The British Council Chinese Language Assistant (CLA) training was held between 8th – 10th November. Over 70 enthusiastic Chinese Language Assistants (CLA), who has been working in primary or secondary schools throughout the UK since September 2017, attended the 3-day training programme. On arrival they were welcomed by Xiaoming Zhu, National Network Coordinator at UCL IOE Confucius Institute.
The training started with a session ‘Working with authentic materials’ by Philippa Vallely, Teacher Training Coordinator at UCL IOE Confucius Institute. Philippa demonstrated how to use authentic materials to make lessons more interactive and interesting. She showed a variety of different materials Chinese teachers could use, including food packaging, football websites, blogs and recordings of real conversations between friends, and showed how to use them in classrooms. Philippa emphasised the importance of using your own creativity to personalise materials.
The session was followed by a talk from Mengru Xie who worked as a CLA the previous year. She has overcome a variety of challenges along the way, such as cultural differences, managing classroom issues, and loneliness which comes naturally with working abroad. Her talk inspired the current CLAs and they found many useful tips. Mengru also demonstrated how she engaged with young students effectively by using creative dances, games and songs.
The CLA training also covered other practical topics for teachers, such as classroom management and effective relationship building with host schools. The training provided excellent opportunities for CLAs to learn, network and exchange ideas.