What is the current state of learning about China in British education today? In recent years, the authentic discovery, understanding, and learning of Chinese culture has been marred by the political discourse that continues to attach itself when discussions about China take place. Whenever China or China’s relationship with countries such as the UK are brought to light by mainstream media, the overwhelming focus is placed on politics, international relations, and economics.
Both China-affiliated and foreign media outlets are guilty of this proclivity. After all, articles with sensational headlines receive the majority of viewership and clicks, which are prioritized by publications these days. And while it is important to raise awareness of news and current events that may affect the average person, this type of attention towards China undermines and hinders progress towards helping people understand Chinese culture.
Unfortunately, conversations about China in British education continue to be absent across schools and universities in the UK. Recently, the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) published a new report titled ‘Understanding China: The Study of China and Mandarin in UK schools and universities’. You can read the full report here.
Deeper Conversations about China in British Education
It’s a thorough and fascinating document of research that details problems concerning the noticeable knowledge deficit of China in British education. The report compartmentalizes the study of Chinese across all education levels in great-depth, citing data that corroborates the dichotomy that while China’s role in the world has increased, interest in studying Chinese has decreased.
It’s an extraordinary reality that a country with such pervasive global influence isn’t widely researched, discussed, or understood amongst populations outside of China. For most average citizens, people know about China, but they don’t know of China. In other words, people have a vague and general idea of what China is, but beyond the superficial knowledge they cannot elaborate further and discuss intricate details of Chinese culture.
The association between China and political discourse isn’t going to go away anytime soon. However, in the meantime, topics concerning China could be better contextualized and understood if people had a stronger and accurate grasp of Chinese culture. After all, culture affects our way of life, behavior, attitudes, and much more!
The HEPI Report
As noted in the HEPI report, there is an absence of studying the Chinese language and China in British education. While Confucius Institutes (Chinese state-sponsored institutions which aim to teach Mandarin and promote Chinese culture) have been developed over the years in the UK, they still remain few and far between (there are currently only 29 Confucius Institutes on UK campuses).
The report writes that Confucius Institutes appear only to be successful in introducing entry-level Mandarin learning and understanding of Chinese culture. Unfortunately, they haven’t demonstrated success to facilitate teaching advanced levels of Mandarin, or captivate students strongly enough to pursue studying Chinese culture further.
Interestingly, the report suggests that the stark language and cultural barrier between Chinese and English is at play for obstructing the progression in learning about China in British education. The report cites that the language barrier between Mandarin and English is aggravated by institutions recruiting primarily native Mandarin speakers from China who are accustomed to Chinese methods of education and pedagogy, and have a comparably narrower understanding of British culture.
Ideally, institutions would recruit British-trained teachers who have a strong grasp of both English and Mandarin. These teachers would offer a pedagogical approach that emphasizes with the struggles that English speakers typically face when learning Mandarin. Fortunately, WildChina Education provides multiple solutions towards this dilemma.
WildChina Education’s Role
What separates WildChina Education from other Chinese culture and language services is our foundation. Our team consists of a blend of Chinese and international academics that have accumulated both real-world and academic experience living and breathing Chinese culture. From there, we’ve been able to curate and launch bespoke online and offline programs that introduce Chinese culture in fun, creative, and imaginative ways. All of our programs circumvent the current travel restrictions that currently prohibit foreign visitors from entering China due to COVID-19 – so there’s no excuse!
Right now, WildChina Education has several programs available for enrollment that are guaranteed to elevate your knowledge and expand your understanding of Chinese culture.
Chinese Culture in Singapore
Starting off with Singapore, our Chinese Culture in Singapore Program offers students the opportunity to travel to Singapore, a country located in South East Asia that has deep historical ties with China. WildChina Education has curated multiple learning programs in Singapore. Our programs fulfill different objectives, but take students on a journey that has them visiting the best sites that Singapore has to offer, as well completing a range of fun activities. Our program fully utilizes historical sites and institutions that Singapore has to offer.
To learn more about our Chinese Culture in Singapore Program, check out one of our latest articles here.
China Virtual Programs
What if you’re currently unable to travel, or just want to learn more about China in the comfort of your home? In that case, you’ll want to consider enrolling in our many China Virtual Programs.
Our classes are customized to accomplish your desired learning objectives and academic needs. We’ve worked with global academic institutions in providing a holistic learning experience to students that help students understand the traditionalism and modernity that makes China what it is today.
WildChina Education gathers industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs based in China together to take part in engaging and interactive thematic tech roundtable discussions. Each session is guided by two speakers so that each guest speaker can provide their insight in greater detail to the students without worrying about time constraints. Students that enroll in our Thematic Roundtable Discussions will gain exclusive access to insight on a variety of important topics related to conducting business successfully in China’s technological market.
To learn more about our Virtual Offerings, click here.
In the future, WildChina Education will continue to curate and launch tours of China that range in topics and scope. From the history of the CCP’s founding, animal conversation, to mega city tours and classical Chinese history, we are committed to making sure that, when it comes to learning about China, no stone is left unturned.
It’s time for action. WildChina Education can help you achieve your goals in studying Chinese culture and language with authenticity and without limitations.
For more information, contact us here and start learning about China!