New Hanban tutors arrive in Cardiff University

Cardiff Confucius Institute was delighted to welcome four new Chinese tutors from Hanban on 25 February 2014. The four new tutors will be based in three of Cardiff Confucius Institutes Confucius Classrooms –  St Cenydd Comprehensive in Caerphilly, Cathays High School and Lansdowne Road Primary School in Cardiff.

The tutors will be hosted by Cardiff Confucius Institute for two years and in that time will deliver Mandarin and Chinese culture classes throughout schools in Wales, as well as working within the Lifelong Learning Centre at Cardiff University to provide Language tuition to adult learners and undergraduates.

hanban

The four new tutors are (left to right) Yuchuan Liu, Weili Wang, Jing Liu and Qi Ying

30 years of friendship between Cardiff and Xiamen at the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

 

People celebrating

On the evening of 1st October 2013, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival reception organised by Cardiff Confucius Institute took place in the Council Chamber, Main Building of Cardiff University.

80 attendees from the Welsh Government, National Centre for Languages in Wales, Cardiff County Council, Cardiff University, South Wales Chinese Association, and local primary and secondary schools got together to celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Cardiff and Xiamen.

The Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Councillor Derrick Morgan made a keynote speech. He said: “We in Cardiff are proud of our twinning link with the city of Xiamen. As I’m sure many of you have known, in 1983 Cardiff became the first city in the UK to twin with Xiamen in the People’s Republic of China.

“Over the past 30 years the relationship between the two cities has been built on a varied mix of cultural, economic and education-related activities – including the Confucius Classrooms initiative which gives school children the opportunity to learn Mandarin as part of their curriculum.”

The Executive Director of Cardiff Confucius Institute, Prof Anthony Beresford said:  “Welcome to everyone attending what I am sure will be a lively and enjoyable evening combining the performing arts, Chinese language and culture in a rich and engaging way. It is very appropriate that we are here in one of Cardiff’s most beautiful and prestigious buildings which combines the principles of learning, history and culture in such an inspirational setting. The activities planned for tonight for the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival enable us to step a little way outside our normal range of experience and to enjoy the full cultural richness that the Chinese Martial Arts, Music, Dance and Traditional Costumes can provide.”

The Academic Director of Cardiff Confucius Institute, Dr Xueyi Zhu said: “The Mid-Autumn Festival consists of three fundamental meanings: gathering, thanksgiving and hoping. I would like borrow these three fundamental meanings to extend big thanks to all of you. Many thanks for coming to make this happy gathering come true. Many thanks for giving strong support and collaboration in our Mandarin Chinese teaching both in Cardiff University and schools in Wales. We also look forward to our multilevel and multifaceted cooperations in the future.”

The attendees were fascinated by the Chinese musician and very much enjoyed the Chinese Martial art and folk dance performed by the Confucius Institute at London South Bank University.

Finally the guests played their favourite Mid-Autumn Bo Bing game, which is a unique celebrating activity in Xiamen characteristics, and also has been a traditional programme of Cardiff Confucius Institute as the game well combining culture, folk custom and recreation.

One year after another, Cardiff Confucius Institute has been changing, developing and growing, however, what is remained all the time is the Reunion and Harmony symbolised by the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival.

Confucius Classroom launched at Cathays High School

Cardiff Confucius Institute recently celebrated the launch of a Confucius Classroom at Cathays High School, Cardiff – bringing the total up to 11 Confucius Classrooms across Wales.

With their dedicated teachers from China, Confucius Classrooms are able to offer pupils Mandarin as part of their curriculum, as well as adapting subject areas such as History and Geography to include fascinating insights into China. Chinese teachers at the Confucius Classrooms also extend their teaching activities to other schools in their catchment areas, making extra-curricular and more regular teaching of Chinese available to many schools that might not otherwise have the resources or funding to deliver such enrichment.

The Cathays High School Confucius Classroom was launched on Monday 15th July 2013 by Mr Feng Zhi, the second secretary of the Education section of the Chinese Embassy, with representatives from the Welsh Government, the British Council and Cardiff Confucius Institute also in attendance.

The launch evening included musical performances from pupils at Cathays High School and a traditional Chinese tea Ceremony, as well as a tour of the dedicated Confucius Classroom, which was brightly decorated with Chinese crafts and examples of pupils work.

