De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is accompanying 10 heads and deputies from Leicestershire schools to China, to support Mandarin learning for hundreds of children in the county.
The group will fly off to Beijing on Friday 22 May for just over one week, staying on the University of Science and Technology in Beijing (USTB) campus with a packed itinerary ahead of them.
DMU’s Confucius Institute (CI) is working closely with USTB, one of China’s key national universities, to provide this incredible opportunity, as part of a successful and on-going international partnership for the university.
Collin Miller, Head Teacher from Little Bowden Primary School is among those going to Beijing – one of the schools where the CI already provides Mandarin and cultural learning.
Collin is also Director of the Market Harborough Collaborative Trust, working with schools and academies to improve education throughout the town.
During a morning of filming by BBC East Midlands and interviews with BBC Radio Leicester at the school ahead of the trip, Collin said: “From the school’s point of view, the link with DMU has been fantastic and enabled us to have Chinese teachers within our school and give the children access to important language learning.
“We are teaching Chinese for their future.
“The trip to Beijing will provide us with the opportunity for professional dialogue with the education sector in China and allow us to share good practice.
“We are really appreciative of DMU.”
Trips to local schools in the capital of China will provide the chance for the visiting teachers to form partnerships, furthering exchange and learning for Leicestershire school children.
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DMU’s CI teachers have already worked in 21 schools across Leicestershire, teaching more than 2,300 children Chinese cultural and language activities, and are currently teaching Mandarin in 10 schools across the county.
One of the Mandarin teachers, Qiu Yanqu, said: “It’s a really good experience. It’s very different to teach in England because teaching methods are very different here, and I am also learning about British culture.”
Children are taught the basics of the language including introductions, numbers, colours and foods.
Olly, aged 10, who goes to Little Bowden Primary School, said: “It is fun learning Chinese. It can be hard occasionally, but when you get the hang of it, it is easy. I have enjoyed learning the numbers the most.
“Learning something new is fun and I want to visit China now when I am older.
“It will be useful if I go there, because I will know how to speak to people now.”
Lexi, also aged 10 and from Little Bowdon Primary School added: “It is really fun to learn how different lifestyles are different to ours and schools have different subjects.
“It is nice to learn languages.”
Following the trip, Mandarin learning in the county will be supported by teachers from the CI, as well as with language books and other resources, to help children learn one of the world’s most spoken languages.
The CI, which opened at the end of 2013, provides Chinese language, cultural and creative learning on campus and in the community, and also supports opportunities for #DMUglobal, DMU’s ambitious programme giving students the chance for valuable international experience while they study.
Posted on Wednesday 20th May 2015