China, a country with more than five thousand years’ history, has become one of the most economically developed countries in the world. Its rich history and fast economic growth have attracted millions of people to visit the country and establish strong business links with Chinese companies.

The Chinese language is one of the most ancient languages in the world and has been spoken, consistently, for thousands of years. Mandarin (官话; pinyin: Guānhuà; literally: "speech of officials") is the most commonly used dialect of the Chinese language.

The most famous Chinese philosopher, Confucius (孔子, 551–479 BC), was a pioneer of education. His teaching and learning philosophies of differentiation (因材施教, i.e. a tailored-teaching approach to meet individual abilities and needs) and critical thinking (学而不思则罔,思而不学 i.e. “To learn without thinking is labour lost, whilst thinking without learning is lazy”) were used centuries before our modern pedagogical perspectives. What we think of, now, as relatively new ideas in teaching were actually first invented in Ancient China! 

At Brentwood, we not only foster a positive learning attitude towards Chinese language learning but also inspire the students to develop their own creative learning approaches to their studies of the language and culture. We offer IB Chinese Ab Initio course to Sixth Form students with little or no prior experience of the language. It is a challenging course and seeks to develop intercultural understanding. It also encourages a respect for other people and the way they lead their lives. Within the course framework of three themes (Individual and Society, Leisure and Work, and Urban and Rural Environment) we cover around 20 topics, the students investigate and reflect upon cultural values and behaviour through the study of authentic texts. 

During their studies, students are given opportunities to visit Chinatown (Central London) and Beijing, the heart of China, in order to further develop their language skills and enrich their cultural learning experience. 

孔子 《论语》
To merely know is nothing compared to being interested in knowing; being interested in knowing is nothing compared to deriving joy from learning it.

Confucius (551-479 BC), Chinese philosopher, educator and politician