I have been teaching Mandarin to a group of Year 7 and 8 students since the beginning of last year. The plan is to have two 30 minute (which are often shorter, as sessions tend to start at least five minutes late as students come from various classes to attend) classes a week for about 30 weeks of the school year. However, many of these 60 sessions are cancelled for various reasons.
The problem with so few sessions is that our students find it difficult to retain what they have learned, especially as the sessions take place on Thursday and Friday, meaning that there can be up to six days between sessions during the school term, and even longer over the term break holidays. There have been many occasions in which my group has performed very well with assessment tasks, but have struggled to retain knowledge over an extended period, despite regular revision sessions (although revision sessions can be quite brief because of the already limited time available to introduce new content).
To address this problem I have set up a blog to support student learning (click here to check it out). This will enable my students in their own time to check out revision material on current and past topics. In finding relevant content material my first port of call was You Tube. Here I found a video on the colours in Mandarin, perfect for what I needed. Students will be able to comment on posts, enabling me to see who has visited the site.
My Mandarin blog will become a key part of the Mandarin language programme. I am confident that it will both enhance learning and engagement of a group of already motivated students.