Our 20th Annual Chinese Teaching Conference “Developing Through Sharing” is fast approaching on Saturday 14th October 2023.

You can check out this year’s programme containing plenaries, speeches, performances and a wide range of workshops delivered by colleagues from across the country and beyond.

This week we are interviewing Alexander Ferraby, MFL Learning Leader at Seven Kings School. Alex will be presenting the workshop “Passing on the Baton – Tracing the steps of professional sharing, from generation to generation”.

Hi Alex, can you tell us a bit about your workshop?

It’s in the name!: ‘Passing on the Baton…from generation to generation, ‘03 to ‘23’! – Think of the Olympic relay – the picture conveys the image of collaboration, partnership, sharing and urgency! Also, order out of chaos!

For the benefit of all Mandarin learners across UK schools, we would like to advocate an attitude of ‘connectedness’ in our work. Come along to the workshop to reflect on the benefits and wins that one gains from genuine, open professional collaboration.

Think how you may push yourself and your team members to develop by pushing them outwards to other departments and schools to re-consider some of their approaches. Come and be challenged to engage more with teacher training and resource development. We will hear from two other teachers as well – Gao Xuan and Zakary Twist – their individual stories will help us to plot the relay steps that have been facilitated by the magnificent team at the IOE UCL Confucius Institute.

What made you choose this subject for this year’s conference?

Having been trained and led by the original pioneers in UK mainstream Chinese teaching many years ago, and then having benefited from countless resources over many years, Liu Linying and I would like to inspire you to think – are you ‘connected’, and are you sharing your experiences? Of course, we achieve more in this way. Crucially, do you engage with teacher training and development? So you have a student teacher?- do you give them time? Do you listen to them? I was inspired by the overall theme of the conference, and we will relate a relay sequence over the years from ‘03 to ‘23 which helps to illustrate the spirit of this theme.

What is the school’s role in supporting professional sharing from generation to generation?

At an interview I once heard it asked by the Headteacher, ‘if you’re successful today you will become the Headteacher for KS3 Mandarin, therefore, tell us your vision for…’ – and at that point it dawned on me, whilst the schools and their leaders have a responsibility to facilitate the growth and expansion of any subject in the school, it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to connect up, wherever we are, and to represent our learners in our own educational leadership – with integrity, vigour and determination at every step.

Last time you delivered a workshop at our conference was back in 2021 on Coaching. How has your thinking in this area developed since then?

I spoke to the Conference then about Professional Coaching and how this framework can push you to ‘be your best you’! Subsequent to the talk, I had time in coaching relationships with various teachers. It is powerful how, when coaxed and encouraged with the right questions, one can see colleagues find their own solutions and ‘fixes’. You see the lightbulb flicker on, and at that point you can merge into the surroundings and off they go – into their newly discovered lands of opportunity. That’s coaching – it’s in all of us – but it takes time – and you might not have made time for it yet?

We look forward to welcoming ticketholders to Alex’s workshop on Saturday 14th October 2023 at the IOE. Book your conference tickets here.