Eluned Davies- Scott, Head of Community Education and the teacher responsible for the Confucius Classroom at Cathays High said: “It is a really exciting time for Cathays High School’s partnership with China. We are delighted to be one of about 400 Confucius Classrooms that have been established in over 100 countries, demonstrating once again the truly international status of Cathays High School. We are a school that believes in opportunities for all and with China at the centre of the global economy the next generation will need to understand its culture and be able to work in its language.”

Cathays High is one of 11 Confucius Classrooms across Wales which form part of the Wales China Schools initiative managed by Cardiff University’s Confucius Institute. The school intends to develop Mandarin GCSE at the school, as well as using its Confucius classroom status to build partnerships with other primary and secondary schools to develop opportunities for Mandarin Language acquisition.

Rachel Williams, Cardiff Confucius Institute’s School’s Manager stated: “We are especially pleased to be able to participate in the formal launch of Cathays Confucius Classroom. This Classroom has been established in partnership with the Confucius Institute, based at Cardiff University, and reflects five years of partnership during which Chinese tutors from Cardiff University have been delivering courses at the school.”

A visit from Xiamen University leaders

Vice Chancellor and the delegation holding up a Chinese pictureA senior delegation from Xiamen University has visited the University to find out more about how Cardiff and Xiamen can work together in the future.

Led by Zhan Xinli, Vice President of Xiamen University, the delegates  met with Cardiff’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Colin Riordan, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Innovation & Engagement, Professor Hywel Thomas and the Director of the University’s International Office, Richard Cotton

Professor Riordan commended the positive role Cardiff Confucius Institute had been playing in promoting exchanges and cooperation between Cardiff and Xiamen and expressed his hope that more scholars and students from Cardiff might get a chance to visit or study in Xiamen University.

Vice President Zhan Xinli put forward her constructive opinions concerning the bilateral development and cooperation and she made it clear that Xiamen University will do everything possible to support Cardiff Confucius Institute in order to actively promote the overall and multi-lateral cooperation and exchanges between the two universities.

Executive Director of Cardiff Confucius Institute, Professor Anthony Beresford said: “The Confucius Institute not only provides comprehensive services for promoting Chinese language and culture but also has become a platform and a bridge for exchange, through which more Cardiff University students and staff should be involved in the future.”

Launch of new foreign language courses for businesses

As Export Week takes place, Cardiff University’s Professional Development Team would like to announce the new language provision designed specifically for businesses.

A recent British Chamber of Commerce survey shows that 61% of businesses consider a lack of foreign language skills to be a trade barrier. The new foreign language courses will help support local business to overcome this challenge.

Developed in consultation with local businesses and support organisations, the language courses, currently in French,  German and Chinese are scheduled to take place in June and July. In response to the recent British Academy report which highlights that languages are needed at all levels, the courses have been developed for people with different experience in foreign  language learning. Each course will be specifically targeted to business needs and will fit around work commitments.

Clare Sinclair, Business Development Manager, said: “Export Week takes place to promote the value of exporting to businesses around the UK; it’s fantastic that we are able to unveil our business language courses during this key time of the year”.

The new business language courses expand on the current language learning provision the University offers. Dr Catherine Chabert, Co-Dean of Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning and foreign language specialist, said: “Our language courses are wide-ranging, covering a spectrum of languages spoken around the world. I welcome the new language for businesses courses to our provision and I urge local businesses to come and take advantage of our expertise.”

Examples of the kind of training on offer include short half day sessions for those who have not learnt a language before but want to be able to meet and greet international visitors, to more intensive training for those who want to develop their existing skills to be able to use them in a professional context.  Bespoke training is also on offer for organisations with specific language needs.

Further information on the new courses can be found on the Cardiff University website: cardiff.ac.uk/train/languages

Lifelong learning awards

Over 50 lifelong learners celebrated their achievements at Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning’s annual Award Ceremony on Friday 15th March.

The ceremony is a formal occasion where students are recognised for their academic achievements in a variety of subject areas including: Humanities, Computer Studies, Science and Environment, Business Studies, Social Studies and Languages.

Foundation Certificates, Certificates and Diplomas of Higher Education, European language qualifications and departmental prizes were among the awards presented by special guest Professor Patricia Price, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Student Experience and Academic.

