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China - Zero Carbon City Shanghai
China - Zero Carbon City Shanghai

Zero Carbon City Shanghai

The campaign got underway with a morning of training for exhibition facilitators at the offices of the British Council in Shanghai. 32 students from the Maritime University in Shanghai came along to volunteer to facilitate the workshops and help with the running of the exhibition generally.

The training focused on practising MUTR kit construction
The students were a delight to work with for their enthusiasm and creativity building Mickey Mouse faces, boats, planes and all manner of ‘gismos’ not to mention the solar-powered clocks, windmills and UV-warning badges.

Xu Ying gets the training under way…


The workshops was followed up with an interview at NetEase, Shanghai. The interview began with questions around the ZCC campaign and exhibition and then the ‘listeners’ chipped in with so many questions that there was little room for any of the planned agenda of discussion. Many of the questions given with such understanding of the issues related to Climate Change that I openly admit that they were beyond my own layperson’s knowledge. A number of browsers didn’t manage to put their questions as we ran out of time.
Questions related to the number of fridges beying used in China and possible consequences for the ozone layer; some participants discussed the growing wealth in Shanghai and the relationship this has with environmental problems; ‘environment’ was linked with the increasing number of dogs in the city and responsibility owners had for the mess they make; how can we, Shanghainese, equate the increase in cars in the city with out responsibilities to the environment?’; and similarities between London and Shanghai in terms of Climate Change were also mentioned among many many other issues.

The Shanghai Science and Technology Museum was the venue for the exhibition and wrap-around activities and I contributed to the first 5 days of the event. At several spot counts we had around 100 people working with us and watching on, nosey to find out what all the commotion was about and of course that was the whole point! The museum managers told us that they were expecting around 10,000 visitors per day given that we were working over the China National Day holidays.

After a grand opening, the Dongmen Primary School children from Chongming Island came and participated in the first wrap-around workshop, their art work decorating the exhibition area.

The magnificent building of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, our host venue.

The exhibition area was a great place to work for the week.

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Media coverage for the event was constant, everyday there appeared photographers and journalists eager to report what was going on and understand the concept behind the exhibition and wrap-around activities.
The aim was to offer practical activities for children and their parents to attract attention to the exhibition through related themes such as solar power and wind energy as well as UV radiation.

Father and daughter…                                                  
Mothers and sons…
We certainly attracted attention!
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The range of inventions and gismos was enormous!
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Chinese panda…                                                    planes… planes were popular…
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a radio…                                                                  super buggy…
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wind turbines…                                                           solar house…
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solar bird…                                                               solar peacock…                                     
We also offered an artists’ corner for children to create drawings using the photochromic uv-sensitive paint.
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We needed an extra pair of hands, 
ZeeCee (ZC = Zero Carbon) came to our rescue!
The place was like a bombsite after each session (very much a sign of productive work taking place, in my opinion)
Some couldn’t take the pace…

and I should like to thank the facilitator volunteers from the Shanghai Maritime University for their hard work and commitment to the event.
It was a truly unforgettable experience!
Many thanks to all the people who made it possible, I hope I can do it again sometime in the not-too-distant future!

China - Schools Links UK-China
China - Schools Links UK-China

Schools Links UK - China

The Cultural and Education Section of the British Consulate-General in Shanghai is running an exciting schools links programme where UK schools are partnered with Chinese schools to develop what is hoped will become a long term relationship.
Workshops for some of the schools involved in the programme were run in China on curriculum linking projects from September 20th to 23rd, 2005. Science Across the World internet exchange projects were presented to the schools with a focus on student investigations on themes related to the daily lives of the children in both countries. The programme is a good way of moving beyond the ‘pen pal’ exchange between schools and developing real curriculum links where students exchange information and materials related to their studies and the real world.
How the Science Across the World programme of exchange works:

  • students work through a themed project in school
  • they investigate an area of their lives related to the topic and gather results
  • they work on presenting their results for an ‘audience’, in this case a partner school in the UK
  • students exchange their findings with their partner school and compare results
  • ideally, this form of interaction with a partner school would move on to a new investigation and follow up exchange between the schools

