The IOE Confucius Institute’s Primary Network Co-ordinator, James Trapp, has recently finished a complete reworking of his original Programme of Study for Primary Mandarin Chinese. The core language content of the PoS remains essentially the same, containing all the vocabulary and sentence structures relevant to the YCT 1 test, but the emphasis has been dramatically shifted. James explains the new approach in this way: “ I have had almost 40 years of being continually surprised, informed and entertained by my association with China and Chinese. I still find the language itself exciting, as I know it is for students coming to it for the first time at primary school. But what turns that excitement into fascination is the background of 7000 years of continuous civilization, the art, the literature, the extraordinary geographical and cultural range of the country and the astounding expression of all this in the growth of “New China”.
The new Programme is based around a map of China marked with 12 cities and two great rivers, and the language learning for each topic is packaged in information and activities connected with one of these. The aim is to offer language teachers keys to open doors for their students onto different aspects of China, and also to give non-Mandarin-speaking classroom teachers a window onto the opportunities for stimulating cross-curricular work the subject offers.
The new programme will be available online in June and will be launched by James in his workshop at this year’s Confucius Institute for Schools Chinese Teaching Conference. There is a strong primary strand at this year’s conference, with workshops and presentations both by experienced UK teachers and guests from Europe and the Far East. Please come along and participate in the activities at this pivotal time for Mandarin in UK schools. Click here to view the programme for the 2016 Chinese Teaching Conference.