Chingshin Academy: Pioneers in Mandarin – English Bilingual Education!
Chingshin Academy | Sheung-Chi Tong
Chingshin Academy

Learning a second language requires a lot of work regardless of age, even starting in kindergarten. Given Mandarin and English are the two hardest languages to learn together, it is easiest to put in work while young and while still having a school to support the learning. In Chingshin’s 14 years of bilingual education experience, most children can handle the workload despite it often seeming too heavy to parents. Our best advice is that families must be strong and help guide their child through the process!”

– Chingshin Management

Since the Industrial Revolution, human’s invention has been the force driving society to new frontiers. Free markets and individual ingenuity resulted in disruptive technologies never imagined possible. Mankind’s next stepping stone, artificial intelligence, is to gain a deeper understanding of human learning processes and train the next generation of thinkers.

A society driven by intelligence is the key to moving forward with grace, peace and harmony. With the world becoming more integrated and connected, the education space is constantly evolving to keep pace with current trends. For the holistic development of all students, Chingshin Academy is implementing international education into its curriculum.

The Knowledge Review, in its venture to find Significant Schools in Taiwan, came across Sheung-Chi Tong, the Principal of Chingshin Academy. In an exclusive conversation with the magazine, he shared the incredible journey of Chingshin Academy and its unique educational pedagogies.

A Humble Origin

When the Mainland Chinese people moved to Taiwan in the early 1950s, they realised the island lacked quality and affordable education. In response to their needs, a compassionate General’s wife established Chingshin Academy as a kindergarten to help young children. Over the decades, Chingshin grew to be a prominent torchbearer, trendsetter and emblem of quality international education in Taiwan.

Chingshin is now a complete K-12 fifteen-year school with a bilingual education that teaches students about the global economy. Its curriculum focuses on providing a holistic education to students, ranging from the humanities to the sciences, in a trilingual environment (Mandarin, English, and Programming Language).

Further asserting the importance of Chingshin’s mission, Principal Sheung-Chi Tong states, “Chingshin aims to mold students into T-shaped individuals, with expertise in one area but the ability to collaborate effectively across disciplines.”

According to Principal Tong, empathy, kindness, and moral principles are reinforced in all aspects of student life through coursework and extracurricular activities. Students are given many projects where they have to work together as a class. From a young age, they collaborate in teams of 20 or more, with opportunities to lead and follow. As a result, students develop skills to demonstrate individualism while thriving in a community.

A Visionary Leader of Integrity

Under the leadership of Principal Sheung-Chi Tong, Chingshin Academy rose to new heights with a full expansion into high school. Principal Tong’s management style is now heavily integrated into the school’s core operations.

Describing Sheung-Chi Tong’s inclusive leadership style, the school management explains, “Principal Tong gives every department and team clear visions and responsibilities. This leads to thoughtful problem-solving and ownership when people do their jobs. By building respect and trust among his team, he wins hearts, often resulting in high performance and excellence.”

Sheung-Chi Tong, an ardent educator who understands the importance of change, places heavy emphasis on continuous curriculum development. He manages Chingshin not just as a pedagogical powerhouse but also as an educational research center. What makes Chingshin special is that it regularly invites industry professionals to consult on lesson planning, integrating their real-world knowledge with their teachers’ expertise. For subject courses, development teams typically meet once a week and present suggestions at the end of each semester. Under Principal Tong’s guidance, Chingshin renewed its core curriculum and created three new K-12 curriculums in technology, adventure education, and dual diploma international track.

Further highlighting Sheung-Chi Tong’s strengths, the school management says, “Principal Tong inspires colleagues through his own work ethic. Aside from completing daily tasks, he is known to go out of his way to ‘show up’ and support others; whether it’s school competitions, performances, alumni gatherings, or employee engagements, he makes people feel valued. He truly embodies ‘Managing by being Present.’”

Striving to Bring Change

Chingshin Academy is a learning and teaching organization. Exchanging knowledge with other entities, empowering families, and working with the greater community are all important functions of the school.

On contributing to society, Sheung-Chi Tong shares, “Chingshin improves society through teaching. When the public school system implements programs, recently in technology and adventure education, they often seek Chingshin for scaffolding.”

Recently, Chingshin’s know-how even reached the corporate world, namely through the Dream Realisation Program. The program teaches students the process of executing ideas via community improvement initiatives. It teaches them how to write proposals, apply for funding, and execute plans once resources are in place. Currently, the curriculum has been expanded to 10 schools by a large technology corporation through their non-profit foundation for children.”

