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Lianhua Mother Tongue Department aims to cultivate confident and effective communicators in using MTL so that the students can connect with wider communities across Asia and the world. We also aim to cultivate appreciation of our different cultures to strengthen our multicultural identity and prepare them to be a lifelong learner.
To ignite the passion in learning Mother Tongue Language and appreciation of the culture, we engage students through interesting stories from the syllabus, picture books and various programs. We develop their language skills and 21st century skills by providing different platforms for them to showcase.
Conversational Chinese and Malay (CCM) Programme
The aims of Conversational CL/ML programme are two-fold: to strengthen Singapore’s multiracial compact and to enable Singaporeans to have some grounding of functional CL/ML so that they could more easily pick up the language should they need it for economic or other reasons in adult life.
When Lianhua was first introduced to CCM in 2006, we engage vendors to conduct the programme. A few years ago, we decided to infuse CCM into various celebrations or commemorations so that students can apply their learning in an authentic setting.
For instance during Racial Harmony Day, we have different learning packages for different levels to engage them in learning the vocabulary using CL/ML. Then they will put these vocabularies into sentence structures given to form a paragraph. They will present to the class during CCE lessons.
In Singapore, a festive celebration means more than just a public holiday, it also means that people from different races are able to witness the celebrating community’s rites and rituals, and join in the celebration.
In Lianhua, we celebrated the Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa and Deepavali every year. Students of different ethnic groups will participate in the pre-celebration activities like designing wishing cards, experiencing cultural activities during recess and learning how to wish their teachers, peers or canteen vendors using the language of the ethnic group who are celebrating the festival.
On the actual day, students get to view the concert that brings out the traditions and customs of the festivals.
Mother Tongue Fortnight
The start of Term 2 is an exciting one, with Mother Tongue Fortnight activities engaging our students in their respective Mother Tongue Languages, and kindling their love for it.
In a speech by Mr Lee Kuan Yew on 6 Sep 2011, he highlighted the importance of Mother Tongues, stating "We kept our original languages by our policy of bilingualism, allowing opportunities for people to study their respective mother tongues. This built a sense of belonging to their original roots and increased their self-confidence and self-respect."
It is indeed essential for us to use our own MT language well, and stay rooted in our own culture, while embracing Singapore as a multicultural and multilingual society.
The Mother Tongue Fortnight, an MOE initiative since 2011, serves as an apt reminder, that on top of daily Mother Tongue Language lessons, there is so much more we can do with the language that speaks of our identity.
Like previous years, Mother Tongue Fortnight continues to have a wide range of activities in place for respective levels. Some activities include:
All Levels: Creative Writing Competition / Penmanship Competition / Reading with Parents / Language & Cultural Games/ Meet the author session and many others.
P1 & P2: Poem Recitation & Singing
P3 & P4: Little Tour Guide of Singapore
P5 & P6: Advertisement
In order to arouse students’ interest in creating stories and also to enhance their writing skills, we provide platforms like showcasing their work through termly exhibition or publication.
Every year, we will encourage students to create stories that based on their interest or the happenings that they observed. Every student will get a copy of the publication and teachers will read with them during reading period.
Students feel proud when their stories that are selected in the publications. It helps to build their confidence and also a form of encouragement to continue creating interesting stories.
Reading can positively affect our lives. For instance, reading can strengthen our brains, build our vocabularies, help prevent age-related cognitive decline and many others. Hence, in Lianhua, we customized our reading programme to cater to our students’ needs.
We believed that in order to arouse students’ interests in reading, we must first cultivate their habits in reading. Therefore, we will fix a day for reading every week. We either read to them or read with them in the class. We encourage them to read by setting up reading corner in the class so that the books are easy accessible. In order to enhance their ability in appreciation quality books, we arranged for ‘Meet the author’ sessions during Mother Tongue Fiesta.
We also create platforms for the students to showcase their views and thoughts after reading, like sharing books at the Imaginarium at the Canteen, create 4-page little book and many others. Some of the students also participated in the picture book creation competitions.
We also involved parents in our reading programme. They are a good support to us because they help to enhance reading skills for young readers after school in smaller groups.
The MTL Young Journalist Programme
The MTL Young Journalist Programme was introduced in 2014, with the focus of providing authentic experiences for students to learn and to use Chinese Language. Since then, Young Journalists have embarked on an exciting journey of interviewing, news reporting and in-house publishing. These skills are aligned to our school’s Vision: Minds of Inquiry, Joy in Learning and Confidence in Life.
In 2017, Lianhua published the newsletter "心联心" which aimed to connect Lianhuareans through the writings of our Young Journalists. This year, we are pleased to launch "Lianhua Pulse", an MTL newsletter.
In 2018, two of our Young Journalists, Chong Xuan Yu and Wang Xinyue, from 6 Diligence 2019, participated in the “2nd Bilingual Education Summit” organized by SPH, sharing their journey as young journalist in Lianhua with teachers from other schools and also the guest-of-honor, Mr Chee Hong Tat, then Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Other than in-house publishing and news reporting, our Young Journalists embarked on an exciting journey of Broadcasting.
In 2021, MTL Young Journalist Programme has stepped up by introducing the Lianhua FM, "Connecting you and me".
This year, we are pleased to launch Lianhua FM, where Young Journalists get the opportunity to do live broadcasting in their Mother Tongue Language during Recess. During HBL, we leveraged on SLS platform to bring Lianhua FM closer to them at home. Through their voices, we aim to connect with all Lianhuareans and ignite the passion of Journalism and Broadcasting in our students.