How to boost your school's Chinese profile in the community - UK Dartford Grammar School’s 2nd China Night

What was the event? Dartford Grammar School’s second annual China Night was a China themed evening in which students were given the opportunity to demonstrate their learning of Chinese language and culture to their parents, guardians and members of the local community. It was also a celebration of Dartford Grammar School’s new status as a Confucius classroom. All pupils of Mandarin at DGS were invited to attend and perform, culminating in over one hundred pupils (from years seven to thirteen) performing and over two hundred guests in attendance.

The Programme: Included special guest speaker James Trapp who is a China expert at The British Museum and who talked about the relevance of historical Chinese creations in contemporary China. The packed lecture theatre was silent as pupils and guests were entertained by Mr. Trapp and his insightful observations of the symbolism of historical artefacts and their influence on contemporary design in modern China. In addition, there were two musical performances. The first, a solo by a year twelve student of a classic Chinese pop song from the 1970’s. In contrast, the second musical performance was by the school’s African drumming group who applied their African drumming expertise to a very modern Chinese song by Jay Chou, which was featured in the film ‘Fearless’. The musical pieces were accompanied by various drama performances and a presentation on the geography of China by year seven pupils who had recently been studying China in their Geography lessons. One drama performance by year eight pupils involved a restaurant scene in which the waiters at the restaurant continually got the drinks orders wrong and concluded comically with the customers having to swap tables to find the correct drinks. A further performance involved a weather forecast CCTV9-style, where the anchor in the studio was communicating with colleagues in different parts of China who were giving live broadcasts about the weather in those places.

Involving the audience: Prior to the interval, year twelve pupils taught the audience how they should order their Chinese drinks and snacks during the break. The audience responded positively and confidently strode to the bar to place their orders in Chinese of drinks and food that most attendees had never seen before. The evening concluded with a group drama performance by year eight pupils about a boy who occasionally feels like a small, small bird. The pupils were finally joined by year seven pupils to sing the song “我是一只小鸟 (wo shi yi zhi xiao niao – I am a small, small bird)”.

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