The past and present of Chinese language teaching in Ireland

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Osborne, Caitrí­ona
Zhang, Qi
Xia, Yongbin
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China’s booming economy is indeed one ofthe main reasons for the popularity oflearning Chinese as a foreign language (henceforth CFL). With this growing interest in CFL, Ireland is likely to be behind global trends as Chinese is not yet included as a State-examined subject at any level in the Irish schooling system. Chinese language teaching (henceforth CLT) began to develop significantly in formal UK schooling during 2004-2005 (Zhang & Li, 2010), whereas the earliest occurrence ofCLT seen in the Irish education system was in 2006-2007 when two Confucius Institutes were set up in Ireland. During this time, Mandarin Chinese was also introduced first as a subject and later as a degree in some higher education institutions in Ireland. The current study reviews the past and present of CLT in Ireland at second and tertiary level. This information, together with survey data collected among approximately 3,700 students learning CFL in Irish schools as a subject not examined by the State, provides recommendations for a future State-examined CFL course to be introduced to Irish secondary schools. These recommendations include items such as contact hours, tasks, and content to be implemented in the classroom. Further recommendations are also supplied in relation to the bridging of secondary and tertiary-level CLT. These recommendations come in light offormer Irish Minister for Education Richard Bruton's announcement that Chinese will be taught on the State-examined school curriculum as part ofthe Languages Connect strategy plan.
Chinese as a foreign language , Ireland , Chinese language teaching , Chinese language pedagogy
Osborne, C., Zhang, Q., Xia, Y. (2019) 'The past and present of Chinese language teaching in Ireland', Chinese Language Teaching Methodology and Technology, 2(1), pp. 32-53. Available at: (Accessed: 11 September 2019)
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