skillful immersion techniques.
“Our classes are taught in a fun and interactive way that students can understand. Little by little they come to be able to naturally express themselves in Mandarin in everyday life conversations.”
As their skills progress and they move towards being conversational, our students are able to share in Mandarin with one another their personal experiences, traditions, and backgrounds.
“One of the very best aspects of the Bay Area is that our students have access to plenty of opportunities to learn and experience the diverse cultures from all over the world. Our students come from diverse cultures and linguistic backgrounds. They are always encouraged to share about their own culture, food, and language so that others can learn to respect and appreciate all cultures. We all have learned a lot about Chinese, Indian, Nepalese, Turkish, Egyptian, Greek, Vietnamese cultures, and the list goes on.”
Learning about rich history and traditions from around the world opens the door to a lifelong appreciation for the beautiful differences, and similarities shared, across cultures. No matter how different something or someone may seem at first glance, there is always more that connects us together.
“I remember at the beginning of the school year, some of the students would instantly get this “that’s so weird” look on their faces when they heard about an unusual tradition or food from another culture. Throughout the year, we have discussed the importance of being respectful toward other cultures and how to look at things from different perspectives. I can tell that now when those students hear about something “weird” or different from their own culture, they are curious and would like to learn more. One day a few months ago, we were discussing as a class what we ate the night before, one of my students proudly told us that she went to an Indian restaurant, tried dosa and idli for the first time, and they were delicious. Then the rest of the class, all started cheering for her for trying something new. That was such an amazing and emotional moment for me to see how open-minded and appreciative of other cultures they have become.”
Instilling students with an appreciation for new experiences, languages, and cultures outside their own, fosters the confidence and competency our young learners need to thrive as they progress through life’s adventures and navigate the richly diverse world around them. At BASIS Independent Fremont every lesson, discussion, or celebration is an opportunity to grow, not only in practical skills but also in the lifelong development of a global mindset.
BASIS Independent Fremont is a grades TK-12 private school based in Fremont, California, providing students an internationally benchmarked liberal arts and sciences curriculum. Considering joining the BASIS Independent Fremont community? Join our interest list by clicking here to receive admissions updates for Fall 2022.