Royal Grammar School


Chinese Exchange!

Chinese Exchange!

This week we hosted 16 Chinese students and their teacher from our partner school in China – Tangshan No.1 High School.  In October we took some of our students to their school so it was our turn to host this week.  

They arrived in Newcastle on Monday, straight from Beijing.  They spent their first morning with our Y5 students who learned how to write their names in Chinese and had a chance to discuss the similarities and differences of life in the UK and China.  The 6.40am start to the school day in Tangshan and the 9.40pm finish caused a degree of consternation amongst those that struggle with our 8.45 start!

An afternoon walk round Newcastle with Dr Goulding and an evening shopping trip to the Metrocentre gave them the opportunity to break into the £50 notes that they’d got cluttering up their purses and wallets.

Wednesday was a trip to Beamish museum where they got the chance to experience North Eastern Edwardian life, although they did find some of the Geordie accents hard to understand.  However, it was the evening spent with host families that was the real highlight.

Our students spent a day with Chinese host families in October and the students were really keen to return that hospitality this week.  The excitement was palpable, on both sides.  The feedback the following day was fantastic with everyone having had a superb time experiencing a little bit of one another’s culture.

Thursday and Friday mornings were spent in lessons with their partners - a chance to really experience UK education and to draw out the contrasts between teaching styles in China and here.  There’s quite a difference, the most noticeable being the number of students in the room – in Tangshan it’s 60.  But also the style of teaching (more discursive and less instructional) and the more relaxed relationship between students and teachers.  They were also struck by the excellent behaviour of our students, despite the more informal approach.

Later in the week, they  went to Woodhorn Colliery Museum for a tour which highlighted the common heritage of both our cities, built as they were on the back of coal, heavy engineering and steam.

They left us for York, Sheffield, Cambridge and London before they head back to China for the Spring Festival.  We wish them bon voyage and the best of luck for their New Year.