Pre U Culture Paper Support Day

Recently the UCL IOE CI held a day to support teachers who are teaching, or about to teach Pre U Mandarin Chinese. Discussion workshops were led by Ruairí Garvey, Oundle School, and Xiaoming Sun, Ibstock School, with plenty of input from participants sharing their experiences.


Xiaoming’s session focussed on Section 1 of the paper, and looked at the requirements and teaching strategies for approaching the topic of Chinese history.  The session also considered different approaches, such as working with colleagues in other departments to get support in areas such as history, geography and economics, and also with support in writing and marking essays. Xiaoming emphasised the need to mark against the mark scheme continually, whilst also making students aware of the need to understand what would gain them an “excellent” or “very good” for content and structure. Partipicants found the teaching strategies, handouts and ppt very useful.


Ruairí’s session focussed on Section 2, an area that language teachers often find difficult to approach, looking at the film and literature elements of the Pre U paper 4. From a broader overview of books to read around the Paper 4 topics, he then led the group in a closer analysis of “Balzac and the Little Seamstress” and “Love in a Fallen City,” with specific reference to the importance of developing a personal interpretation of the director’s intent when choosing particular images, colours, lighting or music. This area was found to be particularly useful by participants, as it gave a clear insight into how to approach teaching both film and literature analysis, as participants commented that the most useful aspect of training for them was “learning about some of the reasons why Dai Sijie uses certain subtle cinematographic techniques to get his message across” and “discussing in detail analysis of the film and interactive, with examples of techniques to vary lessons and make them interesting and fun.”


It was wonderful to be able to welcome two such experienced teachers to the UCL IOE CI, and we thank both Xiaoming and Ruairí for their time (and Ibstock and Oundle Schools), and for all the preparation and energy they put into helping other teachers and sharing materials.

For anyone who missed this training, there are still spaces available on the June training in the North West- bookings and details can be found here.

For those who are coming to the conference, Ruairí will be leading an in-depth workshop focussing specifically on cinematic analysis for “Balzac and the Little Seamstress” – with reference to “Love in a Fallen City”- you can book your conference place here.

We look forward to seeing you in June!