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Wales China Schools Forum

17 October 2017

CCI hosts the 2017 Wales China Schools Forum

On 17 October 2017, 47 Primary and Secondary school teachers and Modern Foreign Language practitioners from across Wales gathered in Cardiff to attend the 12th Wales China Schools forum.

The morning was split into two, with Hanban tutors and British Council language assistants attending a ‘Introduction to teaching in Wales’ training session delivered by Carolyn Goodwin where they learnt about basic classroom management strategies, differentiation, and how to plan and assess lessons for UK students.

In the main forum, teachers listened to a presentation from Lindsey Watkins, Headteacher of Millbrook Primary School which outlined how Mandarin can fit into the new curriculum and heard how the school’s strategic vision has supported their strategy for curriculum development. Lindsey talked about the key documents which were influencing curriculum development in Wales and talked about the ease in which Mandarin learning clearly fits in to the new Areas of Experience and Learning within the new curriculum.

Delegates also heard from Dr Duo Luan and Krystyna Krajewska of UW Trinity St David’s Confucius Institute about a new pilot project in Chinese Visual Learning. The project aims to offer continuity in Mandarin Language learning through a set of resources which uses the techniques of colour-coding to accelerate the learner’s reading comprehension and writing skills in Beginner Chinese. The project is currently in its pilot phase with schools being asked to participate – particularly those schools who teach through the medium of Welsh.

Claire Parry of the WJEC also attended the forum and updated teachers about the possible changes to the QCF language units. She outlined the ways in which the current units could be used by primary and secondary schools as a way of assessing and accrediting pupils Mandarin learning.

The forum also gave the opportunity to hear from schools in the network about Mandarin within their schools. Sue King from Maes-y- Coed Primary described the work they had undertaken last year throughout their school with the help of their British Council Funded Chinese Language Assistant, and spoke about the benefits that this had brought to pupils who were able to learn a new language and to engage with Chinese culture.

Keri Bosley from Crickhowell High School Confucius Classroom stressed the importance of pupils learning a language and she gave evidence of what can be achieved in school when all staff come together to get behind language learning – and in particular how in Crickhowell, this has led to 10 pupils being able to sit the Mandarin GCSE. Crickhowell High School lets pupils choose their options at the end of Year 8, meaning that those wishing to learn Mandarin have three years to prepare for the GCSE.

Following this, Lucy Huws of Ysgol Penglais was able to update participants on the changes to Mandarin GCSE and the difficulties this presented to pupils – she explained how pupils now needed much longer than two years to study Mandarin to GCSE level.

The afternoon gave participants the chance to either participate in a Triple Literacy workshop delivered by Karen Greenaway of Millbrook Primary school or to attend a discussion group pertaining to Mandarin qualification routes in Wales. Also included in the afternoon was an opportunity for participants to networks and discus the future planning of Mandarin within their schools.

Feedback from the event was excellent with participants relishing the opportunity to hear about different ideas and techniques for engaging pupils in Language learning, as well as welcoming the time to speak to, and network with other schools engaged in teaching Mandarin.

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