In total we worked with 200 teachers and 150 students over the two weeks of activities. Some of the schools already had links with schools in the UK and along with new recruits much was done to boost the initiative thanks to the Science Across the World programme. We identified many key collegues to develop Science Across further in China and offer this free programme to more schools around the country. Many thanks to Mr Fan of the Putuo District for his enthusiasm and willingness to take the programme further in Shanghai and to all those people who made this such an exciting and memorable visit. I myself will be working with key partner schools back in the UK including the Essex group of schools linked with Jiangsu Province and will make contact with other schools and regions I know are linked with China and we’ll see what we can do to bring both sides into the Science Across family.
Thanks, especially, to the British Council in China for making this happen. It was a particularly effective initiative for many reasons not least because of the coordination involved in communication and organisation in putting on so many workshops with teachers and students.

The School Links Programme of acitivities in China
Tuesday, 20th Sept

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No. 2 Middle School, Shanghai

12-14 year olds at the Middle School carried out the ZCC Exhibition ‘Climate Change Kits’ activities as part of the week of events (kits available from Middlesex University Teaching Resources
Children built all manner of solar powered gismos including solar-powered clocks with an environmental theme including UV-warning badges, aeroplanes, boats and cars, and also wind turbines in a practical lesson as a warm up to the teachers’ Schools Links workshop.

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The teachers workshop was attended by 15 teachers from the schools in the area who are working with their partner schools in Norfolk, UK. The workshop focused on introducing the Science Across the World programme into the school curriculum and carrying out the research as a means of developing mutual understanding between children and teachers at the partner schools.
The teachers considered examples of culturally-specific investigations and activities for their own partnership which included Beijing students developing their own range of Chinese cosmetics in the classroom.
The afternoon saw us on a fast boat to Chongming Island and the Dongmen Primary School, the host of the next day’s activities.

Wednesday, 21st Sept Chongming Island

Chongming is a nature reserve to a variety of bird and other animal and plant life which is a wonderful example of the kind of context ideal for a Science Across exchange project. We discovered the delights of the Hairy River Crab!

Jane Henry of the British Council in Shanghai opens the teachers’ meeting…

We also caused quite a stir among the primary school children who seemed to enjoy having foreigners on campus.


The school hosted a presentation to over 70 teachers from the island where a schools links initiative is being developed with schools in Cheshire with the help of colleagues at Salford University. Even with such a large group we managed to carry out some of the Science Across survey activities such as the ‘speed reaction’ test.


Children from the school will also be participating in the ZCC Exhibition with examples of their art prints.
A storm and choppy Yangtse River had us a little worried about the return to the mainland, but the storm passed quickly after knocking over several bicycles in the streets and flooding the waiting room at the port.

Thursday, 22nd Sept Jiangsu Schools

The next day took us by train across to the neighbouring province of Jiangsu where we were met the group of headteachers and deputy heads from schools linked with Essex schools. The event was hosted by the Jiangsu Provincial Education Department by Stephen He, Chief Officer for International Links at the division, and by his boss, Mr Yu.
The 15 colleagues were nodding in all the right places during the presentation when offered examples of ways for creating a rich exchange with a UK school.


Discussion on follow up revolved around problems to do with the heavy curriculum senior school students are faced with and how to accommodate the Science Across the World programme in such a situation. The discussion came up with a number of possible ways ahead including making use of the ‘hobby hours’ in the schools where students work in interest group focusing on investigation, an ideal context for Science Across work.

Friday, 23rd Sept The Nanjing Yuhuatai High School

The Nanjing Yuhuatai High School has 3000 students and is set in a beautiful campus will luscious gardens and a peaceful environment for hard studying. The school played host to our workshop for more DIY activities with students.

