Learning of Chinese in East Lothian

24 May 2016

SCILT-1-300wBelow is an excerpt from the SCILT Newsletter May 2016 and describes the SCEN Learning of Chinese Programme in East Lothian:

Learning of Chinese in East Lothian

The Scotland China Education Network (SCEN) Learning of  Chinese project in East Lothian primary schools is taking place once again this year. A wide range of  schools are participating in the programme, which started in 2012 and which is growing in momentum every year. The programme is supported by Chinese student volunteers from Edinburgh University, via EUSA, and the Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools (CISS). Research is led by Bilingualism Matters and evaluative evidence collected, analysed and presented by an educational consultant in languages. Training input is from Moray House School of  Education.

Led by Simon Macaulay of  SCEN, the project is an excellent example of  successful partnership working. Its approach to developing successful learners and confident global citizens supports the aims of  Curriculum for Excellence. The project contributes to Scotland's 1+2 Approach and supports the teaching of Chinese as a sustainable language in the curriculum.

Volunteers are interviewed and selected before taking part in training sessions which help them understand and prepare for a role supporting the teacher in a Scottish primary classroom. Simultaneously, teachers are given support sessions to enable them to consolidate the learning of  Chinese between volunteer visits and to allow them and their learners to track progression throughout the project and beyond.

Parents and carers welcome this innovative means of  facilitating enhanced and enriching learning experiences for primary aged children. At the end of  the project, they gather in the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh to enjoy enthusiastic performances of  songs, games and role play in Chinese by primary participants. The project also facilitates a means of  recognising wider achievement and is delivered in such a way that learning is contextualised to meet the needs of  the class, the teacher and the school.

Teachers are also recognised for the pivotal role they play in the delivery of  Chinese and can apply for GTC professional recognition. The project provides a positive experience for all involved, not least the learners who are being introduced to a different culture at an early age. This enables them to see their own place and that of  Scotland in a diverse world. Student volunteers from China experience education in Scotland first-hand, which can inform their own Masters-level research.

Jude McKerrecher, CISS