Our 20th Annual Chinese Teaching Conference “Developing Through Sharing” is taking place on Saturday 14th October 2023. This year, Elliot Hsiao-Williams will be presenting the workshop “Speak Away and Create an Immersive Environment!”. Elliot has kindly answered some questions regarding his workshop.

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

This workshop is going to be all about speaking (and listening when it is naturally applicable)! There will be practical ideas and activities that have worked from my past couple of school-years, not only in a classroom, but also with possibilities to extend to life outside the classroom. There will be, of course, like all my previous workshops, plenty of discussion points for everyone to take part, and share the best possible practice that works in the participants’ schools.

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

This workshop idea was inspired by my past years, especially the last 4 years, working in an international school, where lots of my students focused so much on the skills of reading and writing, whilst the speaking and listening appeared to be unbalanced and delayed. Speaking skills ended up being something they would only ‘prepare’ themselves for oral exams, rather than a ‘life skill’. I then developed the interest of trying to find ways, both within lessons and out of lessons, to encourage more holistic approaches to build the confidence and competence of speaking Mandarin or any MFL. In addition to sharing some ideas and thoughts with our colleagues, more importantly, I would like to initiate an open discussion on how and why speaking is sometimes arguably more quintessential and more instantly rewarding during a language learning journey.

Last time you delivered a workshop at our conference was last year. How has your thinking in this area developed since then?

Last year, I delivered a workshop on ‘Alternative Assessments’, which is an area I have always been passionate about in recent years. I have been fortunate in my school to implement the 50%/50%: project based/traditional assessment methods to determine the termly grades for Foreign Languages. Because of this, for the current primary and lower-secondary year groups, we have rolled out a lot of learning projects as main activities with ’embedded’ assessments, instead of conventional lessons with ‘follow-up’ assessments. Consequently, the students are getting more aware of the reality and the importance of ongoing assessments.

My workshop this year, related to the development of speaking skills, is just one form of the continuous endeavour to promote alternative yet realistic assessments.

Many thanks Elliot!

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