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Choosing winners for the British Council prizes, sets of Penguin classics, was difficult but we concentrated on their team work and finally chose two excellent creations.
Small Talk, an English language programme from a provincial educational TV channel cam e to invterview us and the students presented their inventions and talked about the experience. This should mean that the initiative will go out to many thousands of viewers via the programme in Jiangsu Province.


Monday, 26th Sept Pudong New Area, Shanghai

Went to the Jianping Senior High School in Pudong New Area today to work with teachers from the area looking to build school links in the UK, our hosts already with a link with a school in Kent…

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The children are following a bilingual system studying music, sport, art, and technology in English.
I’m not surprised that they didn’t have any problems, despite their age, with the science kits after seeing their own creative works presented to us.

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A wonderful group of children, and very enthusiastic and friendly staff. Many thanks to all at the school for their warmth and welcome.

Tuesday, 27th Sept Putuo District, Shanghai

Putuo District Education Authority Teacher Training Institute hosted a meeting for 60 teachers looking to develop links with UK schools, some already with school links in Dorking and with schools in Lancashire.

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Mr. Fan, Dep Dir for Education in the district was keen to exploit the Science Across the World programme, and will pilot Science Across in schools and look into the possibility of translations of materials into Chinese, and encourage schools to develop their own investigations. I will send Mr Fan the templates for SAW materials to help him do this.
The Lan Tian Middle school was a delight, already using the ‘hobby hours’ to do creative project work, the students were more than ready to get into the MUTR kits with gusto.

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With no sunshine we had to resort to other measures…
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Winners and the whole group…

Wednesday, 28th Sept Luwan District, Shanghai

Luwan Senior High School linked with the Colne School in Essex, UK played host to our visit today.

We had a workshop with Senior 1 students from the school, aged 16-17 years and who exhibited a wonderful imagination for the creative side to the design and construction of the MUTR kits.
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Dasheng and I were given a tour of the school and shown some of the great projects the school is involved in including the robotics workshop and the ‘Odyssey of the Mind’ project for integrating talents within students through Science and Arts.

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20 teachers from the Luwan district senior high schools and middle schools came to the workshop on Science Across the World and were keen to make the most the programme offers for developing effective links with schools not only in the UK but all over the world.

Science Across the World Workshop

1. Introduction to SAW
  • What did you eat? Daily diet
  • Things to do with an exchange form

Colleagues look at the What did you eat? exchange form and consider the value of such cultural comparison for school links projects.

2. Looking at sample Science Across topics
Talking about Genetics Variation
  • Collecting and Communicating Information

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Biodiversity around Us biome survey
  • Biodiversity map of China

Students choose a local area and plot out a map of the biodiversity found there…

Domestic waste Recycling action plan
Students examine the treatment of domestic waste and consider introducing their own school recycling action plan…
Keeping Healthy Injury deaths in young people
Science Across the World offers a wide range of information pages relevant to the topics being studied…

Road Safety Reaction speed test
Students carry out practical tests to contextualise the science themes at the heart of the topics in the materials packs. These include the ‘speed reaction tests’ where students consider the dangers on the roads in general and the importance of reaction when thinking about safety.

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Chemistry in our lives cosmetics production

Students produce and market their own chemical products with a local flavour, such as hair gel, shampoo and bath salts…

3. Signing up to Science Across the World
  • The Science Across website

Teachers went through the signing up process on the website…


4. Following up

Teachers were asked to consider how they could use the Science Across programme and what to do with an exchange partner.
Discuss in groups, plan time scale, send to partner schools.
It was a very very full week of school visits and workshops with both teachers and students.
I have been impressed with the British Council management of the initiative and many thanks go to Dasheng for her impeccable organisation skills, as well as to the schools themselves, for their enthusiasm and warmth.

Can’t wait to come back and see how they are getting on ‘school-linking’.

China - Zero Carbon City Exhibition, Beijing
China - Zero Carbon City Exhibition, Beijing

Zero Carbon City Exhibition, Beijing, China, Sept 4th to 11th, 2005

The Education and Cultural Section of the British Embassy in China ( opened the ZCC Exhibition at the Planetarium Beijing on Monday, Set 5th, 2005 guests included Ian Pearson, British Minister for International Trade.

