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The future of Chinese language and culture in Welsh schools: Wales China Schools Forum March 2021

6 April 2021

Wales China Schools Forum cover image
The Wales China Schools Forum was held on 25th March 2021

On 25 March, teachers from across the country and beyond, joined together to discuss the future of Chinese language and cultural learning in schools as per the New Curriculum for Wales.

The Wales China Schools Forum was organised by Cardiff Confucius Institute and took a very practical focus. It gave educators from Wales the opportunity to learn more about how Mandarin resources could be applied in the classroom in relation to the four purposes of the New Curriculum.

The event kicked off with a key-note speech from Dr. Sonny Singh, Professional Lead Curriculum and Assessment from the Welsh Government, setting the scene and outlining the framework for the day. This was followed by four presentations from sector experts, highlighting practical ways of applying Chinese in relation to the four purposes of the new curriculum; “the starting point and aspiration for every child and young person in Wales” – Hwb: Welsh Government website.

Presenter Qu Fan introduces practical ideas for the classroom
A presentation on Chinese health and wellbeing provided practical ideas for the classroom

To explore the curriculum purpose of creating ambitious, capable learners ready to learn throughout their lives, Fang Xiao, examiner and Mandarin teacher at Cardiff Sixth Form talked about promoting Mandarin in Welsh schools, including practical examples from her own teaching experience.

Wei Shao, Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the School of Modern Languages discussed preparing for university in schools, studying Mandarin Chinese at degree level and progression onto the world of work, outlining how learning Mandarin can support learners to become enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work

Routes into Languages Cymru Project Officer Rubén Chapela-Orri and Student Ambassador Elina Griffiths from Bangor University spoke about the benefits of multilingualism and encouraging it in schoolchildren to help them become ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world.

And finally, tutors Fan Qu & Tian Sun from Cardiff Confucius Institute presented on the fourth purpose of the curriculum, to create healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society, providing practical ideas and resources for the classroom on Chinese health and well-being. This talk was supported by a special webpage showcasing the resources, along with details on other online activities provided by the Wales China Schools Project.

Winning poster designs from Primary School children
Winning poster competition entries from Aleesha John and Savannah Cicil Anish, both from Our Lady's Primary School in Bangor

In addition to the presentations, participants had two ‘breakout’ sessions, where they were able to discuss current issues and best practice with other educators. The rooms were coordinated by Cardiff Confucius Institute tutors, who led discussions on digital education as regards Mandarin Chinese learning and exchanges on ideas and future plans.

The event closed with an awards ceremony for the winners of the pan-Wales Wales-China poster competition for primary schools, and congratulations were given to the Confucius Institute teachers who won the 2021 Mandarin Teaching Championship for Wales.

Sioned Harold, EAS Adviser for International Languages thanked the Confucius Institutes for a "really purposeful conference" whilst Clare Pocock from Maes Y Coed Primary School summarised that it was "a great morning" with "lots of great resources and ideas.”

Wales China Schools Forums

The Wales China Schools Project is a collaboration of the three Welsh Confucius Institutes at Cardiff, Bangor and UWTSD Universities. Twice a year, they hold forums for educators involved in Primary and Secondary education, bringing together expertise from language teachers and educational experts to support Chinese language and culture courses in schools.

The Wales China Schools Forums provide support for Confucius Classrooms and Associate schools that teach, or are interested in teaching, Chinese language and culture. They are also an opportunity to network with other educators and exchange best practice.

Learn more about the Wales China Schools Project by visiting our website.

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