The teaching of Chinese in the UK British Council

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Acknowledgements, The authors would like to thank all those who contributed their time expertise and views to this. research Without their input it would not have been possible to provide such a comprehensive. picture of the teaching of Chinese in the four countries of the United Kingdom Although it is. impossible to name everyone the list of contributors to whom we are grateful includes the. Katharine Carruthers and Victoria Grant of the Confucius Institutes at the Institute of. Education and the University of Cardiff respectively. Ceri James and Nia Jones of CILT Cymru,Eugene McKendry of Northern Ireland CILT NICILT. The head teachers teachers and pupils who gave up their time and welcomed us in the nine. schools visited for this research project, All those who provided interviews listed at Appendix 1. Participants at the London workshop on 20 June 2014. Keith Colley and Nicolas Rey de Castro for technical support. Last but by no means least we would like to extend a special thanks to Meryl James Fhiona Fisher. and Fan Lin of the Confucius Institute for Scotland s Schools at the University of Strathclyde and to. Youping Han all of whom partnered Alcantara Communications in this project. Any errors or omissions in the research or in this report are entirely the authors responsibility. Note on terminology, Following the practice of the commissioning organisations the term Chinese rather than. Mandarin is used throughout this report All acronyms used are also given in full in the first. instance and all specialist educational terminology is also provided in full the first time it appears in. We should respect the history and the fruits of other peoples intellect in order. to build a true foundation for friendship,Tim Clissold Peony Capital.
Chinese is different but in a good way,Young learner. Alcantara Communications September 2014,Executive summary. Introduction, Part 1 The context for the development of Chinese in the UK. 1 English speaking countries and Chinese,2 The Australian experience. 3 The policy environment,5 Northern Ireland,6 Scotland.
8 Support for the development of Chinese,Part 2 Research findings. 1 Baseline data, 2 Academic perspectives the linguistic challenges of Chinese for English speakers. 3 Learner perceptions,4 Teachers and their perspectives. 5 System level barriers and enabling factors, Part 3 Effective practice in the teaching of Chinese in UK schools. 1 Factors which contribute to the effective development of Chinese. 2 Case studies,Conclusions,Recommendations,Appendices.
Alcantara Communications September 2014,Executive summary. In order to support the broader goal of deepening and strengthening the cultural and economic links. between the UK and China it is the ambition of the UK Government to double the number of. Chinese learners particularly in schools and among young people by 2020 This component of the. report researched the teaching of Chinese at school level in the four nations of the UK It is designed. to provide a picture of current provision for Chinese to serve as a baseline for future developments. and to set out the opportunities for Chinese within developing educational policies It looks at the. issues faced by teachers head teachers and pupils and analyses the factors which enable Chinese. teaching to be successfully embedded within the school curriculum as well as the barriers to future. The report is intended to provide rich data and evidence to support policymaking in both the UK and. China and to enable educators to have access to information and insights on what is working and. what is not working in schools across the UK, The report is based on extensive desk and field research undertaken during the period April to June. 2014 and collected via pupil questionnaires lesson observations and interviews with teachers head. teachers and a large number of other key informants The report also analyses examination statistics. and provides an overview of the latest relevant psycholinguistic and neuro linguistic research in. relation to Chinese It notes the ongoing expansion of the Confucius Institutes and Confucius. Classrooms and sets out the support available for the expansion of Chinese from Hanban and the. British Council teacher training institutions and voluntary organisations and the commercial sector. Key findings and recommendations, The report s key overall finding is that there is currently a very fertile context for the development of. Chinese in the UK but that a more strategic approach is required in order to ensure that the. opportunities are fully exploited and that investment leads to effective and sustainable. development Only Scotland has a strategy in place which is able to channel investment and. resources into activities which are likely to deliver sustainable growth in the number of schools able. to offer Chinese teaching, Teacher supply is identified as the most pressing issue and a key recommendation is the. development of a permanent UK based teaching force there is over reliance currently on temporary. teachers from China who are unable to fulfil all schools needs if Chinese is to have a full place in the. curriculum The report recommends that action should be taken to ensure that more training places. are available for those who wish to train as teachers of Chinese. In order to increase numbers of learners throughout the UK and so derive the benefits of increased. cultural and economic contacts with China action should be taken to ensure that Chinese can be a. realistic choice for head teachers as one of the foreign languages their schools can offer This will. require that the supply of qualified teachers training opportunities resources assessment systems. and progression for learners match in quality and suitability if not yet in quantity those available. for the most widely taught languages,Alcantara Communications September 2014.
