Mandarin for Teachers online courses reach Cardiff and beyond
1 July 2020
Cardiff Confucius Institute has been piloting online Mandarin courses for schoolteachers with a view to launching them on a larger scale from September.
Following on from the popularity of classes held in local schools earlier this year, the Institute wanted to give teachers the opportunity to keep improving their Mandarin skills during lockdown. This led to the design of a Post Beginners course, where participants from a number of schools in the Cardiff area were able to build on the basics they had already learned. In addition to this, two extra online courses for absolute beginners were also launched.
Elen Barrar, English Teacher & Literacy Leader from Ysgol Garth Olwg in Pontypridd is one of the Beginners 1 students. She said: " I loved learning a language that was completely different to the other European languages that I had learnt in school. I found it refreshing to be a student rather than a teacher, and I'm enjoying experiencing a different learning style that is different to my own, when teaching English in a secondary school.”
Elen also noted that learning online had many benefits: “Having lessons over Zoom is very convenient. Deep down I think that I would be more likely to continue with Zoom lessons over a physical lesson in a classroom.”
Cardiff Confucius Institute’s Mandarin for Teachers classes are six weeks in total, and delivered via the videoconferencing software programme, Zoom. Confucius tutors also use Microsoft Teams to communicate with participants who themselves can stay in touch with their virtual communities outside the ‘classroom’. Using Teams also enables them to watch recordings of their classes, either catching up on one they missed or reviewing what they have already learned, and access additional resources to support their language studies.
The Mandarin for Teachers virtual courses are pilot programmes, and the Institute are planning to open them up more expansively next academic year. This will allow a higher number of staff from Primary and Secondary schools to either start or continue learning Mandarin Chinese, without having to travel.