Understanding the Teaching and Learning of Mandarin Chinese in Schools


MTeach New Module: Understanding the Teaching and Learning of Mandarin Chinese in Schools

In partnership with the UCL Institute of Education, the UCL IOE Confucius Institute (IOE CI)  is offering a brand new Master of Teaching (MTeach) module – ‘Understanding the Teaching and Learning of Mandarin Chinese in Schools’. This module will count as 30 credits towards the MTeach qualification – a flexible (180 credits) Masters programme which can be taken over 2 to 5 years.

To find out more about this new module on the MTeach programme, we have spoken to two teachers who are currently doing the ‘Understanding the Teaching and Learning of Mandarin Chinese in Schools’ module and are on course to complete it this September. Wang Qian of Trinity School and Chris Webster of the Swire Group spoke to us about their experiences on the course and what they intend to do with their new qualification.

Hello Wang Qian (WQ) and Chris Webster (CW)! What drew you to the MTeach programme and particularly the module on Understanding the Teaching of Mandarin Chinese in Schools?

Wang Qian.jpg

Wang Qian

QW:  I decided to study the MTeach programme first because there is a particular module on teaching Mandarin Chinese in schools. At that time, I had just finished the PGCE course at the IOE and as a developing Mandarin teacher, I felt strongly that I would like to deepen my understanding of teaching the subject in schools on various issues, such as effective strategies to support pupils in reading and writing characters.  Secondly, in my PGCE year, apart from the school placement experiences, I enjoyed studying the two Masters-level modules, which linked closely with class room practice, but also made me step back to reflect my practice systematically and from a broader perspective, therefore I expected the MTeach program would continue to support me in these aspects.

CW: To ensure I maintain a good habit of continually reflecting on my practice, not just for myself but also to better inform the practice of others now that I am working in a senior role. The action research module also gives you that extra nudge to reflect much more deeply, which inspires you to examine the bigger picture of curriculum delivery in ways that you would not necessarily think.

What have you found the most interesting element of the programme?

WQ: I found the face to face meeting and discussion with teachers from different schools who teach different subjects very interesting. I particularly enjoyed our Mandarin group’s face-to-face tutorial, where we had lively discussions on topics that matter to Mandarin teaching and learning.

CW: It certainly has to be having the forum to share practice with others through face-to-face workshops and online discussions. I have not only been greatly inspired by my Chinese classmates but also teachers of other subjects. As they say – 三人行必有我师 – there is always something useful you can learn from somebody, not matter what their background.

What would you recommend about the MTeach and why?

Chris Webster

Chris Webster

WQ: I would recommend the MTeach to colleagues. Firstly, because it does meet my expectations in supporting me to become an effective classroom practitioner. I particularly benefited from the interaction with my tutors and fellow teachers, where I learnt new skills for my practice, also developed my understanding with various issues.

Secondly, the course provides me a space for working towards my goal of being a reflective educator, where I received specific detailed advice as well as being prompted to a deeper and wider thinking when working on my research project.

CW: The opportunity to interact with teachers and educators of a whole range of experience levels and backgrounds, not forgetting the highly professional course leaders, who are also highly flexible and understanding of the pressures of teaching, particularly in terms of the limited time we have during term-time.

In what ways will you use your MTeach qualifications in the future?

WQ: My current school is very supportive of teacher research projects and teaching staff’s further study. The leadership sees that my MTeach study supports me in my personal professional development and also contributes to the school’s ongoing teacher forum on teaching and learning discussions.  I personally also consider the possibility of some form of involvement in higher education for future career development, so I hope the MTeach qualification will prepare me for that.

CW: I am sure that the qualification will enable to step onto greater heights in my teaching career, be that in educational leadership or a PhD. It is without doubt that a qualification opens doors for people and one of this prestige with the UCL IOE badge, will be sure to be of great use for the future.

Thank-you Wang Qian and Chris!

To find out more about the MTeach programme as well as the new module ‘Understanding the Teaching and Learning of Mandarin Chinese in Schools’, please click here.