Berkhamsted Group | 22.02.2022

Discovering A-Level Chinese with Hannah Galbraith

Discovering A-Level Chinese with Hannah Galbraith

Following an incredibly successful event hosted by Hannah Galbraith (above) and Clare Tan, entitled CPD: Introducing Edexcel A-Level Chinese in Schools we wanted to find out more.

Hi Hannah, before we speak about the online event, could you please tell us a little bit about your background?

I grew up in Hong Kong and Hampshire, and I first started studying Mandarin ab initio at university in Oxford. After graduating I worked in art auctioneering before studying for a PGCE in 2017. I have now worked at Berkhamsted for four years, where I am subject lead for Mandarin and a Deputy Head of House.

How did you come up with the idea for the event? What were you hoping for?

The announcement that Pre-U, which most schools choose for Mandarin at KS5, is to be wound down came just as our first Year 11s were coming through, so  we have taught A-Level from the outset. There is much apprehension among Chinese teachers about the qualification, particularly surrounding the film and literature study, which unlike the Pre-U, is conducted entirely in Chinese. Having had such a positive experience teaching this part of the course ourselves, we wanted to share our experience, and show that learners of Chinese can excel at it.

Event banner created to help publicise the event

I spoke about the ‘Reasons to be positive’ about teaching film and literature in Chinese at the UCL IOE Chinese Teaching Conference in September, and running our own course enabled us to go into greater detail, and share strategies for teaching to support teachers as they transition from Pre-U to A-Level.

Sounds fantastic, what was actually covered in the online event?

We included six sessions in the event. Session 1 gave an outline of the course, and how we arranged this into a scheme of work. Session 2 explained the speaking exam, and how we prepare our students for this. Session 3 discussed teaching film and literature in Chinese. Session 4 shared how we arrange academic enrichment for our pupils to elevate their learning and to allow them to explore the Chinese-speaking world beyond the syllabus.

Below, we have 46 minutes worth of footage taken from the event, covering the literature aspect in full.

Session 5 shared digital teaching and learning strategies for A-Level Chinese, and finally in Session 6 we discussed what has gone well, and what we would like to see improved, following our first round of teaching. Attendees also heard from our Year 13 students, who presented on their experience transitioning from GCSE to A-Level, and who answered questions submitted by audience members.

Below is a snippet taken from the Student Q&A segment of the event

Are you likely to do more in the future?

At our event on Saturday (5th January) we invited colleagues to join us in the Summer term of 2023, at a mini conference held at Berkhamsted, where we and other teachers who will by then have a year’s experience teaching the A-Level course, share strategies for teaching and learning. We have already had a brilliant response, and look forward to developing this event over the coming year.

A huge congratulations to both Hannah and Clare on their overwhelming successful online event that attracted 92 attendees, keep your eyes out for more in the future.

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