Biculturalism at Harrow Shanghai

At Harrow Shanghai, we see the connections between Chinese culture and other cultures. It’s exactly what you would expect from Harrow Shanghai: biculturalism. We’re encouraging the home cultures of our students, rooted in China, using difference to our advantage at the same time as we promote our internationalism. It’s a rich combination!

Simon Probert, the school’s Academic Deputy Head in charge of the curriculum has just completed his presentation at the ‘8th Campus+ China Summit’ on the topic of ‘Education in the Third Space: Putting our International Curriculum in Context’.

“As a long-term expat living in China, with children who are half-Chinese and who see Shanghai and London as their homes, I have become interested both professionally and personally in ways in which school bridges foreign and Chinese culture. Bilingualism has become a key focus within the international schools market in recent years as the demography of schools has changed to be more inclusive of students who are not native speakers of English.”

Simon Probert

We care about languages at Harrow. We know that children need to develop both their Chinese language and their English – and the other languages that mean so much to them as well! This gives them the skills and knowledge to move between the Chinese and the Western world, understanding cultures through language as well as through all the other things that make our world such a fascinating and wonderful place.

The leaders of tomorrow will be able to do this: to be citizens of the world as well as rooted in their own histories and cultures. They will know where they come from; they will know where they are going; and they will know how to bridge gaps they see around them. They will be leaders who will make a difference for all of us.

One of our key strategic aims as a school is to focus on these two areas – through our Harrow curriculum we expect all students to develop a native level of fluency in both English and Mandarin. Using the Destination Reader approach, we develop English reading skills and foster learning behaviours to enhance their understanding with the training of seven skills: predicting, clarifying, asking auestions, summarizing, inferring, evaluating, and making links.

Harrow Shanghai’s Mandarin Curriculum emphasizes the local Mandarin Curriculum, and progresses to IGCSE exams in both first & second languages, with some going on to A-Level Mandarin. Meanwhile, we enhance students’ understanding and learning of multiculturalism through cross disciplinary literacy and rich extra-curricular activities.

Harrow Shanghai also developed our unique ‘Free Thinking Week’ last year, when our children explored their cultural identities.