Mandarin pupils explore Chinese culture at the National Museum of Scotland

Higher and Advanced Higher Mandarin pupils had a fantastic time exploring the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and developing their language skills in a real world context at a nearby noodle restaurant.

Mrs Adam, Teacher of Mandarin, shared: “It was an exciting opportunity for pupils to engage with cultural and historical aspects, with a particular emphasis on the Chinese collection in the museum, aligning with their current Mandarin studies. The National Museum of Scotland provides a rich collection reinforcing what our pupils have been learning in the classroom.  

“After the visit to the museum, pupils had lunch in a Chinese restaurant called Noodles Home 我家有面. The staff were all Mandarin speakers and our pupils ordered food and communicated with the staff in Mandarin. They were really impressed and complimented our pupils on their Mandarin skills. Everyone had a great experience, especially being able to use Mandarin in a real life context and further develop their confidence.”

Mr Campbell, Head of Languages, added: “Our daily mission is clear: to inspire students to embrace languages, to connect with new cultures, and to become global citizens who celebrate diversity. By equipping our pupils with essential communication skills, fostering intellectual curiosity, and instilling cultural awareness, we prepare them to thrive in an ever-evolving world where language really is the bridge to understanding and making meaningful connections. Language learning is like learning a musical instrument or playing a sport. It’s all in the muscle memory and practice really does make perfect. Taking advantage of every opportunity to have a go at achieving communication needs to be harnessed if you want to improve your existing skills and take them to the next level. 

“It was so fantastic to see pupils using their Mandarin in real-life situations, communicating with each other, Mrs Adam and the staff in the restaurant. They also really enjoyed their time in the museum exploring the cultural aspects of their studies, where they were able to see the ancient Oracle Bones. The pupils really enjoyed trying to see which Chinese characters they could recognise in these 3000 year old artefacts.”

At Robert Gordon’s, pupils have the opportunity to study a wide range of languages, learning not just vocabulary and grammar but also widening their knowledge of other cultures, traditions and lifestyles. Throughout their language journey, Junior School pupils can experience French, Spanish, German and Mandarin, with this provision continuing into Senior School where Latin and Classical Greek are also on offer. Classical Studies is available to pupils in S6. During S1 and S2, pupils study two languages. In S3, all pupils continue with at least one language to National 5.

The integrated 3-18 approach of language learning at Robert Gordon’s College enables pupils to leave school with a high level of proficiency in their chosen subject and many continue their studies at university as part of a joint degree with another specialist area.