Mandarin Family Vlog


Yuchen Li is a Mandarin Chinese teacher at Castle School, Taunton and is a former student of the UCL IOE Mandarin Chinese PGCE. Yuchen has been exploring the world of vlogging and the use of vlogs in language teaching, kindly sharing her own vlogs that she created for her students on her Mandarin Family YouTube page.

Yuchen said of her experiences of vlogging… “It all started with Katharine (Carruthers) giving us a video project last year as part of the PGCE course, and I really enjoyed doing it on my photoplacement with Fortismere School. I asked students to do a ‘what’s in my wardrobe’ video at the end of topic ‘colour and clothes’, and all the videos turned out very creative. I then carried on setting video homework with my current school, I’ve got excellent students’ work on ‘rap family members’ (Y7), ‘taste English and Chinese snacks’ (Y8 food and drinks), ‘follow me for a day’ (Y9 daily routine) etc. Students use their phone and school iPads to record and edit videos, ‘easy and fun’, they say.

As making and sharing videos become an important part of students’ independent learning, I decided to get them exposed to more cultural input alongside the key language. So I made a lot of footage of my holiday in China this Christmas. Students started subscribing to the channel and kept asking ‘Miss, are we expecting a new video tonight?’ I’d like to carry on putting my footages together under different themes they’ve been learning. I’m also open for discussion and collaboration with fellow teachers.”

Our Teacher Training Coordinator, Philippa Vallely talks of the importance of Yuchen’s vlogs… “In today’s classroom, use of technology takes an increasingly prominent position as we have explored in both our teacher training programme and in last year’s conference. It is, as you can see from Yuchen’s comments, also an integral part of the IOE PGCE course for language teachers, helping them become more confident in not just using technology to display other’s work, but also to create their own.

This shows to us all as well that technology doesn’t distance us from our students, but can in fact strengthen the relationship we have with them. This is well demonstrated in these short, fun vlogs which allow her students to directly experience Yuchen’s life in China. What a great way to show students where their learning can take them, and give them a taste of the cultural side of the language!”

Yuchen’s PGCE placement was at Fortismere School in Muswell Hill, which is a Mandarin Excellence Programme School (MEP). To find out more about the programme and details of how to become part of it, please click here.