The Teaching Chinese Characters training took place on Thursday 19th October at the IOE Confucius Institute teacher training centre. Teachers from four different schools, as well the IOE CI’s Philippa Vallely and Dr. Pan Lin, led workshops at the training. It is widely accepted that Chinese characters create one of the greatest challenges for both teachers and learners of Chinese. This training day was designed to introduce a range of different practices and strategies for teaching Chinese characters that would benefit Mandarin teachers and their students.
The morning workshops were delivered by Luke Hambleton of Seven Kings School in Ilford and Yadi Luo of St. Mary Magdalene Academy in Islington. In Luke’s session, he discussed engaging students in character learning through negotiated learning and reflective practice, while Yadi delivered her session on developing character reading and writing skills with an MEP class.
The afternoon included a workshop on character learning with Primary learners, led by Kou You of Rosendale Primary School in Dulwich. Jane Woo of Christ’s College, Finchley discussed classroom sequencing of written Chinese language in her session. The final workshops of the day, led by Pan Lin and Philippa Vallely, looked at the process of learning characters and how to monitor your learners.
The attendees benefitted a great deal from having the opportunity to look at other teachers’ practice in the teaching of characters and to discuss with the other teachers attending about what they had observed in the workshops. Attendees also commented on the practical nature of the sessions which allowed them to reflect on their own methods of teaching Chinese characters. Strategies for teaching characters were woven through each session so that the attendees could become more confident in the teaching of Chinese characters.
As part of the training, participants were encouraged to think about action research methodology in the context of teaching Chinese characters, and to try out some simple classroom research in their own schools. This involves the process of thinking about a problem, planning an intervention, trying it out, evaluating the success and then adapting and trying again. To support participants in developing beyond the training, attendees have been given access to a Moodle site which contains further relevant materials on the subject. If you would like to access this Moodle site and the materials on it, please contact Nicola Larkin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank-you to everyone who attended the training and a special thanks to Luke, Yadi, Kou You and Jane for helping to deliver it.