Chinese language and culture are going to enter The Transition Year Programme in Irish secondary schools after four years of painstaking effort from the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland.
The UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland (CII), under the guidance and support of the Confucius Institute Headquarters and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), 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 for Irish teachers. The Teaching Pack has been evaluated and approved by the NCCA and is going to be tested in Irish secondary schools nationwide from September 2011. It is an incredible step for Chinese language and culture entering the Irish education system.
The UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland held the Chinese language and culture training programme on Saturday, September 3rd to introduce the Teaching Pack to Irish Chinese teachers. In the training session, experienced secondary school teachers from Ireland introduced the “Chinese Language and Culture in the Transition Year Guidance for Irish Secondary School (draft)” and gave a demonstration class on Chinese Economy, one of the 13 different culture models contained in the Teaching Pack. 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. Irish teachers were organized into groups to give simulated trial classes with the Teaching Pack afterwards 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, and calligraphy under the demonstration and instruction of Chinese teachers in an absorbing interactive culture workshop. At the end of the training session, the UCD Confucius Institute presented a copy of the Teaching Pack to all the Irish teachers who had participated in the training programme.
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 ideas 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. The Irish teachers strongly welcome more training programmes like this, which are helpful to enhance their knowledge of Chinese language and culture and to boost their confidence in giving classes on Chinese language and culture independently. The feedback questionnaire shows the positive effect of the training programme: with almost all the teachers participating raising their confidence from level one or two to level five on a five point scale.