Interview with James Trapp on Better YCT app training


IOE Confucius Institute team interviewed James Trapp, Primary Network Coordinator, about his new ‘pet project’ – Better YCT app, and the training events rolling out in five different locations of England this month.

1. James, tell us what Better YCT iPad software training is about.

The UCL Institute of Education’s (IOE) Confucius Institute for Schools, in partnership with Better Chinese LLC, a market leader in Mandarin education, has launched a new app, Better YCT, for teaching Mandarin to primary school children.

Better YCT provides a fresh approach to teaching Mandarin and offers a unique opportunity for primary schools to engage creatively with the language and culture of China. The app is interactive and designed to appeal to young children through easy to use learning games. It is linked to the internationally recognized Youth Chinese Test (YCT) qualification. YCT is popular among beginner Chinese learners of all ages.

The IOE’s Confucius Institute is running a series of free training programmes for participating schools to support particularly Key Stage 2 Mandarin – although the material is also adaptable for younger or older learners. This is suitable for teachers with no existing knowledge of Mandarin, and for experienced language teachers. The app will be made available free of charge for 1 year to all pupils in participating schools and to their households.

2. Must my students and I have an iPad to utilise the study programme?

The material is very adaptable and can be used in a variety of classroom settings: pupils with individual iPads, pupils working in groups with a shared iPad, or with only the teacher having one. The training explores all these different ways the material can be used.

3. How interactive is the study programme between students?

The material encourages the students to work collaboratively, but also allows for activities with a healthy element of competition. The interaction of the students is a key part of the learning process enabled by this material.IMG_1098

4. What age range of students are better suited for this software?

The material is principally aimed at Key Stage 2 students and links to both the YCT Level 1 and to the IOE CI’s own Programme of study for Key Stage 2 Mandarin. However, much of it is eminently suitable for use with younger students in KS1, and could also be used in Y7 with students just starting their Mandarin studies.

5. Do I need to pay for the training?

No, the training is free of charge. There are 5 remaining 2 day sessions, with the first day aimed at introducing a new approach to primary school Chinese studies, and the second focusing on the use of the material in the classroom. The dates and locations for these are

Fri-Sat 6th-7th November – Chelmsford
Fri-Sat 13th-14th November – Kempston, nr Bedford
Fri-Sat 20th-21st November – Chester
Fri-Sat 27th-28th November – Wakefield
Fri-Sat 4th-5th December – Plymouth

In addition, there are two extra 1-day sessions being run to accommodate particular centres of interest; these will seek to include most of the content of Day 2 above, with an abbreviated introduction adapted from Day 1. These are being held:

Thursday 12th November – Leicester
Thusrday 19th November – Blackpool

6. I am interested in the training. What is the next step?

Fantastic that you are interested in exploring more about how to use the iPad app. You can click on the link below to book yourself onto one of the 2-day events.

To enquire about the 1-day events, please email James directly on