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Languages - Chinese

Mandarin Chinese is offered from years
7 to 12 and is a mandatory subject for all year 7 and 8 students. Many students continue their language studies as an elective subject in years 9 and 10 and a large proportion of these continue on to complete senior Chinese in years 11 and 12.

Award winning program

For many years the school has been recognised for the quality of its Mandarin Chinese program. In 2009 the school was awarded an Asia Education Foundation (AEF) grant to support the school in implementing the Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia cross-curriculum priority of the Australian Curriculum. In 2010 the school was nominated as an Asian Learning Centre (ALC) by Education Queensland. In 2012 the school was offered the title of 'Asia Access School' resulting from our performance attainments associated with the Asia Education Foundation which is based at the Melbourne University and sponsored by the Federal Government. The school was a 2013 Regional Finalist in Education Queensland’s Showcase Awards for Excellence in Schools in the Innovation category.

Pioneering approach 

Students at The Gap are the first at any high school in Australia to benefit from a revolutionary new approach to teaching a foreign language called TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling). This approach is based on the work of renowned language acquisition expert Stephen Krashen whose Comprehensible Input (CI) hypothesis is at the cutting edge of current language acquisition theory.

TPRS focuses on language acquisition rather than language learning. In practice, this means that emphasis in the initial stage of mastering Chinese is on input rather than output. Students focus on developing their listening and reading skills, mimicking the way they learnt their first language. When they are ready, they naturally start to speak and write, all without the need to memorise vocabulary lists or grammar rules. Teachers aim for about 90% of the spoken language in each lesson to be in Chinese, all of this being totally comprehensible to each student. Key indicators for the success of this approach has been accelerated student understanding and higher skill levels and, importantly, increased student enjoyment and engagement in classes.

Annual China Study Tour

Students consolidate their classroom understandings at the end of year 11 during the annual China Study Tour. For many students the highlight of their school years, the China Study Tour offers the opportunity to have a tangible China experience. The trip is an extraordinary educational opportunity as it develops an otherwise impossible-to-achieve understanding of the country and people of China. Students spend two weeks during their summer holidays visiting several different locations and putting into practice the language skills they have been developing in their Chinese classes.    

Opportunities for further study

Many former students have continued on to pursue advanced studies of Chinese at university and every year several graduates travel to China in their gap year to work and continue their language studies. The school is developing relationships with institutions in China and Taiwan where further study and scholarship options are being developed.