Fairfield College and Hillcrest High School, two high schools in Hamilton, started to co-host the country’s latest Confucius Classroom, also the very first one in the Waikato region. On 22nd September, the new CC was officially launched by Pat English, board member of the CI in Auckland, and principals of the two schools, Richard Crawford and Kevin Whiting.
The histories of Chinese language teaching in both schools are less than ten years. With the visions to educate young generation Kiwis with global awareness for the future, the schools started their Chinese programmes from scratch. Now, the Chinese language has become one of the most popular subjects among the students. Led by two dedicated teachers, Christina Howard-Shi and Bei Wang, both schools are providing NCEA Chinese from Year 7 to 13, and various extra-curriculum activities, like study tours, competitions, cultural groups, sister-school exchanges. The Confucius Institute also provides supports for schools to help the schools to develop a sustainable language programme, with resources, PD workshops, Mandarin Language Assistants, China study camps, etc.
With the launch of the Confucius Classroom, the schools will become school-based hubs for Chinese teaching and learning beyond their own communities. We have the confidence to expect a growth of interest in Chinese learning in Hamilton and the Waikato region, especially in the fast-changing post-COVID world. The CC launch is also a part of the celebrations of the New Zealand Chinese Language Week.