The report puts forward a framework of seven key objectives with recommendations within each. mapped to different groups of stakeholders These are. Policy focused recommendations, 1 Align high level aspirations with appropriately targeted and resourced action on the ground. 2 Build a UK based teaching force for Chinese in UK school systems. 3 Coordinate efforts and monitor the success of the strategy. Recommendations relating to teaching and learning, 4 Provide a coherent learning journey for pupils starting in primary school or in the first. years of secondary school through to higher education. 5 Develop capacity in the management of Chinese in UK school systems. 6 Develop a body of expertise and shared professional understanding in the teaching of. Chinese language and culture in a UK context, 7 Provide advocacy for Chinese to enhance appreciation of the benefits of a knowledge of. Chinese language and culture amongst pupils parents teachers school leaders and the. general public,The policy context for the development of Chinese. The report notes that in English speaking countries the position of English as a global lingua franca. gives rise to particular challenges for the learning other languages This is partly because there is no. obvious single language which everyone should learn Previous research into the development of. Chinese teaching in the UK has highlighted the challenges in moving from an enrichment to a. mainstream subject and the lack of a centrally directed vision Previous studies both in the UK and. in Australia have highlighted the importance of adequate curriculum time appropriate teacher. training and smooth transition between educational phases The motivations of pupils and the. attitudes of their parents are also identified as important considerations. The policy contexts for the development of Chinese are different across the four nations of the UK. In England the introduction of compulsory language teaching at Key Stage 2 from September 2014. presents a real opportunity for a sustained language learning experience for all English pupils. however England has a poor record of language learning compared to other European countries. Issues in relation to public examinations such as GCSE and A level are among the factors deterring. young people from opting to study a language and Chinese ranks 8th in terms of the numbers of. pupils entering for a GCSE in a language However there is a thriving supplementary sector in. England which ensures that many pupils from Chinese speaking homes are literate in Chinese and. gain qualifications in the language Radical reforms to the system of initial teacher training ITT and. a lack of training places for those wishing to become teachers of Chinese present serious challenges. in increasing the numbers of qualified teachers able to teach Chinese. Alcantara Communications September 2014, In Northern Ireland pupils are only required to learn a language between the ages of 11 and 14.
though as many as 57 of primary schools in Northern Ireland also give pupils an experience of. language learning usually as extra curricular activity The number of pupils taking a language at Key. Stage 4 ages 14 16 has declined significantly since languages were made optional at this Key Stage. Any non European language being offered in secondary schools must be offered in addition to one. of the main European languages and this limits likely take up It is not possible to train to be a. teacher of Chinese in Northern Ireland, Scotland s education system differs significantly from that of the other UK countries Its long term. strategic China Plan and the adoption of the European 1 2 approach to the teaching of languages. means that it has the systems in place to develop its capacity in Chinese Languages have been a part. of upper primary education in Scotland for many years and teacher education in Chinese is available. at a number of universities in Scotland The numbers of places are set to increase over the next few. Wales is a bilingual nation Welsh English but performs the least well in terms of take up of other. languages of any of the four UK countries Like Northern Ireland the study of a foreign language is. only compulsory between the ages of 11 and 14 Lack of compulsion severe grading and a. considerable increase in the number of subjects of study available to pupils are cited as some of the. reasons for the very low take up of languages at Key Stage 4 It is not possible to train to become a. teacher of Chinese in Wales, Strategic action to develop the teaching of Chinese in UK schools. Hanban and the British Council are leading efforts to raise the profile of Chinese in UK schools and to. increase the numbers of pupils in primary and secondary schools learning Chinese There is. increasing interest in Chinese language and culture from a wide range of voluntary and commercial. organisations including publishers educational trusts and professional associations However efforts. lack coordination and there is some duplication lack of clarity for end users A single source of. coordination support and training for the teaching of Chinese would improve the effectiveness of. investments made Efforts from China and Chinese institutions in the UK need to be matched by a. coherent response from the UK authorities led by a UK institution. In view of its experience in receiving and training incoming teachers in organising educational visits. to China in developing materials for schools and in providing advocacy for languages and its UK. wide remit the British Council is best placed to provide the co ordination that is needed and to drive. the strategy for Chinese on behalf of UK authorities It should be tasked with establishing a. coordinating group and with providing the UK based leadership which is crucial if efforts to expand. and improve the teaching of Chinese are to be most effective Its role should include ensuring that. effective practice and lessons learned in each of the UK nations can be shared and developed. Alcantara Communications September 2014, Baseline data on the teaching of Chinese in UK schools. Only a very few primary schools are teaching Chinese in a systematic and structured way However. an increasing number are incorporating elements of Chinese language and culture into their. curricula as part of topic work language days or celebrations such as Chinese New Year The. presence of Confucius Classrooms is having an impact on the number of primary schools able to. offer their pupils some experience of Chinese, There are indications that both the number of schools teaching Chinese and the number of learners. studying it are increasing albeit very gradually from a low base The rate of increase is faster in. Scotland than in England In Wales and Northern Ireland Chinese teaching is in the very early stages. In England there is a very mixed picture of provision and the subject is much more likely to be. offered as an extra curricular subject than as a mainstream option. Over 10 000 learners in UK schools sat examinations in Chinese in 2013 A disproportionate number. of these come from the English independent sector which accounts for 44 of English GCSE entries. from end of Key Stage 4 pupils and 71 of English A level entries 16 18 year olds Entry figures for. A level are anomalous and believed to be skewed by the large number of native speaker Chinese. pupils taking the exam in the independent sector Exam entries for Chinese tend not to show the. Alcantara Communications September 2014 Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank all those who contributed their time expertise and views to this research Without their input it would not have been possible to provide such a comprehensive picture of the teaching of Chinese in the four countries of the United Kingdom Although it is

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