2019 Conference: Language Builds Character Plenary

Our 16th Annual Chinese Teaching Conference, ‘Looking Back, Thinking Forward,’ will take place on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th June. The final plenary of the Conference this year is ‘Learning languages builds character: The forward impact of language learning’. Manny Botwe, Headteacher at Tytherington School in Macclesfield, will be on the panel of this plenary. Manny kindly spoke to us for our Conference blogpost series about the importance of learning languages and the positive impacts it has on school students. To book your place at the Conference, please click here.

Hello Manny! This year, you are talking at our Conference in a plenary titled, ‘Learning Languages Builds Character: The forward impact of language learning’. What is your experience with, firstly, language learning in general, and secondly, Chinese language learning?

I grew up in a house where English was an additional language. My mum often spoke to me in twi (a Ghanaian language). I’ve always felt that this gave me an appreciation of the importance of languages in terms of communication. I feel very lucky that at school I was able to learn French, German and Latin although I cannot claim that I was a great student!

I have worked in two schools where Mandarin has been taught so I’ve seen first hand the impact that this has had in terms of raising standards in school.

Why do you think it is important for people to learn languages and what impacts can language learning have on people?

Learning languages provides young people with an opportunity to broaden their horizons. What could be more powerful than being able to connect with another person particularly from a different culture or country? We live in very turbulent geo-political times so the opportunity to develop the next generation’s ability to communicate must be an essential aim of our education system.

I believe this is your first time at our Conference. Looking at the Conference programme, what are you most intrigued by?

I’m very interested in all of the sessions but particularly those which look at where Mandarin sits in the modern school curriculum.

Thank-you Manny!

To find out more about the 2019 Annual Chinese Teaching Conference, please visit our Conference webpage.