This term, Year 4 pupils at Harris Primary Academy East Dulwich took part in the Southbank Centre’s ‘China Changing Festival’ schools’ poetry project with a workshop from Jennifer Wong, a renowned poet from Hong Kong.

After listening to Ms Wong read some of her poems about Chinese food and festivals, pupils tried out writing their own responses in English and Chinese. Although they have only been learning Chinese for a couple of years, they loved playing with the words they have learnt and were able to use a mixture of pinyin (romanized script), characters and English to create some really stunning results.

Students were then thrilled to be invited to China Changing Festival’s closing ceremony at the Southbank Centre where they also got to hear a live Gu Qin concert and take part in a traditional tea ceremony.  Despite being beginners in the language, the experience of writing and performing ‘Chinglish’ poems, was a great way to empower them to experiment with language and use what they know.

I love shān,they have crept into my xīn.
I love how the shuǐ falls down the shuǐ falls.
I love the mù on the shān
In a thousand 日and 月it will all change.
There will be no more mù or any shuǐ falls because of the hand of the destroyers.
Now I know:
I am there.

Cara Bleiman, Harris Federation.

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