Veronica de Jong, languages coordinator at the NSW school, says the Confucius Classrooms program, run by the Confucius Institute, a public organisation affiliated with the Chinese government, will help connect Rosebank students to the world of tertiary education and languages study. 

“Our connection is with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Confucius Institute”. 

“They’re able to support us with teaching resources and with Chinese assistants,” de Jong shares. 

Having native speakers work with students in their classes will be an invaluable asset, she adds.

“It’s very beneficial obviously to our students to have an assistant in the classroom, this is particularly useful when you’ve got senior students.” 

“You could have that assistant working individually with the students, developing their speaking skills or working on any particular area that they are struggling with when the teacher is otherwise occupied with the rest of the class.”

Before they can enter Australian classrooms, the Chinese teaching assistants have to go through a rigorous process involving interviews and training.

De Jong says the assistant at Rosebank is “terrific”. 

“She is able to attend all our different classes and assist students individually or in smaller groups, she’s able to assist in creating resources, in looking at student’s work during class.”

The tertiary-level Confucius Institute partnerships are designed to give extra support to language teachers. 

“Within many schools, you may have four different languages being offered, each of those languages has only one teacher teaching it,” de Jong says. 

“Whereas if you’ve got the support of something like the Confucius Institute and the Confucius Classroom, then you can create so much more and make [learning] so much more engaging and diverse.”