Summer Showcase 2020 Highlights

As we settle into the start of a new academic year, we want to remind you once more of the brilliant work that was submitted as part of our Mandarin Excellence Programme Summer Showcase which ran from April to July.

With summer exams cancelled, students on the Mandarin Excellence Programme were instead invited to produce a creative project in Mandarin to demonstrate their writing and speaking skills. There was flexibility for students to decide which medium they wanted to use and they produced projects in a variety of different forms, for example: colourful posters, neatly written thought pieces, exciting vlogs and slick podcast recordings.

In curating the projects for our website, each member of our UCL IOE Confucius Institute for Schools team picked out a couple of pieces that really caught their eye, and we want to share these in this blogpost. The following submissions were also shared on our Twitter account over the summer holidays.

First up, we want to highlight this piece by Lilianna in Year 8 at Gumley House Convent School. Lilanna’s work became the “poster child” of the Summer Showcase and was the lead photo in our original blogpost about it back in July. We particularly liked the lovely drawings and use of colour.

Next we have a song by Keisha in Year 9 at Queen Mary’s High School. We love that Keisha chose to cover a pop song that went viral on TikTok during lockdown and used her linguistic knowledge to produce a fabulous Mandarin translation.

This poster by Year 10 Beths Grammar student Akin really impressed us. His ability to write about such a pertinent and serious issue in Mandarin shows Akin has a strong grasp of the language, and it reminds us that such important topics relating to BAME communities, and in this case Black communities in particular, can (and absolutely should) be taught across the curriculum in schools.

Nika, in Year 7 at Kingsford Community School, created a wonderful piece about her sporting ventures. Nika’s work is beautifully presented, colourful and neat and the drawings are amazing. She has used a mixture of Pinyin, Mandarin and English in her writing which makes it easy for non-Chinese speakers to follow and it’s great to see how much she clearly loves playing sport.

Here we have a live cookery lesson from Oscar, who is in Year 8 at The Woodroffe School. We really enjoyed watching Oscar making his Sichuan Beef recipe and we could easily follow his clear step-by-step instructions in Mandarin. The end result looks amazing and it definitely left us feeling hungry!

With this piece we really enjoyed the lovely illustration and creative writing, using the “bird’s eye view” to talk about her “owner”. Well done to Farha, who is in Year 7 at Wilmington Grammar School for Girls. 

This song by Thabiso, in Year 9 at Beths Grammar School, is a firm favourite amongst the IOE CI team. We love the creativity that has gone into making the rap song – it sounds fantastic and it’s a real earworm!

Next we have a comic by Phoebie in Year 7 at Brune Park School. This really stood out to us as an excellence piece of work which demonstrates Phoebie’s highly skilled Chinese writing, as well as her artistic talent. The precise and imaginative use of the language creates such a fun and enjoyable story. Well done!

Joshika, in Year 8 at Kingsford Community School, really impressed us with this project. Her fluency and range of vocabulary are both so fantastic that that we originally put her in the wrong category – we didn’t believe this was the work of a Year 8 student and had to check her age with her teacher! It is clear that Joshika has researched, composed, and edited this video to the highest standard. And her Chinese is wonderful: idiomatic turns of phrase, even some cultural critique in there, and an outstanding grasp of the rhythm of spoken Mandarin. Keep studying those Chinese TV shows, Joshika!

It is so obvious when listening that these two students (Harry and Thomas, Year 9 at Queen Mary’s Grammar School) had an absolutely brilliant time recording themselves for this project. They are completely comfortable in the language, and most impressively, they show an obvious familiarity with the natural prosody of spoken Mandarin. Their tones aren’t always perfect, but the shape of their intonation is clearly based on listening very closely, and often, to authentic Chinese speakers. And they are funny! Fantastic work!

What we like about this piece is that it is simple yet highly effective! Aryan, Year 9 at Dartford Grammar School, expresses his views confidently and has amazingly neat character writing.

Tegan, in Year 9 at Finham Park, produced a very on-trend and Gen Z project: a “day in the life” vlog! We really liked the fun, personal, multimedia approach to this project, where she shows us visually how she kept herself entertained throughout lockdown. When students are able to include elements of their real life in academic work this like, it often leads to more enthusiastic engagement with the task in hand – as demonstrated perfectly here.

Here is an example of another comic that we really enjoyed reading, this time from Eloise in Year 7 at Brune Park. We liked the fantastic drawings and how they helped to tell Dexter’s story. It left us curious to know more about Dexter’s life!

The IOE CI team was hugely impressed with the eye-catching design of this poster, created by Luka in Year 10 at Kingsford Community School. It really drew us in and made us interested in what he had written, which, we should add, is also incredibly neat!

As well as sharing student work on Twitter, we have also taken part in an internal Institute of Education staff event to present and promote the MEP Summer Showcase to co-workers. Like us, IOE colleagues were full of praise for the wonderful work that was submitted, and commented on how engaged our students were with learning Mandarin even during lockdown.

To see more MEP Summer Showcase work, please head to the MEP section of our website where you can see the full collection of writing and speaking submissions as well as a highlights page. More information can also be found in our original blogpost about the Summer Showcase from back in July.