2019 Conference: Mixed Ability Workshop

Our 16th Annual Chinese Teaching Conference, ‘Looking Back, Thinking Forward,’ will take place on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th June. There will be over 30 different workshops at the Conference, focusing on a range of Chinese teaching themes and topics. Lucy Wicks, from Didcot Girls’ School, will be doing a workshop on Friday; we caught up with Lucy for the Conference blogpost series to ask about her workshop and what she’s looking forward to at this year’s Conference. To book your place at the Conference, please click here.

Hello Lucy! You are leading a workshop at this year’s Conference called ‘Differentiation in the mixed ability classroom’. Can you tell us about the workshop and why you decided to do it at Conference?

Essentially, I believe that anyone can learn Chinese, but the reality is that the students we teach in mixed groups may have different starting points, spend different lengths of time outside class learning and may have different talents (e.g. for memorising characters!). This can sometimes demoralise some students who feel like other students are stronger than they are.

In my 12+ years of teaching Chinese to non-native students of all abilities, and by drawing on successful lessons I’ve watched across different subject areas, I have developed some methods to easily differentiate the learning within a lesson and to celebrate success of all students. I love sharing what works for me and hope that others can also experiment within their own context.

There is a workshop about the MEP teacher training films. You have been directly involved in this project as one of the teachers in the films. Can you tell us why you think this is an important resource for Chinese teachers?

It was fun being a part of the teacher training films and my students really rose to the occasion! I think it will be an important resource because, as busy teachers, we rarely have a chance to observe others teach, especially in a different school. Watching the film clips is like being a fly-on-the-wall in another teacher’s classroom and I hope it will be incredibly reassuring to teachers new and old. Not every second of every lesson has to be magical to get good results!

If you could only pick one workshop from the Conference programme to see, which would it be and why?

I love hearing Simone Haughey from Robin Hood Primary speak and my mind is always buzzing with ideas afterwards – although she teaches much younger students than I, I think the creativity she inspires is applicable all the way up to Sixth Form!

Thank-you Lucy!

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