Like every course in South West College, the delivery of Mandarin Chinese Language & Culture classes through our Confucius Hub has encountered no less, perhaps more hurdles in recent times.
With additional rigorous health checks, entrance exams, declarations, self-isolation and travel to contend with, it is understandable that our full complement of tutors have yet to arrive to start their classes.
However, this term we welcome TEN new tutors, alongside our two remaining tutors, to work across our three campuses – Enniskillen, Omagh and Dungannon plus one based in Newry who also falls under the guidance and leadership of SWC Confucius staff.
Following on from numerous meetings with Confucius Institute at Ulster University during lockdown, it was decided that classes, (September-December 2020) would be delivered virtually. If social distancing guidelines are eased, we hope that later in the year we can return to face-to-face delivery to our 4000+ students who study with us on the programme. This change to delivery has been warmly welcomed by schools who expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the continuation of the lessons which gives their pupils an invaluable insight into the language and culture of China.
Owing to the delayed arrival of the new tutors to our Hub, we are currently exploring the possibility of our new tutors delivering their teaching online in China before they arrive in Northern Ireland! Whilst there is no substitute for face-to-face teaching, this is an incredibly exciting development for remote delivery to our participating schools. Confucius Teaching and Learning Advisor Fey Cole said ‘Over the last term we have had to rethink our delivery models. To be at this point where we can start the new academic year with tutors delivering classes from Beijing to Fermanagh is very exciting and shows the strength of the Confucius Hub.’
This week saw Confucius lessons re-commence in our community. Mr Blaine Stewart, Principal of Derrygonnelly Primary School is delighted to welcome Ms Xu Haoying, who his staff and pupils fondly refer to as ‘Anna’, back to his school, albeit remotely on Monday morning, stating: “…. we were just so excited to welcome Anna back for our Mandarin lessons….thank you South West College.” Mr Stewart speaks very highly of the programme and the benefits it brings to his pupils. Part time language classes are available to both existing and new students. For more information on how to enrol, please contact Confucius Project Officer Linda Beatty at: Linda.Beatty@swc.ac.uk