Leadership for a better world

Languages Department

At the heart of the school’s vision of effective leadership is the ability to communicate and at Harrow International School Hong Kong we love languages. Our mission is to develop excellent linguists and confident communicators who are passionate about learning languages. Our students learn to express themselves effectively both orally and in writing and reach their potential in the target language. They cultivate the necessary skills to grow as linguists and have an excellent understanding and appreciation of the language, culture and customs of the countries whose language is being studied.

We offer three languages; Chinese (Mandarin), French and Spanish and all three are offered to complete beginners, but Chinese is also offered as a programme of study for those whose first language is Chinese.

Curriculum Information

Pre-Prep (Years 1-5)
All three languages are offered in Pre-Prep and our students either follow a four hour programme in Chinese, or study Chinese and French or Spanish for two hours per language. Students develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills and a variety of methods are used to suit all learners, with a focus on developing confidence in communicating in the chosen language(s).

Prep School (Years 6-8)
All students study Chinese for four hours and either French or Spanish for three hours in the Prep School. All levels of proficiency are catered for in Chinese and those studying French or Spanish either study the language from scratch or build on their prior learning. The focus is again on developing understanding of the language in all four skills and the study of literature is introduced for Chinese first language students.

Senior School (Years 9-11)
Students continue to develop their linguistic skills in Year 9 then choose at the end of the year whether they wish to continue to study IGCSE Chinese, French and/or Spanish in Years 10 and 11. Chinese students can take the IGCSE foreign language examination in Year 10 if they are ready and then study the AS course in Year 11. The most proficient first language Chinese students are also offered the opportunity to take the first language Chinese IGCSE examination in Year 11. The IGCSE and AS courses aim to develop further our students’ linguistic competence by means of a range of interesting and relevant themes. We ensure that our students are ready for the demands of the A Level courses should they wish to study languages in the Sixth Form.

Sixth Form (Years 12-13)
All three languages are offered in the Sixth Form and at both AS and A2 levels. Students who have achieved outstanding grades at IGCSE level are encouraged to continue their language studies. In Chinese it is expected that students will be at near-native fluency prior to beginning the course. Again the focus is to develop linguistic competence to a very high standard in the chosen language(s).
Outside the classroom

The study of language and culture lends itself well to all kinds of inspiring extra curricular study. What languages department would be complete without trips abroad to the countries and regions whose languages are being studied and there have recently been visits to Beijing, Taiwan and Spain and a trip to France and Switzerland will run this academic year. There are weekly language clinics for those who wish to deepen or consolidate their knowledge and understanding of the languages we offer and a whole variety of additional activities from the Chinese festival celebrations, food tasting and participation in a variety of competitions. Chinese calligraphy and painting are also offered as part of an exciting range activities such as participation in the Hong Kong Spanish Speech and Language festival and the World Chinese Essay Writing Competition. 

Head of Department: Mr G. Simms