Developing Mandarin Conference at Southhall

08 April 2019

This highly successful conference was held at Southhall, University of Edinburgh and at the Confucius Institute for Scotland and was jointly organised by SCEN and Ann Robertson, languages officer for East Lothian, Midlothian and Scottish Borders. Ann presented the developing work in learning and teaching Mandarin across council areas where she has worked – with ambitions for future development. James Brodie of China Britain Business Council (CBBC) spoke of his own learning of Mandarin and work in businesses linking Scotland and China - and about the growing employment opportunities for young Scots who can speak Mandarin.

Workshops discussed ways of developing Mandarin in schools. Colin Mitchell, former Depute Head in Lasswade High School spoke about the teaching of Mandarin in the school – including the development of Confucius Hub status. Maggie Sproule, Mandarin teacher in George Watson’s College and now working in Moray House School of Education on the PGDE course for future teachers of Mandarin, spoke of developments in learning and teaching Mandarin – notably through the work of the Swire Group. Zhang Hao and Alice Fan, both students at University of Edinburgh along with Valerie Mcintosh of Edinburgh University Student Association Volunteering spoke of the continuing work of student volunteers, speakers of Mandarin, in working with pupils in East Lothian and Midlothian schools.

The event was locally focused – and SCEN intends to host similar events in other parts of Scotland in the near future. It is a SCEN priority to engage with teachers, SCEN members in all in parts of Scotland, whether or not Mandarin is already established.