The popularity of Chinese language and culture courses in the Transition Year programme in Irish secondary schools has continued to grow rapidly. There are now over 70 schools around the country with Chinese courses running under the guidance and support of the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland (CII).
As part of our drive to promote the sustainability of the TY Chinese project, the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland held the TY Chinese Culture and Language Teaching Pack training programme on Saturday, September 1st to introduce the Teaching Pack to even more Irish teachers, TY coordinators and school principals.
In the training session, experienced secondary school teachers from Ireland introduced the “Chinese Language and Culture in Transition Year- Guidance for Irish Secondary Schools” and gave talks on their experience using the Teaching Pack and in their own experience of learning and using Mandarin Chinese. Chinese teachers from the CII presented a model class of the first lesson of Chinese Language and explained in detail the structure and content design of the Teaching Pack and how to use it in a Chinese culture class. Afterwards Irish teachers were organized into groups to give simultaneous trial classes with the Teaching Pack and instant feedback was given and collected by the other groups and supervisors. They also practiced traditional Chinese art forms such as Chinese knots, Chinese tea making, paper cutting, Tai Chi, Chinese calligraphy and painting, Chinese dancing and various Chinese musical instruments under the demonstration and instruction of Chinese teachers in an absorbing interactive culture workshop.
Under the guidance and support of the Confucius Institute Headquarters and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), UCD CII has developed The Transition Year Teaching Pack for Irish Secondary Schools, which is consistent with secondary school teaching concepts and methods and extremely user friendly. There is a range of resources, including PowerPoint materials on 14 topics of Chinese culture available through the UCD CII website, which teachers nationwide can download and use in their classrooms, designed for use with minimum preparation time for teachers with no prior knowledge of Chinese language and culture.
The training programme has received overwhelming welcome and acclaim from Irish secondary school principals and teachers. They gave credit to the development of the Teaching Pack, which they believed was true to the daily life and interests of Irish secondary school students, and consistent with the foreign language teaching ideals and methods for secondary schools. They praised its multi-media content and its user friendly design. The Irish teachers believe that all these features help to remarkably accelerate the promotion of Chinese language and culture in Transition Year.