Experts look to future of teaching Chinese at UK universities

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/6/28 16:58:41

As the number of learners of Chinese continues to rise, there is an urgent need to improve the quality of Chinese teaching as a foreign language in the UK higher education sector, participants at an international conference said on Wednesday.

The 16th International Conference on Teaching and Learning Chinese in Higher Education, organized by the British Chinese Language Teaching Society (BCLTS), has attracted over 100 Chinese teaching and research professionals from the UK and other countries and regions such as Japan, the US, Germany and Malaysia.

The three-day event, co-hosted by the School of Modern Languages, University of Warwick and the Confucius Institute at Coventry University, is discussing a range of topics on the uniqueness and the commonalities of teaching Chinese as a foreign language.

Figures released in the conference showed almost all UK universities offer Chinese language courses for about 60,000 university students, but how to make Chinese teaching mainstream in the higher education system still faces big challenges.

Zhang Xinsheng, vice president of the European Association of Chinese Teaching, said there are already efforts on improving Chinese teaching quality in the UK and there are challenges in resources and sustainability, teacher supply and training, standards and assessment.

"UK will face even more challenges in its language teaching after Brexit," he suggested.

"I think Chinese teaching professionals in the UK also need to have an umbrella organization and a single voice to work together with other languages..."

BCLTS is an academic organization whose full members and associate members represent teachers of Chinese in higher education institutions and other sectors.

Its main objective is to improve the teaching of the Chinese language in Britain by exchanging ideas, information and materials in Chinese learning, teaching and research.

BCLTS was founded in 1997 in Oxford. Its members have been playing an increasingly important role in teaching Chinese language in British universities where Chinese is offered as degree and optional courses.


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