China visit to inspire new teaching ideas

(Back, right) Jonathan McCready, head of Politics at Carrickfergus College, and fellow teachers met with Louise Greer (front right), Education manager at British Council Northern Ireland, for a debriefing session prior to their departure to China. INCT 51-756-CON
(Back, right) Jonathan McCready, head of Politics at Carrickfergus College, and fellow teachers met with Louise Greer (front right), Education manager at British Council Northern Ireland, for a debriefing session prior to their departure to China. INCT 51-756-CON

A Carrickfergus teacher has expressed the hope that an international study visit will further cement links between the town and China.

Jonathan McCready, head of Politics at Carrickfergus College, was one of 15 teachers from Northern Ireland who spent a week in the Henan Province through the China Bridge programme.

The initiative, which is organised by the British Council in conjunction with the Confucius Institute, saw participants visit schools and school boards to gain an insight into China’s educational system.

Speaking about the experience, Mr McCready said: “Carrickfergus College have a long history of promoting the international dimension across the curriculum. The opportunity to take part in this visit will help us further develop our links with China which have already begun through the Confucius Classroom Project.

“Students at Carrickfergus College have had the opportunity to study Mandarin with our Chinese teacher Ms Chen Yong, and this visit will hopefully enable us to develop links with Chinese schools which will help support the long term sustainability of this new initiative.”

Previous schools who have taken part in the programme have gone on to forge connections with Chinese schools with some taking on a language assistant to help teach Mandarin.

Jonathan Stewart, deputy director at British Council Northern Ireland, said: “International Study Visits aim to inspire new approaches to teaching across the curriculum. It’s great for teachers from Northern Ireland to learn from colleagues and peers in another country and to develop new insights and understandings.”