A NATIVE Chinese speaker inspired by her son’s experiences in a foreign country is coaching school children for whom English is not their first language.
Celine Whyte, a Chinese teacher originally from Shanghai is helping Chinese Abbotsholme pupils to succeed in their studies by pioneering teaching methods learnt from personal experience.
Mrs Whyte said: “It all started when my son was 13 years old and we moved to Australia from Shanghai.
“He couldn’t understand a word of English so it was very difficult for him at school.
“I helped him translate his homework but it was very hard going for him.
“In Australia he learnt by listening and then speaking, and as I watched him learn, I realised when the brain is ready to speak a new language, then you do after a lot of listening and absorbing language.
“Children are not always good learners, and at Abbotsholme the Chinese pupils were having trouble keeping up with the others, as English is not their first language.
“As my son spent six months at Abbotsholme, I really wanted to help them, it’s a really good school.
“I am now helping the Chinese pupils at Abbotsholme with their lessons and helping them to understand the teaching material as well
“I find that Chinese pupils are quite quiet and reserved with the other pupils in general and I like to encourage them to speak out in class and communicate with the teachers to help them along.
“The main thing for Chinese pupils is that the tenses of the verbs are all different.
“I think children should be encouraged to do things for themselves as well as having help from their parents, as if they are helped too much it can make them lazy.”
A spokesman for Abbotsholme School said: “Additional English support is a great way for pupils to advance their English language skills.
“Our English as an Additional Language department and teaching is an integral part of the education experience we offer overseas pupils at Abbotsholme.
“It provides not only English support, but cultural learning through trips for afternoon tea and historic towns, as well as giving overseas pupils the ability to integrate faster with our local pupils too.
“We are developing this for September 2014 for A-level pupils whose English is not their first language, by having a pre-A-level year where overseas pupils who need the support will be able to access English support for a large part of the week to get this up to speed for when they start A-levels in their second year of their English education experience at Abbotsholme.”