Teaching of Chinese language in local schools mooted

An experienced Chinese teacher based in Athlone has raised the possibility of Chinese culture and language teaching in Athlone schools as soon as next year. Tina Wu, who was an English teacher in China long-before gaining an honours Master of Business from AIT, taught Chinese in U.L. as well as Galway secondary and primary schools last year.

Tina was delighted with the class responses, but was even happier to be told that one of her primary classes was heard singing in Chinese on their Dublin school tour!

As well as broadening students’ perspectives, the course could plant a seed for future linguistic careers. In addition, there has been a CAO trend of increasing International business and commerce courses, where students pick a language as well as studying international business. The students often then have business placements abroad as part of their course. China has grown GDP at over six percent per annum continually for a generation. It now has more skyscrapers and high-speed bullet trains than anywhere else, and is a magnet for global business.

“Midlands students have often been too fearful to pick Chinese even as a minor subject in college. This is unlike their Dublin and Galway counterparts, who had some Chinese in school and hold no such fears. Leaving Certificate Chinese is looming on the horizon according to the Department of Education, but would Athlone students even consider this option without an earlier opportunity to see what a primary or junior Chinese course is like?,” Tina commented.

Some Chinese teaching in Ireland has suffered from a limited TY budget, with many students just getting an hour a week. Tina is ambitious however and is willing to also teach the full official Department of Education course in a premium class, suggesting that one Athlone school could host the class with students from other schools visiting. This would place Athlone students on the same footing as those from the top four private schools that currently do the full official course.

Tina, who currently teaches English internationally online from Athlone, is also on the GRETB panel for English-Esol and IT teaching, and is also interested in teaching business.

So will professional Chinese teaching really happen in the locality, or will the opportunity be missed? It depends on the response from parent groups and school managements. Tina can be reached at [email protected].


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