Mandarin has been an important part of the curriculum ever since Dulwich College International opened its first school in Shanghai in 2003, and we are proud of our track record - over 90% of our students have achieved top scores in IB Mandarin.

Mandarin instruction at international schools presents unique challenges. Our students come to us with all levels of ability and widely varying expectations of where their studies will take them. Beginners who try to progress equally at all aspects of the language will spend an inordinate amount of time on writing and reading at the expense of listening and speaking – and can end up bored or frustrated as a result.  

Developed and led by our Director of Mandarin, Annabel Parker, our Mandarin curriculum is streamed not only to challenge and develop students at all levels from beginner to heritage, but also to ensure that reading and writing, while progressing properly, do not inhibit speaking and listening. Beginners who can go out on the street and use their language skills will remain motivated and interested. Our objective is to ensure children have practical language usage and are stretched to their potential. There are three streams: 

CNL – Chinese as a Native Language
MSL – Mandarin as a Second Language 
MFL – Mandarin as a Foreign Language

All our Mandarin teachers participate in a biannual DCI Mandarin Conference, and have been involved in developing our pioneering Mandarin curriculum. Through training and professional learning programmes, we ensure our Mandarin teaching is consistent and high quality.  

Dual Language Learning in DUCKS in China and Singapore

In our DUCKS schools in China and Singapore, Dual Language learning is a fundamental part of our student development. Developed through in-depth academic research by our Deputy Director of Schools for Early Years, Kate Beith, the programme exposes young learners to English and Mandarin in context rather than just in a formal setting. By providing an environment rich in learning opportunities, with one teacher focusing on English and a second on Mandarin, students gain the confidence to use language with meaning rather than just through imitation.