In 2012, the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, T.D. launched a new Transition Unit in Chinese developed jointly by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland, University College Dublin.
The unit is designed to introduce students to both traditional and modern aspects of Chinese culture and to support students learning some of the Chinese language, integrated into the teaching of each topic. The focus is on self-directed learning, awakening curiosity about the Chinese language and culture.
In order to broaden accessibility to Chinese to all schools, there was a strong emphasis on designing a transition unit that could be taught by Irish teachers, supported by relevant and interesting resources that would allow teachers and students to engage in a real way with Chinese language and culture.
The unit is supported by online materials, a DVD and a teacher’s handbook all available through the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland, University College Dublin.
In March to May 2013, the CII conducted a feedback survey among the teachers and students of 49 secondary schools, in order to know about their evaluation towards the TY Chinese culture and language course. Based upon the result of the survey, in July and August 2013, the CII organized Chinese teachers who are teaching in secondary schools to work on an updated version of Teaching Pack as a supplementary to the previous one. The updated version continued to focus on the core concept of “student-centered” on the basis of the learning characteristics and interests of TY students. It focuses on interactive classroom, rich multi-media and easy operation, thus was highly acclaimed by the teachers and students since September 2013.
Since June 2013, the CII has been working as a key partner in the research and development of Short Course Chinese, led by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). The course will be officially launched from 2014, which marks an iconic progress made in the promotion of Chinese language and culture in Ireland.