“Wo Hui” (我会) means “I can” in Mandarin Chinese.
“To learn a language, especially a ‘distant language,’ is not just to acquire a tool but to learn about ‘the other’ … Little by little, learners’ identities are changed and enriched.”
— Joel Marc Bellassen (白乐桑)
Building Bridges To The World
The community began in a group of English-medium schools in Asia with 10000 students learning Chinese and arguably the largest faculty of teachers of Mandarin as Foreign Language of any single organisation in the world. Working together as a family of schools putting students first, the community set out with a pioneering spirit to ensure that the experience of learning Mandarin Chinese would be consistently outstanding.
Wo Hui Mandarin
Led by co-founders Tim F Nash (师中平) and 杜宏霞 (Annabel Parker), the community called on the expertise of Professor Joel Marc Bellassen (白乐桑), Professor 张新生 (George Zhang) and Professor Katherine Carruthers OBE (杜可歆) to help them to:
Articulate a pedagogy specifically for Mandarin as a foreign language
Map out a comprehensive curriculum for navigating the “real” world in ChineseMap out a comprehensive curriculum for navigating the “real” world in Chinese
Create the resources needed to deliver it
As the community addressed various conceptual, technological and logistical challenges along the way, “我会” (Wo Hui = I can!) became the mantra that kept them going. It also summed up their vision for learners and teachers of Mandarin Chinese around the world. The name “Wo Hui Mandarin” was born.
After four years, Professor Hu Wenhua from Fudan University in Shanghai reviewed what they had produced and told a conference of teachers of Chinese in international schools:
“Encourages students to become strong independent learners. Teachers can work more effectively in the classroom, giving them a sense of achievement from fruitful teaching.”
— Professor Hu Wenhua of Fudan University
In 2018, the group set Wo Hui Mandarin up as an independent company registered in Singapore so that it could grow the community beyond its own schools and continue to innovate to meet the needs of learners and teachers of Mandarin Chinese in other contexts around the world.