Crocodile Mandarin School
Who knew Mandarin learning could be so fun?
What is Crocodile Mandarin?
We are a Mandarin Chinese language school founded in Vancouver in 2008. We started with a handful of students in one tiny class at the Scottish Centre and now serve hundreds of students at six different locations around the lower Mainland. Crocodile is known for offering music-based, non-academic language classes.
What exactly is a non-academic language class?
Non-academic classes--also known as "play-based" or "fun" classes--discourage the use of textbooks, desks or homework, and emphasize active play and teacher interaction as the best way of transmitting linguistic skills. Traditional academic classes can work for some, but they can also be boring or agonizing experiences that fill kids with revulsion to the language. Play-based methods of teaching are much more likely to put language learning in a positive light.
Some parents (aka. tiger moms and dads) will ask whether such methods can be effective. Such parents prefer drills and flashcards and rote memorization and suffering as proof of a program's effectiveness. We answer that if you have destroyed a student's natural desire to learn, you have lost your biggest asset. As to whether our program is effective, the answer can be seen in our long-term students, many of whom have gone on to amazing levels of proficiency.
I'm not Chinese. I speak no Mandarin. How can my child possibly learn?
Crocodile was founded to teach families in precisely this situation. First, one parent/caregiver is welcome accompany any registered student to class for free. Parents can attend a free seminar to learn the sounds of Mandarin and master the pin yin symbol system. Secondly, registration includes access to our online Student Centre, and you will receive printed transcripts of vocabulary and expressions being taught. The most dedicated parents can attend an inexpensive evening class. This class will prepare you to be the best language coach possible as its units run parallel to the ones being taught in the regular daytime class.
What role does music play in the curriculum?
Music plays a vital role in our program. It is a rare child that does not love music. Linguistic research and our own experience have shown music to be a powerful language learning tool. The problem: except for a handful of songs, like "Two Tigers, Running Fast," most traditional Mandarin children's songs are way too difficult for beginners. Our solution was to compose, and record, and animate a whole new library of material. We put super simple Mandarin lyrics to classic rock tunes and to folk, blues, Latin, country, and gospel melodies. The project, which took six years to develop, yielded over 100 simple learning songs that are suited to absolute beginners. These songs form the core of our regular Crocodile classes. In our classes, kids can absorb language structures and vocabulary while singing, dancing, and clapping their hands. In many cases, you will see the phenomenon of a child singing along with a song they are hearing for the first time!
Our play-based method and music-filled classrooms create a unique learning atmosphere. Many parents have reported that their children look forward to coming to a Crocodile class.
And isn’t that the way it should be?
Yippie! Mandarin Class!
"We have given basic Mandarin skills to hundreds of local kids."
"At Crocodile, Mandarin is not treated as an academic subject."
"Most Chinese schools design their programs on the assumption that their students are also going to be Chinese."
Mandarin Classes that kids (and adults)
look forward to attending.