Teaching Chinese Through Cultural Activities: Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

Author : San Dian Shui   Date of publication :10/15/2018 6:06:26 AM

Once before,

when my kid was at home, I insisted on speaking Chinese with her.


But after she went to school less than a month,

She did not speak Chinese anymore, but only French.

I talked to her in Chinese and she replied in French.

At that time, I comforted myself "Don't be over reacted." 


Then one day, my daughter told me,

"Mom, please speak French with me, not in Chinese.

And you should not speak Chinese anymore. ”


what should I do?

Let’s listen to some stories about how mom finally pushed changes.



Before our house moving in 2014, I lived in the 11th district of Paris. I was very fortunate to have many Chinese families and Sino-French families in our district where mothers often organized activities and children played together. At that time, although the children were still young, they actually  immersed in various Chinese elements in that district. Later, I gave birth to my second child then moved to the suburbs of Paris. Although the place is spacious and the environment is very quiet, but it is longer a place which enriched with Chinese elements and contacts. I often took my children to the playground, trying to find "Chinese playmates" there, after all, nothing turned out like I wished. 



The fact there is no more Chinese language environment for my kids in our residence town upset me.  I discovered my child is the only Chinese in her class at kindergarten. After less than one month of going to kindergarten, my daugher does not speak Chinese at all! This time I was totally in a panic! I saw that she started to have a resistance to Chinese language and the emotion of resistence became stronger and stronger. I'm afraid that If my child does not have a cultural heritage from her mother side  and does not agree with her own Chinese identity, then I will become "minority".

The more I think, the more anxious I become. What should I do? What can I do to change this situation?



One speech given by my kid's teacher at the parent meeting opened my eyes to a new appraoch. The teacher encourages parents help schools to organize extracurricular activities, such like going to libraries, cinemas etc. . Considering that there are many “foreign mothers” in the school, parents are also welcome to introduce their home country culture to the children. The teacher also gave an example in her previous class. There was a Lebanese mother who only spoke Arabic and English while arrived at France.  The Lebanese mother was encouraged to make a presentation about her country by wearing traditional costumes, showing pictures of her country as well as sharing traditional local foods. All children in the class showed strong interests in the beautiful trandiitonal Lebanese customs, and were fascinated by her introduction of her own culture and food. Foreign language is no more barriers for mutual understanding. At the end, children even learned several Lebanese words! The story of this Lebanese mother gave me great encouragement and inspiration. I believe that as long as I work hard, I can do a workshop about China too. 


After parent meeting, I immedaitely went to the teached and applied for sharing Chinese culture. That was almost a chinese traditional festival time, I  chose it as the theme of my presentation---Mid-Autumn Festival. I seemingly got back those days of taking college entrance exam in China--- checking information, writing project plan, preparing working sheets, and practicing my speech again and again.  Belive or not,  the event was a great success! While looking at children's serious and attentive look, my long-term nervousness and anxiety was evetually gone away, moreover, I refound a sense of ease that I seemingly lost for a long time. Well, I was moved by the my own courage and mobility of engaging in kids' school activities. Most importantly, the miracle happened that night! My daughter approached to me, starting to talk with me in Chinese after she came back from school, and she asked me to read her a Chinese story book!  since then I obviously feel that she is confident when she speaks Chinese, and even more confident than before. Above all, I am so happy to see that she is happy while speaking Chinese!

I would be more than happy to share my stories and insights that I have obtained in past years here, helping those parents who have the silimar problems of mulitlingual education. 

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