Content and Language Integrated Learning method (CLIL)

This is a really exciting and fun language learning method that we adapt to use in Mandarin Pie activities especially to make the classes fun.

Language is a means of communication and where is the joy of learning if we don’t get to reap the benefits of communicating with each other in Mandarin?

In Mandarin Pie, we incorporate different types of activities in the lesson especially art craft and science experiments that children find interesting. This is all conducted fully in Mandarin.

During the lesson, children’s brains are actively trying to understand what is being done, by observing teacher and others, and to do it themselves. This is an active process of learning where the brain figures out the answer using the clues from the activities, and then associates it with the Chinese words that teacher is saying.


In this method, some students will understand more, and some less, depending on their level of Mandarin comprehension. They need to be comfortable to not know certain things, but the more exposure they have to the Chinese language, the more they will “get it”. Students and parents will just need to have the patience to see it through. The activity has to be interesting enough to get students motivated to participate even though it is in a foreign language.

Many children have this innate ability to learn actively in this way. This is because this is the method that they are used to learning before they fully understand any language. However, us adults who already have a deep grasp of a language, encounter frustration when we try to learn in this way, because we are so used to fully understanding things and some of us are obsessed with getting things right.

So when we see our children not understanding something 100%, or getting things wrong, we pass our frustrations on to them, instead of remembering that we once learned this way, and that this active form of learning is much more effective compared to having everything told to us. This is akin to someone telling us all the answers to exam questions, instead of letting us derive the answers ourselves.

A proper CLIL should neither be a particular subject class nor a language class. However in Mandarin Pie, we apply CLIL to activities instead of subjects. What happens is we teach Mandarin, then conduct hands-on activities with the children in Mandarin to give them an avenue to use what they have learned to communicate in an activity setting.

While our lessons are a mixture of different learning techniques, our Mandarin Pie club activities are purely an adaptation of CLIL, where we don’t teach Mandarin at all, but just teach certain activities in Mandarin. This greatly improves their conversation skills and gives them great motivation to enjoy Chinese. All our Mandarin Pie students get free access to our Mandarin Pie Club activities, as this is such a rewarding way to learn. Come give it a try!