A group of 30 children from a Beijing Junior Middle School came for a workshop involving the construction of a solar-powered clock, a wind turbine and a ‘gismo’ of their choice as well the creation of a UV-warning badge which they wore throughout the day in the Beijing sunshine. 

Beijing Planetarium

=12.7272720336914pxLuckily we were protected by two large umbrellas.


The activities were very busy and intensive and as always the children produced some wonderful inventions including a reproduction of a food mixer, a robot with twirling parasol, several attempts at solar-powered cars, planes, boats, as well as a ‘crazy face’ with spinning eyes and a ‘bingo box’.

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These activities are the creation of the Middlesex University Teaching Resources unit (
Zhoa Wei, Lili, Oliver and Wang Ping spent the day helping out and dealing with all of the fiddly bits the children had problems with. Many thanks to them.

This day marked the opening of the Exhibition tour in China but preparation has been going on for a long time. The day before brought 30 teachers and post-grad students together to work on the issues behind the Exhibition as well as getting their hands on the kits and considering potential problems.

Facilitators and teachers at the opening workshop

The third day of my facilitating the wrap around activities was again very intensive. We had a spot check head count at several points and the peak reached 60 participants. We were literally run off our feet.

Sunday, 10th September, 2005

Wonderful turnout today, I thought yesterday was busy, our on the spot head count gave 80 participants. Offically the biggest lesson I have ever been involved in!
There was even a moment where we had to apologise and turn people away for the time being as we gave our attention to a group of Beijing school children who had booked a ZCC wrap-around activities session.


Wang produced the biggest solar-powered aeroplane I have yet to witness, and all from recycled parts and materials.

We busied the passing visitors big and small with painting and drawing and a mini exhibition within the ZCC exhibition quickly appeared.

Many many thanks to all of the BC ZCC exhibition facilitators for all of their help and patience in dealing with the crowds so well and running around for things to keep the show running smoothly.
On to Shanghai…


China - Celebrating Science in China
China - Celebrating Science in China

Celebrating Science in China
The Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy, Beijing, China

Day 1 – Saturday July 10
Designing and launching rockets at the Number 4 High School, Beijing
Early morning…
60 teachers and students came along from Beijing schools to observe model lessons being offered on teaching science through the medium of English.

Helen Halligan of CES opens the workshop

The busy day started in a superbly equipped seminar room in the school where Keith began his rockets lesson with students from the High School Affiliated to Beijing Normal University with and their teacher April Dong.


Keith explained basic ideas behind rocket design, and that there would be a prize for the best design, flight and presentation of rockets. Students were asked to consider factors which might effect the success of their launch and flight such as rocket design, length, gluing and wings/fins.

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After the practical activity of building rockets, the 7 groups of students and teachers went outside into the school yard, in the blazing heat, to begin the launching.
Wonderfully, the first rocket explodes and all the others soared high into the sky to gasps and the delight of the audience gathered.
Back inside students prepared their presentations within a limited time and they were offered support sheets and frames with structures and phrases to help them do this. The students gave very good presentations making use of models and schematic drawings on the OHP.
The judges’ decision was very difficult. Prizes donated by the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Beijing of a copy of Nick Park’s ‘A Grand Day Out’ and a copy one of the Horrible Science book series were presented to the winners.


Lesson 2
After these students had left another group arrived from the host school for a second demo lesson in Biology from a colleague, Helen, who taught students ‘Energy Flow in an Ecosystem’ where students worked in groups to visualise the stages and levels of the food chain. We learnt a lot about the importance of using diagrams and visuals for supporting language development in bilingual Science.
Helen followed this lesson up by taking questions from the teachers on the risks and benefits of teaching through the medium of English.


