Juniors and seniors in our top-level Mandarin class trained their research and artistic skills on some of the most famous pieces of ancient Chinese architecture, building models and giving presentations on their history, structure, and cultural context in comparison to Western architecture.

Cultural exploration and discovery is a common feature of this Mandarin 3-4 class, in addition to language study, with past projects focusing on Chinese education, weddings, families, clothing, painting, transportation, environment concerns, trade policies, and more.

Students composed their architecture projects variously based on their different styles of learning, though they all had to follow project guidelines and present their final products in front of the class.

Upper School Mandarin teacher Dr. Heng Zhao said that such project-based learning gives students the opportunity to lead the learning and discussion in the classroom, allowing them to:

  • take ownership of their learning;
  • learn not just from one teacher, but from a group of people;
  • develop high-order thinking skills and create their own knowledge system; and
  • practice their communication skills to clearly deliver their great ideas to other people.

“As a teacher, I enjoyed their enthusiasm for their research, their rich information, and how the dynamics of the class made the learning so exciting,” said Zhao, who also oversees Global Studies in the Upper School.

“Although I grew up in China, I was delighted to learn something new from the student’s research that I never knew or a new point of view that I had never considered.”