As an experienced primary teacher and trainer with a background in Modern Languages and hundreds of hours of Mandarin lessons under my belt; I’ve spent the last eight years teaching and researching how to best teach Mandarin to beginner learners in the UK.
My own Mandarin journey began in Changchun, Jilin Province, North-East China where I worked as a teacher trainer from 1995-1997.
The very first phrase I learnt was 没有 (“none”). Joy, who sorted the school mail, repeated this phrase to me daily in my first week and I had to track down one of my students to find out what it meant.
Creating such purposeful interactions for language learning isn’t as easy in the UK in a class with 30 children but I believe that games are as close as we can get to creating genuine and meaningful contexts for language learning in school.
• Develop a series of games and activities that motivate, engage and excite young learners.
• Encourage deeper learning with resources that teach children to understand how the Chinese language system works as well as developing new language skills.
• Increase the number of teachers able to teach primary Mandarin with time-saving, easy to use resources for specialist and non-specialist teachers.
The development of these resources is grounded in extensive research linking attainment in language lessons to motivation, the efficacy of games as a language learning tool and my own personal belief that young children are naturally linguistically curious.