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Teaching Chinese culture
The North East of Scotland is taking the lead in the use of technology to share learning resources about China.
Schools Minister Keith Brown opened a new Confucius Classroom Hub for the region today. Covering Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus and Moray, this is Scotland's eighth hub, fulfilling an agreement that Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) signed with the Chinese authorities in April 2008 to open eight Confucius Classroom Hubs within one year.
The latest hub is based at Hazlehead Academy in Aberdeen and will provide a central learning point to primary and secondary schools across the North East for Chinese culture, language, heritage, history, art, food, music and sport.
To help overcome the wide geographical spread of the region, the North East Confucius Classroom Hub will use Glow, the innovative intranet for Scottish schools, to share resources. This will also allow inter-school video communication to share the best approaches in implementing Chinese learning.
Speaking at today's launch event for the new hub at the Aberdeen Exhibition Centre, Mr Brown said:
"The influence that China has on the world economy is increasing and it is important that we do all we can to prepare our young people for life in a globalised, multicultural society.
"The North East Confucius Classroom Hub will benefit many pupils across the entire region. The hub is leading the way for developing resources that schools can share online and the other hubs across Scotland will be looking to learn from the approach taken in the North East.
"Curriculum for Excellence has a focus on developing pupils' understanding of Scotland's place in the world, while also encouraging schools to take new and innovative ways to teaching and learning. Given its pioneering use of online resources in particular, the North East Confucius Classroom Hub will excel on both of these fronts.
"Pupils from the North East will be among the 50 young people who will take part in a study visit to China this summer and be immersed in Chinese language and culture, enabling the hub to share first-hand experiences of China."
Bernard McLeary, Chief Executive of LTS, which supports all eight Confucius Classrooms across the country, said:
"The North East hub will take full advantage of the benefits of Glow to allow teachers and pupils in each local authority to collaborate with each other, share resources and experiences and link up with other schools in China, all in a safe and secure online environment.
"Young Scots need to be outward looking, not only to face the challenges of globalisation but to embrace the opportunities it offers and the Confucius hubs are helping develop pupils' skills and experiences and open up new horizons for their future. Developing an international education within Curriculum for Excellence ensures these skills are embedded in learning throughout education.
"This is an innovative hub, not only in the technology and resources it will be using but also as it brings together four local authorities to work in partnership, building on and sharing experience."
Further Confucius hubs have been opened in East Dunbartonshire (St Ninian's High), West Lothian (Bathgate Academy), Edinburgh (St George's School), Perth and Kinross (Perth High) and for East, North & South Ayrshire (Grange Academy) and Glasgow (Hillhead High).
The North East Confucius Classroom Hub will utilise Glow to develop online resource sharing between schools. Glow is the world's first national education intranet which will join up every local authority, school, teacher and pupil in Scotland in a safe and secure online environment. Glow offers the modern technology for innovative learning and teaching approaches, allowing schools to collaborate, share resources, motivate learners and personalise learning.
In April 2008 the Scottish Government agreed a new Memorandum of Understanding with China. The focus of the memorandum is to strengthen educational co-operation between China and Scotland, support and promotes the development of Chinese language and culture and increase mutual understanding between the two countries.
A two and a half week study visit to China will take place this summer and include participants from the 13 local authorities involved in the eight Confucius Classroom Hubs. Pupils will attend Chinese language classes as well as undertaking other cultural and learning activities. The study visit is being organised by LTS and the British Council, alongside the Chinese authorities. The Scottish Government (via LTS) is making a substantial contribution to the costs of pupils' travel.
There are currently 13 Chinese Language Assistants working across seven local authorities in Scottish schools, a rise from eight last year. These assistants are qualified teachers and help schools in the learning and teaching of Chinese language and culture. This programme is managed by the British Council Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government.
Learning and Teaching Scotland is the body responsible for the development and support of the curriculum in Scotland. LTS works in partnership with local authorities to support the establishment of Confucius Classrooms and develop international education in Scottish schools.