MLA Workshop Hits the Right Note

Laughter echoed throughout the room at Pembridge House as the July workshop for Mandarin Language Assistants (MLAs) kicked off last Thursday, just a day before Matariki (Maori New Year). 20 MLAs and several guest presenters came together, all set to bond and engage in a day bursting with inspiration, enthusiasm, and a whole lot of excitement!


The scene was set with welcomes from Xuelin Zhou, Director of the CI in Auckland and Dr. Erik Lithander, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Strategic Engagement of the University of Auckland and Chair of the CI Advisory Board. Dr. Lithander expressed not only his excitement about meeting the MLAs in person but its return after a three-year hiatus and the significance of the MLA programme in supporting Chinese language and culture in schools.  His presence gave him the opportunity to hear first-hand the MLAs’ impressions, their highlights and challenges, of working and living in New Zealand.


Louis Heap, the Principal of Arahoe School, followed to share some behind-the-scenes stories and strategies to help overcome the challenges in schools and the benefits to be gained as a teacher and as an MLA working in New Zealand.


JoJo Hua, the Chinese-language teacher from Carmel College, then stepped in with some useful and fun teaching ideas that the MLAs practiced to experience for themselves. And if that wasn’t enough, JoJo had a special treat in store for everyone—Kung-fu! She invited every attendee to bring out their inner martial talents to take part in her specially-designed Wubu Quan (Five-Steps Fist). The MLAs jumped at the chance, throwing punches and kicks (carefully) like they were auditioning for an action movie. It was a grand sight with the group of 20 in high spirits but in sync, as they went through the movements that they could later share with their students as a cultural activity.  


The afternoon session was safety themed with presentations on insurance and keeping safe in New Zealand.

Ethnic Liaison Officer, Kevin Deng, shared the role of the New Zealand Police, a mix of various statistics, practical tips as well as safety precautions to ensure the MLA’s personal safety.  


The day was a long one but came to an end that left the MLAs buzzing with excitement and ideas that they could take back into the classroom and apply to themselves. Thanks to all those who made it a success.

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