PUPILS from Knockahollet Primary School, Ballymoney were given a taste of Chinese language and culture at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast recently.
They were taking part in Schools Think China, an event organised by British Council Northern Ireland and the Confucius Institute at Ulster University, which brought schools from across Northern Ireland together for a series of workshops.
Across the day, they were taught traditional Chinese activities including the lion dance and Chinese calligraphy, as well as having the chance to learn more about Chinese customs and dress. They were also treated to live music performances including the bamboo flute, classical Chinese dance and the dramatic art of bian lian or face-changing, where the performer quick as lightning, changes their masks multiple times.
Speaking at the event, Principal Gerry Black said: “We’re working with a novel in class that has an Asian theme to it so thought this event was an ideal opportunity to just explore that in a hands-on way.
“Events such as this help to expand our children’s experiences; they get a greater appreciation of other cultures in terms of the music, stories, the calligraphy, the communication and sense of values.”
The event was also an opportunity to showcase to teachers the many free resources and opportunities available through the British Council around China – including school partnerships, Chinese Language Assistants, language immersion courses for pupils, competitions and classroom materials.
Speaking at the event, Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland said: “China’s influence on the world economy is increasing and it is important that we continue to prepare our young people for life in a global economy where collaborating internationally is increasingly important.
“Encouraging young people to develop intercultural skills to enable them to work with and connect with people from different countries and cultural backgrounds is vital and today is about beginning to raise that interest and curiosity in China.”
British Council Northern Ireland creates a number of international opportunities around China for Schools. For more information visit http://nireland.britishcouncil.org or follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCouncil_NI