Alex Lamprey, who received a Foundation Certificate in Astronomy, said: “I had a great time at the Award Ceremony. My Foundation in Astronomy certificate is much more than just a handsome piece of paper. It’s a very welcome “pat on the back” and a real vindication of all my hard work, highs, lows and narrowly met deadlines! The night was also a great opportunity to meet like-minded individuals from diverse fields.”

People from many walks of life choose to study at the Centre for Lifelong Learning every year, even Cardiff University professors. This year the Centre was pleased to welcome Cardiff University’s Professor Paul Atkinson who was awarded his Certificate of Higher Education in Italian.

Professor Atkinson said: “I normally attend University ceremonies as a presenter, but this year I was on the receiving end. I am a firm believer in continuing education, having completed a distance-learning BA in opera studies in my fifties, and having also studied Modern Greek for several years. I do think that as far as possible teachers in universities ought to be students too. Struggling to get essays in on time, preparing for examinations and summoning the nerve to talk in class are salutary reminders of what it is like to be a student. I was humbled to meet people for whom LEARN has provided a route into a degree at Cardiff, and to be reminded that for some people the opportunity to become a student is a very precious one.”

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Launch of the Goethe-Institut exams at Cardiff

Co-Dean of Lifelong Learning and foreign language specialist, Dr Catherine Chabert said, “This new European partnership is a welcome addition to our port-folio of international language qualifications which currently includes French, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish. From June, anyone wanting to progress their German language skills can now take the Goethe-Institut exams at Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning”.

By successfully passing the exams, students gain internationally recognised qualifications that correspond to the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and range from A1 for beginners to C2 for language skills at the highest level.

The Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning is the first language provider in Wales to be accredited by the Goethe-Institut to conduct their exams. To celebrate this, Director of Educational Links at London’s Goethe-Institut, Karl Pfeiffer, visited Cardiff on Thursday 7 March to formally launch the partnership.

Karl Pfeiffer said: “The Goethe-Institut is pleased that we can bring our popular international examinations to Wales for the first time.”

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Guests at the launch, including Helga Rother-Simmonds, Honorary Consul for Germany in Wales, Ceri James, Director of CILT Cymru and the Centre’s German language students got to practice their German conversation skills together over some authentic German refreshments.

Current students are already busy preparing for their new exams and there are more courses starting in April for anyone interested in doing some last minute preparation. The range of German language courses that the Centre offers throughout the year, from absolute beginners to very advanced levels, will provide ample opportunity for more students to prepare for the exams in 2014.

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First accredited German language centre in Wales

Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning is the first language provider in Wales to be accredited by the Goethe-Institut to conduct internationally recognised German language examinations.

The Goethe-Institut, with headquarters in Munich, is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany whose purpose it to promote knowledge of the German language and culture abroad. Their examinations correspond to the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and are well known throughout the world and accepted as a qualification by employers.

After assessing the Centre and its German language provision, the Goethe-Institut signed a partnership agreement for holding the examinations of the Goethe-Institut at Cardiff University.

Helga Eckart, Senior Lecturer at the Centre said: “With Germany being a top-employment country for British people it is hoped that many will be encouraged to sit these exams. We are excited that from 2013 onwards we will be an examination centre of the Goethe-Institut and I am thrilled that we are the first and the only institution in Wales to sign such an agreement.”

The range of German language courses that the Centre offers, from beginners to advanced, will provide ample opportunity to practise for these certificates.

Juliana Nau, a German Tutor at the Centre said: “Taking some of the Goethe-Institut exams will punctuate your progress and attest your level of competence at any given time. The Goethe-Institut exams offer some of the most widely recognized German language qualifications and are offered at six different levels, from basic to near native proficiency.  They are purely skills based rather than predominantly academic.  In other words, spoken communication, listening to news and interviews, reading texts and e-mails feature high on the agenda.  Most of our German classes follow a syllabus that will prepare you for these exams.”

Over the years, strong links with Paris, Madrid and Sienna have been developed for the DELF/DALF qualifications in French, the DELE in Spanish and the CILS in Italian and more recently Public Service Interpreting – qualifications which many language students have benefitted from. It is hoped that the German examination Centre will be just as successful.

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Interpreting students celebrate their success at Wales’ first Public Service Interpreting examination centre

Interpreting students celebrate their success at Wales’ first Public Service Interpreting examination centre

Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning celebrated the success of their first cohort of Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) students at their annual Award Ceremony on Friday 16th March.