After lunch…
We picked up again on some of the points raised in the discussion before lunch and looked in more detail at some of the significant aspects of the lessons, which had been video recorded for this purpose and which CES intend to use for further teacher development in Science and ELT. The themes we focused on included: the language of instructions, supporting students’ language in making presentations, and setting up and managing group work.
We evaluated the day by carrying out an ‘argument cluster’ activity that gave us some useful feedback on what participants valued about the day, and what they would like to see in a future workshop, such as the teaching methods, practical activities and access to resources.


The day ended with a thunderstorm and flooding. After waiting for some time ‘we’ found a taxi that drove us through the submarine section of the city. Together with Helen, Xioadan from the CES and colleagues we enjoyed a joyful dinner in nice surroundings in restaurant Kè Jía on Lake Kè Jía Jǐu Lóu as it continued to rain!
A great start to a weekend of ‘Celebrating Science’!

Day 2 – Sunday July 11 2004
Chemistry in our Lives: Workshop on Cosmetics

Number 4 High School, Beijing, China

A day of science celebration took place in Beijing, China yesterday, Sunday 11th July, as 3 workshops were carried out on cosmetics within the Teaching Science through English project of the British Council in China.
60 students and teachers came together over the day working in small groups to produce their own range of hair gels, shampoos, and bath salts in a limited time, creating an image and a brand for their products which they were asked to present to the group towards the end of the workshop. The British Council offered Science books for young people as prizes for the group which produced the best cosmetics and offered the most convincing pitch for their product. It was all done through the medium of English.


I had the privilege of assisting Lida during the workshops and eventually lost my sense of smell and got used to the strong whiff of perfume that had saturated the air in the classroom over the 5 hours or so that we worked.


I expected the presentations to cause difficulties, but was impressed with the enthusiasm of the students for the presentations, as well as their ability to put together a presentation outlining the main characteristics of their products and manage a bit of sales patter as well ‘our first customer will receive a free gift’.
We had hair gel with the brand name ‘Transfiguration’, and the bath salts called ‘Miracle’, or the products from the ‘Gobblin’ brand for children who want to make themselves look particularly horrible for Halloween, and there was the line of products moulded around the concept of the elements to reflect images of water, earth, and nature.
It was a Sunday and after the last day of the school year on Friday it was great to have so much enthusiasm for an extra day’s work, for the students and their teachers especially after what felt like it must have been a tropical storm had caused so much havoc with traffic and house damage for families and colleagues in Beijing and beyond.
The presentations were excellent and the teachers clearly enjoyed being able to join in as well, though we made them beg first!
Final words…
The British Council is doing a lot of work in Science and ELT with its programme ‘Teaching Science in English’ and its Science Summer Camps for teachers, not to mention the very successful school links that have been developed through the Science Across the World programme (0), especially with schools in Shanghai and the UK. You can find lots of ideas like the Rocket building and cosmetics workshop at the Science Across the World website, and the FACTWorld website ( Lida and I have been working on a new project which we hope we will be able to bring back to the wonderful colleagues and students we met over these two days, and that is the IUPAC and GSK funded Young Ambassadors of Chemistry project where we will be offering Science Celebration Days around the world with the help of young people and their teachers (an outline of the project is online at
It’s always a pleasure to be in China and I hope we can come back soon!


China - Science Across the World in Beijing
China - Science Across the World in Beijing

Science Across the World in Beijing, March 2004
Teaching Science Through English

English as a Medium of Instruction
The Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Beijing is setting up a project for Science teachers working through the medium of English, English teachers and materials developers. As part of this initiative three days of workshops were carried out exploring the issues involved in teaching content through the medium of English from March 16-18, 2004 at the High School Affiliated to Beijing Normal University in the heart of Beijing, China.
At the heart of the workshops was the introduction of Science Across the World and the opportunities the programme offers to teachers and students to communicate on Science issues with teachers and students in countries around the world.

