The successful 15th Annual Chinese Teaching Conference took place on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th June this year. Over the two day event, there were a wide range of activities including 15 Chinese language teaching workshops, six different plenaries which featured talks from 17 speakers as well as four school performances. The conference exhibition featured stands from 16 different organisations connected to Chinese language learning, as well as a Confucius Classroom poster exhibition.
Day 1 – Friday 15th June
The first day of the conference is always the busiest and this year was no exception. Not even delays caused by the various British transport systems could derail delegates. Arun Pillai, a student of Trinity School, opened the Conference with an excellent speech in Chinese. IOE CI Director, Katharine Carruthers then introduced the 2018 conference theme, “Thinking globally, acting locally: motivating Mandarin learners around the globe”. Chinese Embassy Education Counsellor, Xia Jianhui followed and discussed further the importance of learning Chinese for a global world and the IOE CI’s Philippa Vallely went on to explain how each conference plenary reflected the themes of the conference. UCL IOE Lecturer in Modern Foreign Languages, Caroline Conlon, ended the first plenary by introducing MTeach, which is the new Master of Teaching qualification at UCL IOE.
The second plenary on Friday featured Dr. Liu Yongcan from the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge and Damien Charnock of Dulwich College International. Dr. Liu gave a very interesting presentation about the ‘Going Global Strategy’ for Chinese teaching, in which teachers teach beyond the language, teach with a global vision and teach for the public good. Damian gave a talk on the age-old topic of how to learn Chinese characters and discussed new approaches to character learning that he and his colleagues have been working on. Students from Kingsford Community School gave an outstanding performance of their HSBC/British Council Chinese speaking competition winning piece, “The Foodie Alliance”.
The final plenary of Friday featured a talk from University of Edinburgh cognitive neuroscientist Dr Thomas Bak, who discussed teaching Chinese in multilingual environments and included scientific research as well as some lively anecdotes about his daughter, Alba, to show how quickly children can adapt to learning different languages. Jo Wallace of Kensington Wade, which is the first dual language Chinese-English prep. school in Europe, spoke about the process of setting up the school, which is in its first year, and how the pupils are thriving in the dual language environment. After the final plenary, delegates made their way to Chinatown for a delicious conference dinner, where Liqun Dai (Archbishop Sentamu), Shi Jing (IOE CI), Ru Lan (Manchester Grammar School) and John Oakes (Dartford Grammar School) were presented with their Excellence Awards which recognise and celebrate the contribution made to the study of Chinese in schools.
Day 2 – Saturday 16th June
The second day of the conference was opened with a performance by Cecily Carey who is a student at the Kings School in Canterbury; all delegates and members of the IOE CI team were very impressed with her level of Chinese speaking. ShaoLan Hsueh followed Cecily with a talk about why we should learn Chinese and about her endeavors to make Chinese language learning easier by creating Chineasy, which is a range of fun Chinese learning resources. Olle Linge from Uppsala University and Hacking Chinese continued the theme of fun, with tips and resources for learning and teaching Chinese through games. His plenary continued into a workshop where he gave some great examples of fun games to encourage even the shyest of students in their Mandarin Chinese speaking.
Olle’s games workshop was one of many amazing workshops at the conference which explored a range of topics based on creating immersive environments, new ideas in character teaching, Primary teaching, teacher-led technology and how to motivate learners. The IOE CI is very lucky to be part of a network of Chinese teachers who are willing to share their resources, their time and ideas at conference, as well as their conference presentations! The conference presentations will be hosted on our website within the next week and can be accessed by anyone who is interested in using them.
The second day of the conference continued with an individual student performance from Kavi Mehan of Manchester Grammar School, who gave a very fluent speech in Chinese about filial piety. Chris Webster from Swire Chinese Language Centre Oxford discussed his action research on effectively embedding the foundations of the Chinese Language. Katharine Carruthers discussed her attendance and talk at the National Chinese Language Conference in Salt Lake City, USA which gave an insight into the various Chinese language programmes which are currently being explored in Utah schools. To close the plenary, students from Queen Mary’s Grammar School in Walsall gave a highly entertaining performance called “The King, the Goblins and the Three Monks” in Chinese.
The 2018 conference ended with a plenary featuring UCL collaborations and resources. Nicola Larkin from the IOE CI introduced the Mandarin Excellence Programme Teacher Training Films, Trevor Stevens from Pearson introduced the Teacher Toolkit and Fotini Diamantidaki from the IOE introduced the “Mandarin Teaching Education: Issues and Solutions” book. The final plenary closed a very successful conference that we hope inspired delegates and helped them think about not only their own Chinese teaching development, but also about the future of Chinese teaching in the UK and on a global scale. Thank-you to all the workshop presenters, plenary speakers, student performers, exhibitors and Hanban teachers who contributed to make this our best conference yet!
Plenary and workshop presentations will be uploaded onto our website in the next week. An email will be sent out to the e forum when this is complete.