Mandarin – Rationale and Goals


Acquiring a new language opens the door to a world of new experiences. As students study a new language, they develop an understanding and appreciation of other people, cultures, beliefs, and ways of life, while also developing a deeper understanding of their own culture and personal identity. They learn new ways to think, learn, and communicate with others, and gain a new perspective on their experiences and the world around them. The study of Mandarin rewards students with these and other benefits.

Being able to communicate in more than one language provides students with unique educational, interpersonal, and career opportunities throughout Canada and the world. With a history of thousands of years, Chinese languages are among the world’s oldest continuously spoken languages. Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world, with almost one billion native speakers. In Canada, over one million people use Chinese languages, and Chinese communities are among the fastest-growing communities nationwide.

Acquiring Mandarin deepens students’ understanding of the important relationship between language and culture and allows students to transcend cultural boundaries and biases. It fosters both appreciation of traditional and contemporary cultures and positive attitudes toward cultural diversity and commonality.

Canada’s unique cultural heritage, a rich and varied tapestry of experiences and perspectives – from those of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit to those of people newly arrived – is part of the historical and contemporary foundation of our country. The Mandarin curriculum offers opportunities for students to explore, understand, respect, and appreciate their own and others’ cultural heritage.

With continuing globalization, it is important for students to become aware that they are part of a rich cultural and linguistic diversity. Developing linguistic and intercultural competencies increases students’ ability to understand and communicate effectively with people from around the world.

As students gain proficiency in Mandarin, they develop many competencies essential to their continued success in life, including critical thinking, creative thinking, and communication skills. For example, learning an additional language is known to enhance students’ learning and literacy in their first language and contribute to their overall cognitive development. As they learn to communicate clearly and effectively in Mandarin, students gain transferable skills and processes that increase their proficiency as communicators in their other languages.


The B.C. Mandarin curriculum aims to support students’ development as educated citizens through the achievement of the following goals. Students are expected to:

  • use Mandarin as a form of self-expression
  • communicate with purpose and confidence in Mandarin
  • explore a variety of Mandarin-language texts
  • appreciate the interconnectedness of language and culture
  • expand their understanding and appreciation of other cultures
  • deepen their understanding of their first language(s) and of their own cultural identity
  • understand the educational, travel, and career opportunities that acquiring an additional language offers
  • recognize the benefits of language-learning