School Forum on the Teaching and Learning of Chinese Language and Culture Held in the University
a School Forum on the teaching and learning of Chinese language and culture was held by The University of Southampton Confucius Institute on Tuesday 29thMay, the first of its kind since the Institute was set up late last year. More than 30 delegates attended the forum, including head teachers and representatives from 12 primary, secondary and sixth form schools and colleges in Southampton.
The purpose of this forum was to inform local schools of the services and support that the Confucius Institute are able to deliver and to canvas their opinions on the kind of support they require. It is hoped that through such communication, the Institute will be able to develop appropriate programmes to meet local demands and to build a school network with which schools will be able to collaborate with each other and share information and resources.
The Forum was opened at 10:00am by Mark Cranshaw, the Confucius Institute’s Executive Director, who gave a warm welcome speech and a brief introduction of the CI. Following this were two key-note speeches, first delivered by Mary Higgins of the Education and Commissioning Division, Southampton City Council and second by Professor Siyi Fu, the Confucius Institute Chinese Director. MS Higgins outlined the importance of learning Chinese in schools in Southampton, a great city that needs to be ambitious and a learning city. Prof Fu introduced the range of Chinese teaching and culture programmes that the Institute is able to deliver and the support and services that schools in Southampton can expect to get from Hanban, including the possibility of setting up a Confucius Classroom.
A second part of the Forum focused on teaching experience sharing. MS Xiaoming Zhu of the London Specialist School Academy Trust introduced to the delegates the series of Mandarin language teaching resources that they developed specifically for UK-based schools; whereas Prof Fu focused on teaching Chinese culture to school children. She demonstrated a multimedia teaching resource pack that she has developed with her Cardiff team. Delegates were able to take a sample unit back for trial use.
The afternoon session of the Forum was devoted to good practice sharing. Ceri James of the National Centre for Languages Wales gave a presentation, illustrating their successful activities with schools which have been initiated by Confucius Institutes in Wales. Adrian Ash, the East Somerset Partnership Director gave another presentation, showcasing their achievement with collaboration with Yueyang School in China. Judith Munro, Director of Brockenhurst College Confucius Classroom also shared with delegates their experience of running a Confucius Classroom and the benefits of setting up such an initiative.
The last session of the event was a 30-minute open forum, in which four speakers interacted with delegates with questions and answers, comments and feedbacks. By the end of the Forum, there were five schools noting down their bookings for Chinese programmes in their feedback forms.
The University of Southampton Confucius Institute was officially launched on 31 October last year and started its operation late January this year. Over the past four months, apart from its school work, it has been working in collaboration with the University’s Lifelong Learning Division and the Modern Foreign Languages Division to develop modules and programmes for adult learners, including university undergraduates. Some courses are expected to be offered to the public in the coming Autumn term.
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