We also welcome college students to intern at Chingshin and encourage other schools to visit us and vice versa. Finally, Chingshin regularly hosts workshops on positive parenting to support family life at home.”

Bilingual Curriculum

Well-known in Taiwan for its Mandarin-English bilingual education, Chingshin trains students up to 6th grade to attain grade-level abilities in both languages. In middle and high school, students choose which language to specialise in. Apart from regular classroom instruction, students gain fluency and speaking confidence through a variety of supplemental programs where they consistently apply language skills.

Sheung-Chin Tong says, “Throughout the year, all students are given opportunities to present on stage twice as part of the school’s bilingual performance theatre program. Courses are integrated across multiple content areas from K-12 to build second language speaking confidence. Depending on the grade level, rotating subject teams collaborate to facilitate students’ class productions in Mandarin and English. This type of learning experience is near impossible to experience as an adult.”

With a solid bilingual foundation from lower school, students can choose the language and subject of their co-curricular classes from 7th grade onwards. The system allows middle school students to explore personal interests and begin building content knowledge or scaffolding their language skills in those areas,” he further adds.

With such an engaging and smooth flow of knowledge transfer, the school produces a unique multilingual environment where students socialise using two languages, fostering a shared student experience of language learning from an early tender age.

Focusing on holistic development, every student at Chingshin is encouraged to find and build their unique skill among peers. In an effort to nurture student talent, the school offers a wide variety of co-curricular and extracurricular programs in the afternoon. Principal Tongs highlights, “Everyone is expected to collaborate and contribute to at least one team or student organisation as part of the school day.”

Our high school co-curricular program is especially interesting. Students sign up for categories such as medicine, technology, sports, etc. and are assigned supervisors. At the beginning of each semester, they form teams and are given time to pursue projects of their choice. Whether it’s research, competition and/or community service initiatives, groups can work on their own or collaborate with other groups in the category. Students manage their own time and are responsible for their own accomplishments. Grouping students by their interests ensure maximum student engagement as they inspire one another to achieve large and small group goals,” he concludes.

Preparing Students for the Future

Principal Tong believes that social and emotional intelligence is just as important as academic excellence. Moreover, success and confidence are built upon a collection of experiences. No matter if it’s failure or success, each has a role in positively influencing student development; the key lies in the will to not give up.

In sharing how Chingshin conducts character education, Sheung-Chi Tong explains, “As most Chingshin students live in urbanised communities, the program exposes them to the natural environments to give students a better understanding of their surrounding world. With an integrated K-12 outdoor adventure program, kindergarteners begin by playing barefoot in the rain and growing up to explore land and water environments.”

In 11th grade, the program culminates in a four-day camping trip, challenging students to carry a 22-pound backpack up a 3,500-meter mountain. Students learn of the daunting task at the beginning of high school, and over the course of two years, they physically prepare and train for the trip. Students are celebrated with a Coming-of-Age Ceremony upon completing the life-altering journey.”

Students that graduate the program learn ‘mind-over matter,’ stepping outside of their comfort zone, and the value of delayed gratification. This translates to better emotional resilience, increased capability to handle stress, and improved academic performance,” he elaborates.

Immersive Exchange Program with International School

For the past six years, Chingshin Academy has collaborated with the Chinese American International School (CAIS) in San Francisco for a uniquely curated student exchange program. In explaining the intricacies of the program, Principal Tong asserts, “Our 5th-grade students are paired with CAIS students, and they live and attend school with each other for a total of 4 weeks; 2 weeks in San Francisco and two weeks in Taipei. The students spend months preparing for the journey, learning about each other’s culture, school life and family habits, often developing lasting international friendships.”

Chingshin also has a renowned music program. This year, 11 bands and ensembles ranging from K-12 placed in competitions around Taiwan. Prior to the pandemic, they performed all around the world. The school also invites conductors from other countries to work with students. Additionally, Chingshin has a large robotics, debate, and science program that competes internationally,” he further mentions.

Mapping the Roadmap for the Future

Going forward, Chingshin plans to further develop and streamline its K-12 curriculum and strengthen the effectiveness of its trilingual education. Teachers continue to reinvent lecture-based class times for more project-based learning. Every year, their teams are challenged to evolve their teaching to promote students’ critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills, as well as their independence.

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