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Oracy eLand portal - learn Chinese online for kids
SINGAPORE: Primary school students in Singapore can look forward to a more interactive experience while learning Chinese online.
Developed for Primary 1 to 3 pupils, a new online tool, called the Chinese Language Oracy eLand portal, uses multimedia content to teach commonly-used vocabulary and sentences.
Educators said this is especially useful for students from English-speaking homes.
Flash animation, videos and audio clips are used to guide students.
The lessons revolve around everyday topics such as "important dates" and "activities".
The aim is to help students improve their oral communication, especially those who come from English-speaking homes.
The portal was piloted in three schools in May this year, and feedback has been positive, with more than 80 per cent of students who enjoy using it.
"I like the eLand portal because it''s fun and interesting," said one student in Mandarin.
"The eLand portal can help me learn Chinese as my Chinese is not good," said another.
Teachers too, have found it easier to hold the attention of their young students.
"They are more responsive. Instead of during normal classroom teaching, some of the kids, when they couldn''t understand my instructions, they tend to drift away and could not concentrate because my talking doesn''t interest or attract them," said Tan Shih Ray, Level Head of Chinese at Temasek Primary School.
The portal also caters to the different needs of students. It allows teachers to customise their lessons according to a student''s proficiency in the language.
For example, a beginner may be given a scene and ask to read along with the sentences provided by the teacher, while an advanced student can create his own story line. The idea is to help students be comfortable using Mandarin in everyday settings.
The portal was launched at a Chinese conference on Thursday by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who stressed the importance of bilingualism.
"English, as the common language of instruction, enables our students to plug into the globalised world, while learning mother tongue languages enables our students to have a sense of identity, and connect to our Asian cultural values and heritage," said Mr Heng.
He also reiterated the government''s stand to help those who face difficulties in learning their mother tongue.
Mr Heng said: "Teaching methods must take into account the different home language backgrounds and language abilities of our students, especially in their foundation years."
The eLand portal which is designed to learn Chinese online for kids, will be rolled out to all schools later this month.