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Primary Education News
News How to teach … Chinese
This week the Guardian Teacher Network has resources for pupils and teachers to help with learning and teaching Mandarin Chinese
With almost a quarter of the world's population speaking Chinese, learning Mandarin has become something of a priority, not least to improve potential employment prospects. Many schools are now teaching Chinese along with, or even instead of, French, Spanish and German, especially with the new emphasis on teaching languages at primary level.
There couldn't be a better time to begin teaching and learning Mandarin and Guardian Teacher Network has pulled together a fantastic set of resources to get started , and to continue Chinese language learning to higher levels.
Cambridge University Press has shared a set of resources written by Dragons in Europe authors Marcus Reoch and Anne Martin. The books are designed to help non-Mandarin-speaking primary school teachers teach Chinese.
First of all find some teacher guidance and then download the opening chapters to Primary Chinese book one, book two and book three. The emphasis throughout is on getting children speaking and writing Chinese and each chapter introduces a new key topic.
There are lively integrated games associated with all the Mandarin lessons in an interactive online environment Kung Fun Kingdom, where students can practice their new skills and play games built on a mixture of spoken Chinese and Chinese characters. Teachers and parents can find more information on the resources and can take a free trial of the accompanying site at www.primaryschoolchinese.com.
We also have some great ideas for secondary school aged students. Find chapters of Cambridge Chinese for beginners book one and book 2 , t. The series has been written to the specification of the OCR Asset Languages Mandarin Breakthrough, but is also an excellent place to start for students wishing to continue to GCSE Mandarin, as well as for independent learners. Find out more at www.cambridgechinese.org.
Pete Goodman, primary school teacher and director of Bamboo learning has shared some useful key-stage-2 schemes of work for Mandarin. Start with this overview of a unit called All About Me, which should take a term to complete. You can find specific schemes of work in the unit, beginning with an introduction on the languages we speak, where students will learn to understand where Chinese is spoken and how to respond to and say simple greetings, then go on to language portraits to explore the diversity of languages, the importance or speaking clearly and how contexts change the way Mandarin is spoken (eg mother to child, student to teacher).
For key stage 3 students Pete Goodman recommends MYLO (Chinese), an interactive site where students can learn grammar and use it in context and the Discover China range of textbooks for even more advanced students.
Also check out Pete Goodman's site the www.thechinesestaffroom.com which is a great place for teachers of Chinese to share good practice and ideas.
The Confucius Institute based at the University Manchester is a hub of Chinese language and culture in the north west, where it delivers language tasters and cultural workshops for thousands of pupils. Now the Confucius Institute at the University of Manchester has shared a whole host of resources taken from its language and teacher training courses on the Guardian Teacher Network. Students can learn how to introduce themselves in Mandarin Chinese, greet others and chat about who's in their family. Also find out how to talk about clothes, learn about colours, numbers and make a start on learning how to write Chinese characters.
Teachers can find more about the Confucius Institute's innovative teacher training project for non-Chinese speaking primary school teachers wishing to teach Mandarin. The deadline for entries is 30 September 2013 and courses start in October at Manchester University.
Visit the Institute of Education's Confucius Institute website for great advice on and support for the teaching and learning of Chinese in schools – and to find out more about Confucius classrooms project.
The British Council has created the Snakes and Dragons education pack to help primary schools explore Chinese culture and language and introduce young people to some of the differences and similarities between the lives, languages and cultures of people in China and the UK. The pack was developed out of the British Council's Connecting Classrooms programme which helps school communities to develop long-term joint projects between people in different societies and cultures, including China. The British Council also run a Chinese Language Assistant programme which allows schools to host a native speaker for a year.
Also watch out for the British Council's new pack exploring the Chinese mid-Autumn festival (also known as the Moon Festival) which this year falls on 19 September. It will be available on Schoolsonline before the festival begins. The Confucius Institute at Manchester University has also shared this lovely PowerPoint on the stories of the Chinese Moon Festival.
Finally two web-based Chinese learning projects. Do check out www.chineasy.org in which students learn one small set of symbols, which can be built up into many new words, characters, and phrases. Also Memrisehas been recommended by a Guardian Teacher Network member as a fun and free online learning tool in which you harness your your imagination to learn vocabulary using images (or "mems"), mostly provided by crowd sourcing.
• Join the Guardian Teacher Network community www.theguardian.com/teacher-network for free access to teaching resources and an opportunity to share your own as well as read and comment on blogs. There are also thousands of teaching, leadership and support jobs on the site. Visit http://jobs.guardian.co.uk/schools.