The plenary sessions for the 2017 conference promise to be as diverse and informative as always, covering a broad range of topics over the two day conference.
The conference opens on Friday 23rd June with a plenary on the theme of our conference, “Expanding Excellence: Raising Expectation, Increasing Fluency“ Guest speakers include President Lin Jianhua from PKU, Professor Michael Arthur, Provost UCL and Minister-Counsellor Wang Yongli from the Chinese Embassy in London. They are joining us in celebrating both our 14th Annual Conference, and our 10th Anniversary as a Confucius Institute.
Our second plenary on Friday is “EFL, CFL, MFL – Harnessing the Synergies.” Teaching Chinese in the UK is still at a relatively early stage compared with other MFL, and this plenary asks what areas for mutual learning and development are there between EFL, CFL and MFL, and how these can be used for the benefit of our learners. Bringing their expertise and thoughts to the discussion are Professor Li Wei, Chair of Applied Linguistics, UCL IOE; Professor Liu Xiaoyu, School of Chinese as a Second Language, PKU; Caroline Conlon, PGCE Languages, UCL IOE and Julian Suddaby, Mandarin teacher, Dulwich College.
The final plenary on Friday, “MEP: Mandarin Matters,” will consider the impact that the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) has had over the last year in schools, and present strategies of delivery that can be useful in any context. This discussion brings in two Headteachers, Mark Baillie from Finham Park School and Jody Gee from Essex Anglo-European School, who will give an insight into how the MEP has worked in their schools, and how they see it developing in September 2017. We will also hear from two teachers delivering MEP, Jo Bao from Dartford Grammar and Adam Moorman from Fortismere School, who will be talking about day-to-day delivery, the progress and enthusiasm they have seen, and the ways in which they have engaged students, parents and other stakeholders throughout the year, to encourage and motivate.
We are always considering ways in which teachers can bring Chinese alive for students outside the classroom and our opening plenary on Saturday 24th “Connecting Through Chinese” does just that. Our panel includes Fhiona Fisher, Director for Scotland’s National Centre for Languages and the Director of the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools, who will be talking about schools in Scotland linking with local companies to develop language skills. We will hear from Helen Wang, Curator of East Asian Money at the British Museum, and translator of Chinese children’s literature, discussing literature as a motivational tool and how to bring it in more effectively into the curriculum. Also on the panel we have Dr Toby Lincoln, Lecturer in Chinese Urban History at the University of Leicester, who will talk about digital resources for urban history (incredibly useful for Pre-U students) and also about progressing to university and the work he does with BACS. Finally, we will also hear from David Hibler, who leads the Generation UK programme for the British Council, a programme offering students the opportunity to study and work in China through internships.
The second plenary of the day focuses on “Building Continuity between KS2 to KS3.” James Trapp from the UCL IOE CI and Tom Milne from Rosendale School will be talking about their innovative and ambitious work they have been creating and delivering this year, which will exist as a potential model for other schools to follow, and build Chinese language and cultural knowledge from a much stronger and earlier start point. James Stagg will also be discussing the work that Harris Federation and SWIRES have been developing with regard to building a stronger progression between primary and secondary schools in their network, and the interaction between the two, and how this can be adopted by others.
Our final plenary of the day brings a final burst of artistic and cultural ideas to the stage! “Movies, Magic and Music” offers three ways in which you and your students can engage with Chinese language and culture events outside the classroom. Christine James, BFI Education, will talk about the Chinese Film Festival and schools MFL programme at the BFI. In particular, the Mandarin MFL event for KS3, which uses film to introduce Chinese culture and the spoken language, has grown in appreciation over the last 4 years. Next, Ian Xiang, Director of the Annual Magic Lantern Festival (UK), will talk about the ideas behind the event, the huge task of bringing such an important Chinese cultural tradition to a contemporary British audience, and the impact this beautiful art has had in the UK. Finally, H-J Colston, joint CEO of Chopsticks Club, will introduce the beautiful sound of the Chopsticks Choral Society, which welcomes international members to sing together in Mandarin Chinese from a Chinese repertoire. Hopefully you will leave enthused with multiple ideas of how to expand your students’ horizons!
Image of the 2017 Magic Lantern Festival