NAN CHIAU PRIMARY:
IT IS not something you see in most language classes - students sitting around playing card games.
The school came up with a Chinese version of the English card game 'Taboo' which sees players guessing words based on descriptions given by team members.
To make the game harder and help improve the pupils' vocabulary, the descriptions cannot include a list of selected words.
Fun card games aside, the school also gets its upper primary pupils to practise their composition writing skills through wikis.
Wikis, which are websites that can be updated easily by multiple users, allow pupils to work in groups, both from home and in class, on their compositions.
Teachers ensure that groups include a mix of high ability, average and weak pupils so that the better pupils can help their weaker peers.
To get them to practise speaking the language outside the classroom, the children are also asked to interview elderly residents living near the school about their life experiences in Mandarin, and then write about it.
Explaining the objective of these teaching methods, Nan Chiau Primary vice-principal Lau Fatt Yong said: 'Many speak only English at home. They read books and watch TV programmes in English. So they are not interested because they don't see how they can use the language.
'We have to get them interested by making lessons fun and we have also to show them that they can use Chinese in their daily life.'
This article was first published in The Straits Times.