The Tribulations of Teaching Mandarin – Richard Spencer

On his blog, Richard Spencer comments on a recent report that the rush to teach Mandarin in British schools hasn’t been as successful as hoped:

If pupils are being (even) more disruptive because the classes are ones, that suggests that either they are in full-scale revolt at doing something so difficult, in which case the schools didn’t prepare them and their parents for it, or their teachers weren’t trained how to cope with what they would find in Britain.

That’s a typical consequence of a mad panic – suddenly, about two years ago, everyone decided Mandarin was the thing to learn and schools in a blind rush went about recruiting Chinese speakers any old how.

And didn’t think to ask whether you could just dump Chinese teachers in a British classroom and expect them to achieve the same results as Mr Higgins with a B.Ed and five years’ experience in Macclesfield. [Full text]

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