This week we are interviewing Kim Wang, who will be presenting the workshop “Mandarin through Project-Based Learning to connect to the real world and the real audience” at our 18th Annual Chinese Teaching Conference.
Kim Wang is Head of Mandarin and coordinator for Mandarin Excellence Programme at Queen Mary’s Grammar School. She has been working with CIE as an examiner for many years. In 2020-2021, she took part in the Action Research Project organised by IOE Confucius Institute. She is keen to apply the project-based learning practice in her own teaching and believes the best way to acquire language skills is by using it.
Hello Kim, can you tell us a little bit about your workshop?
Project–Based Learning often requires pupils to plan, design and carry out projects which often lead to a presentation, a performance, an exhibition or even a product. We believe that using a Project–Based Learning approach will not only enhance pupils’ language learning, help them to increase their cultural understanding and to develop research, planning and communication skills, but also help them to develop real life skills. At Queen Mary’s Grammar School, we carry out various Project-Based Learning (PBL) throughout the year. We would like to share with you our experience of carrying out these projects and the resources we created, so you will have access to some ready-made and tried-out ideas.
Why do you think project-based learning is important?
Project-based learning enables students to apply the language they have learnt in classroom to create something or taking part in certain activities. And often the activities or tasks designed for project-based learning are fun and practical. It makes the language come alive.
How is project-based learning different? What are the pros and what are the cons – if any?
Compared to normal language learning in classroom, project-based learning is often lead by a group of students themselves, guided and supported by teachers. It can produce a real product or something that can be showcased in a performance or a presentation. It involves setting objectives, planning, executing the plan, improving and creating the final product.
- Enable students to carry out teamwork as well as promoting independent work.
- Happen over a period of time, students have enough time to plan, execute their plans, evaluate, improve and produce the final product.
It has to be carefully planned and thought through before carrying out project based learning. Teachers must provide clear guidance for objectives and the type of languages students need to apply. Otherwise, the finished work can be over simple and lack complexity.
What are some of the best/most fun projects you have successfully completed with your students?
The best one is students conducting surveys in Chinese in Birmingham China Town and identifying characters of Chinese restaurants. Students have been learning about food and drinks. During the China town visit, pupils work in pairs to come up with 10 questions to ask Chinese visitors and note down what they heard from the visitors. Then they need to present their findings in Mandarin to the whole class.
Have you been able to complete any online project-based learning during the last year? If so, how has this been different (or similar) to how you run projects in class?
In the last year, our Year 9 and Year 10 pupils made vlogs of their life during COVID, Year 7 took part in the online Chinese New Year performance. The New Year event was very different online compared to running it in school. Instead of standing in front of audience, the year 7 participants had to perform online without seeing the audience.
Thank you Kim!
We look forward to welcoming ticket-holders to Kim’s workshop on Saturday 11th September. To see the full programme for this year’s Annual Conference, click here
To book a place click here