Online Annual Conference interview with Yadi Luo

Yadi Luo, Head of Mandarin at St Mary Magdalene Academy will be presenting her workshop ‘How to prepare students to stand out from the crowd and score high in the GCSE writing paper’. The workshop is part of our Online Annual Conference and will be taking place on Tuesday 23rd June from 11.30-12.30.

We caught up with Yadi to ask about her workshop for our Conference blogpost series.

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

In past years, I have often been asked by new practitioners or other teacher friends ‘How do you teach students to write such long sentences using so much extended vocab?’ This workshop is aimed to answer this question.

How did you develop an interest in this topic?

I have always thought and believed that the hardest and most crucial part of Mandarin learning is writing. By saying this, I don’t mean that the other 3 skills are not important, of course, they are! However, being able to master writing, along with efficient practice, can definitely help improve all skills significantly as well as set a solid foundation for the future, especially in developing ideas, building sentence, and acquiring vocab which are used in Reading, Listening and Speaking.

Last time you delivered a workshop at our Conference was in 2018. How has your understanding of creative Chinese teaching developed since then?

In 2018, I ran a workshop on ‘How to teach open-ended opinion writing for GCSE Writing paper.’ Since then I have had my first cohort of new GCSE exams in 2019 with really good results (ten pupils achieved 9 and two 8) and five students of which are currently studying Pre-U Mandarin. The fast progress along with in-depth argument building they perform with confidence at Pre-U level, compared to the previous Year 12s, has confirmed the approach I used in-bridging the huge gap between the GCSE and Pre-U. I subsequently applied it to all my teaching and planning for all other groups especially with MEP.

What are your top tips for teachers struggling with student’s writing ability in their schools?

  1. Set high expectations early
  2. Have strong subject knowledge i.e. being able to summarise the complicated grammar and jargon into clear rules or patterns for the pupils to apply in their writing practice
  3. Have a deep understanding of the curriculum and specification knowing what to teach, how much to teach, what characters the students must learn to write and what the criteria are for achieving different grades and use them in your planning and teaching…etc
  4. Do regular detailed marking – I cannot emphasise enough the importance of this
  5. Be strict but encouraging

We look forward to welcoming ticket-holders to Yadi’s session on 23rd of June. See the full programme for this year’s Online Annual Conference.