  • Aims of the seminars:
    1. To develop the skills and expertise of teachers and teacher trainers in the teaching of other subjects through the medium of English as a foreign or second language.
    2. To identify key teachers, educators to take the project forward to the next phase of preparing effective materials in English for teaching purposes.
    3. To create network of teachers interested in teaching through the medium of English

Helen gets us started…
  • Programme
    • An introduction to the issues of teaching through the medium of English and a presentation of the Science Across the World programme of schools’ exchange projects.
    • Exploring the Science Across the World materials through the website ( and signing up to the programme.
    • Looking at the ‘language of thinking across the curriculum’ and example materials using English as a medium of instruction.
    • Producing materials for teaching English as a medium of instruction.

… signing up to Science Across…
  • Outcomes
    • Key colleagues were identified to help represent and develop the Science Across the World programme in China including commencing the process of translation of the materials into Chinese.
    • 120 teachers were signed up to Science Across the World over the three days.
    • 50 teachers joined the FACTWorld ( network of teachers working through the medium of foreign languages in their teaching.
    • Materials were created which will now be shared among the group via the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy, China.

…lunch in the famous Peking Duck restaurant…
  • Possible Follow up
    • The Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy, China will explore running summer courses and activities for teachers and their students based on materials and themes using English as a medium of instruction.
    • Teachers were provided with a materials booklet containing 5 of the packs from Science Across the World as well as ideas and language for working with them through the medium of English.
    • Teachers in China will begin to work on Science Across the World projects, make contact with classrooms in other countries and exchange ethnographic scientific surveys of their daily lives. This will form the basis of discussion in the FACTWorld network email group.
    • Key colleagues will begin translating materials into Chinese.
    • A teacher from the High School Affiliated to Beijing Normal University has agreed to work with SAW for China offering the possibility of adding a China perspective to future materials.

… the language of rubbish…
… exploring the language of data…
  • Thanks
    • Thanks to the Mr Liu Principal of the High School Affiliated to Beijing Normal University for hosting the event and providing the wonderful facilities which made much of the workshop possible and a success. Thanks also to the school staff for being there to help and keep the workshop running smoothly, especially April Dong.
    • Thanks to the Beijing Municipal Education Commission for their support in organising this event.
    • Thanks to the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Beijing for providing this opportunity for teachers in China to become part of the wonderful community of Science Across the World.
    • Thanks to all the teachers who came along and participated so willingly and actively.

Special thanks also to Helen Halligan and An Xiaodan of the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Beijing for their faultless organisation and coordination of the whole event. I am certain that this initiative will lead to a wonderful partnership for Science Across the World and the teachers of China!

China - Science Across the World in Shenyang
China - Science Across the World in Shenyang

Science Across comes to China!

Shenyang ELT Roadshow, February 9-19th, 2004
Liaoning Basic Education Research and Training Centre

Science Across the World came to China during a ten day in-service teacher training course held for primary and middle school teachers from the Shenyang region of Northern Eastern China from February 9-19th, 2004 with 70 participants.

The course itself looked at good practice for teaching young learners of English and offered participants an insight into current trends in methodology, classroom practice and task design.

The Liaoning Basic Education Research and Training Centre hosted the event and provided excellent administrative support.The intensive programme had a practical focus with an emphasis on providing participants with ideas and materials to take back to their classrooms.The course is part of an extensive British Council/NILE initiative in collaboration with local institutions offering teachers in China the latest in teaching ideas and classroom practice.


A popular aspects of the course was Science Across the World programme of school exchange projects. Teachers in China don’t get a lot of opportunity to communicate with classrooms, teachers and children in other countries and these colleagues were keen to sign up.


All of the 70 participants were offered free subscription to Science Across the World. This is part of an initiative to expand the programme in specific regions around the world, of which China is one.The teachers were enthusiastic and welcomed ideas offered and they had a thing or two to teach the tutors about the reality of teaching 60-70 children in schools in China!


The teachers were presented with certificates recognising their attendance and the work done.

The food was fantastic!

Course tutors were Keith Kelly and Laura Renart, Associate Tutors with NILE.

Many thanks go to local colleagues (Linda and daughter Linda, Diana, Mary) for their hard work and patience and for looking after us. Thanks also go to the participants for their hard work and enthusiasm.