The following letter, written by Katharine Carruthers was published in edition 28 of the Schools Week publication on Friday May 8th 2015. It was penned in response to an article from a previous edition that posed the question “How do we create more home-grown teachers of Chinese?”.
Here is Katharine’s reply;
Your article ‘Wanted: home-grown
teachers of Mandarin’ of April 27 asks
the question, “How do we create more
home-grown teachers of Chinese?” This is not
a question to be considered in the future; a
programme to develop home-grown teachers of
Chinese is already being implemented, successfully
in schools across the country.
The UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is just
reaching the end of its 4th year of Mandarin
Chinese PGCE provision. Our graduates are
snapped up by schools. Our student teachers
include both native and non-native speakers of
Chinese: yes, those who have learned Chinese at
university (and in some cases at school before
that) have already realised that teaching Chinese
in a school is an attractive career option. From
September 2015, there will be 15 in our PGCE
Mandarin cohort who follow a programme focusing
on Chinese pedagogy whilst at IOE, as well as in
their placement schools.
And the IOE is not alone: for instance, Goldsmiths
has had a flexible PGCE for a number of years, and
Edge Hill University offers a Mandarin pathway for
its secondary foreign languages PGCE.
Of course the growth of Chinese teaching has
to be sustainable and development of a ‘different’
language in a school is never going to be easy,
but schools where Chinese is really embedded are
finding that their GCSE results for Chinese are at
least as good as, in some cases better, than those for
Your article asks, can a manifesto pledge to
“increase the number of teachers able to teach
Mandarin” be implemented? The answer is “Yes”
and implementation is already well underway.