Interpreting students celebrate their success at Wales’ first Public Service Interpreting examination centre

Interpreting students celebrate their success at Wales’ first Public Service Interpreting examination centre

Some of the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting graduates, with CI Tony Wilcox and Zora Jackman (back row, far right) Elsa Cowie (front row far right).

Elsa Cowie, the Centre’s Academic Lead for Public Service Interpreting, said: “I am delighted to see our DPSI students enjoying the ceremony and being rewarded for all their hard work.”

The Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning became an examination Centre for the DPSI in Wales last year.

Elsa Cowie explained: “There was a real demand for the DPSI as it is a national qualification which many public bodies prefer interpreters to achieve before assigning work. In Wales, there are currently only 26 people on the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) for which the DPSI is the main requirement, so the demand is there.”

Around 100 students completed the first year’s courses. Not only has the programme received high praise from students, but professionals working in the industry have noticed the positive impact it has made already.

Chief Inspector Tony Wilcox, Executive Manager of Wales Interpretation and Translation Service (WITS) and a special guest at the Award Ceremony, said: “Between 2005 and 2009 there was little change in the number of qualified interpreters living in Wales who had passed police security checks and could work for the police. In Nov 2009 there were 22 such qualified interpreters in Wales, they covered 15 languages between them. Now there are 41 qualified interpreters living in Wales who have passed police security checks and can work for the police, they cover 20 languages between them.

“The most recent increase is entirely due to the courses run at Cardiff University.
Last year’s increase also reflects people who had attended courses run by Cardiff University and at WITS offices. Please pass on our appreciation to all those involved in the hard work with the students, and also our congratulations to those receiving awards tonight,” he added.

In addition to the DPSI students, over fifty students received awards from Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning in a variety of subject areas including: Humanities, Computer Studies, Science and Environment, Business Studies, Social Studies and languages. Louise Ackland who received a Foundation Certificate in Social Studies at the centre commented “The evening was a great chance to celebrate my achievement with my family, fellow students and tutors, studying at the centre has been a one of the best things I have done. The tutors and centre staff are so supportive they have made my going into higher education as a ‘mature’ student that little bit less scary. I would recommend studying at the centre to everyone even if it is just for the experience.”

For more information on the part-time courses offered at the Centre visit www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn.

Welsh French Cultural Exchange Flourishes in Cardiff

On Monday 10 October, The Institut Français came to meet their long-standing partners at Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning. The Institut Français is the official French government centre of language and culture in the UK.  It is one of 150 French Institutes worldwide, and one of the oldest. The Centre has been working with the Institut for over ten years to ensure that our French courses match the criteria of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Every year, students who choose to, sit the French diplomas DELF and DALF with us.This was an occasion for the Centre to show the Institut the wide range of French language courses on offer as well as the state-of-the-art language teaching facilities. In exchange, the Institut treated students by launching their new online platform, Culturethèque, which will delight all Francophiles.

The Centre provides part-time courses from absolute beginners to very advanced levels, courses taught both daytime and evenings cater for the needs of everyone who wants to learn French in Cardiff and beyond. What makes these part-time courses special is the fact that you can obtain a European diploma with them. In an era where fewer and fewer young people take foreign languages and where it is becoming progressively obvious that, as a consequence, the British economy is losing out, it is good to know that such excellent provision is available to everyone.

Dr Catherine Chabert, French co-ordinating lecturer at the Centre said: “Over the years, we have noticed an increasing local interest in foreign language learning. It’s as if, once they are adults, people then see the point of learning a language. Their motivations vary, from gaining a qualification for their CV, enjoying the challenge and pleasures derived from being able to speak another language, to improving their awareness of cultural differences.”

Axelle Oxborrow, UK co-ordinator for the French diplomas recognised by the French Ministry of Education (the DELF and DALF) commented: “Your facilities at the Centre are very good. You have two state-of-the-art language laboratories which many language centres would envy and the atmosphere in your classrooms seems naturally conducive to active communication. I am really impressed by the Centre’s strong provision of language programmes.”

Gaëlle Robin, the Director of the Language Centre at the Institut Français, told guests about the wealth of resources the new online platform, Culturethèque, offers and said:  “As long as you are a UK resident, you can access this online platform for free. We have e-books, films and audio documents, carefully selected and accessible from the comfort of your home. There is no equivalent anywhere else in the world”.