additional language

Celebrating International Mother Language Day

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 The person who knows only one language does not truly know that language”.  (Goethe)

The United Nations has declared February 21 as the Mother Language Day. It is the day that we celebrate our first language and culture. First language is considered the language that we are exposed to and speak since we were born.

We need to maintain and preserve our first language and culture as our cultural identity and to keep our emotional stability. Studies show that we will learn another language quickly if we maintain our proficiency in our first language. According to Jim Cummins (2001), children who continue to develop their abilities in two or more languages in their primary school years, will gain a deeper understanding of language and how to use it effectively. They have more practice in processing language and they are able to compare and contrast in the ways how their two languages work.

To celebrate the event, the PYP Indonesian Language Department at BINUS SCHOOL Simprug organized an assembly, titled “International Mother Language Assembly” last February 21. We had performances from a variety of languages and cultures. The performances included student presentations and performances in Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, English, Hindi, Japanese and Korean.  There was also a national costume show representing different cultures. National costumes from Pakistan, Serbia, Kenya, Australia, India, Korean, China, Japan, Indonesia, France, and Singapore were shown during the assembly.

All PYP students were encouraged to speak in their mother tongue not only on that day but anytime they wish to.


By: Ratuu Harida

PYP Indonesian Department Head



Inquiry in Mandarin class

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Under the theme  of “How The World Works” with the central idea “Problem solving leads to inventions and innovation”, PYP 5 students are currently learning about invention and problem solving. To support students’ understanding of these concepts and in an attempt to foster transdisciplinary collaboration in Mandarin class, students inquired into the invention of the printing press, one of the four great Chinese inventions. The first type of printing press was invented by a Chinese man named Bi Sheng and later improved upon by Johannes Gutenberg of Germany.


As a provocation activity, students were given one Chinese character (e.g. 王, 白, 林), and asked to make as many identical copies as possible in a very limited time. To accomplish this mission, the students tried different methods, such as measuring and copying. During reflection time, they realized that making identical copies in a limited amount of time was not at all an easy or efficient thing to do.

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Then we had a discussion focused on the question: how can we make this job easier? Students came up with the idea of making a stamp which is actually a simplified version of a printing machine. Students created their own stamps using available materials. Once they had finished their stamps, they tried the same task  again which was to make multiple copies of the Chinese character. In conclusion, they realized it is much easier to do this task using the stamp which in turn explains how simple machines can help us to solve many problems and make our jobs easier.SC nov 8.png

This inquiry did not only show the invention of printing but also extended into studies into chinese language and culture. It gave students good insights into how problem-solving leads to inventions and innovation, while giving them an opportunity to explore Chinese culture and heritage.

By Karina Wiguna Atmaja

Mandarin Teacher

Sekolah Ciputra, Surabaya