Language – The key to attaining full potential

Harrow Shanghai is an English-medium school, the one language common to all our students, whatever their age group, and also to the teaching staff. We want all our students to develop in their time at Harrow Shanghai a genuine love of the language, and to appreciate and enjoy the richness and diversity of the English language and its many cultural and social forms, whether drama, poetry, fiction, non-fiction or personal communication. However, we are fully aware that, for some of our students, who are not native speakers, English, be it reading, writing or spoken, is still a challenge. For them, Harrow Shanghai provides a strong English learning support programme, to enable them to reach fluency as quickly as possible and so achieve their academic potential at the school.

At the same time, being in Shanghai, and China, offers an extraordinary opportunity for all our students to further their learning, in a way that will give them a major advantage as we move further into the 21st century. It is a long way from Harrow Shanghai to Harrow in London. They are two very different environments, some six thousand miles apart, but home to two schools, partners in producing the leaders of tomorrow’s world. We at Harrow Shanghai see it as a vital part of our educational mission to exploit being in China in every possible way. This is the reason why we put such an emphasis on our students mastering the intricacies of Mandarin, both for native and second-language speakers. But it goes much further than this and through cultural education, performances and exhibitions, visits to historic sites, work experience programmes, charitable service, just to name a few, we want our students to learn more about our vibrant and fascinating city, and beyond in China as a whole. 

At the heart of this is our Chinese Studies, or Mandarin, department, one of the key resources of the school.  Our teachers are among the best in China, with a particular talent for teaching all levels of language proficiency. The emphasis in our language programmes is on oral communication. However, for all age groups, we underpin this with a solid learning of grammar and vocabulary, and we develop the skills of listening, reading and writing at all stages of the curriculum. This is put into context through a series of exchanges and cultural visits, as well as drama competitions and outings to see films and plays. In this fashion we prepare our students for the challenges of bilingualism, IGCSE and A levels.