On the 30th of May, the Confucius Institute hosted a Chinese language teacher workshop to support and provide training for Chinese Language teachers. The main goals of the workshop were to help teachers put language teaching theory into practice and open a forum where teachers can share their teaching experiences and techniques regarding working within the Australian education system.
The event was held at Abbotsleigh School and was hosted by Ms. Ming Yue, an experienced language teacher who has been teaching Chinese in Australia for over 20 years.
The workshop began with Ms. Mingyue sharing her various experiences and challenges she encountered while teaching Chinese. She then introduced the concept of Project Based Learning (PBL) as an effective method in teaching languages and engaging with students. Under the guidance of the teacher, students take on their own individual learning project, conduct research and design their learning journey which is marked by the self-set goals that they wish to accomplish. Throughout the entire process, students are highly aware of the basic requirements of each step and are more involved in their own learning process.
One of the major problems with the current model of teaching is that many Chinese teachers often encounter the challenge of trying to teach a class that consists of students with different levels of language ability. Teachers are unable to present certain content to students as a result of this gap in language abilities and this is where PBL can be used to effectively engage students from all levels. For example, students who are at a higher level will be assigned different tasks at the beginning of the class, and the teacher will check those tasks accordingly at the end of the lesson.
To illustrate just how creative an individual project could be, Ms. Mingyue showed examples of her students’ works which included: creating Chinese character calendars, Chinese books and even creating Chinese smart-phone applications for Chinese parents, etc.
The CI hopes that through holding workshops like these, CI teachers and volunteer teachers will gain a better understanding of how to use new teaching methods to help their students. PBL is a highly effective tool that can easily be integrated into teaching curriculums to solve language level gap issues and is a great way to improve language teaching at not just a secondary education level, but in all classrooms for all learners from different backgrounds. Additionally, PBL allows for students to develop stronger bonds to Chinese language and Chinese culture, and not only enhances their knowledge but also connects them to their peers, family and wider community.