School of Education

Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other languages student profiles

Tina and Yunyun describe why they chose to study at the University of Nottingham, their experience of the course and how it has helped develop their careers. 


Huei-Ting Kuo MA TCSOL studentHuei-Ting (Tina) Kuo

Year of graduation: 2022
Study: Full-time
Home country: Taiwan


Why did you choose to study at the University of Nottingham?

The university has an excellent reputation in the field of education, and it is also the only university that offered my desired area of study, which is Mandarin teaching.

How do you hope this course will help with your career in the future?

My pursuit of an MA TCSOL has been instrumental in advancing my career in the UK. Throughout my studies, I had numerous opportunities to voluntarily teach Mandarin at local primary and secondary schools in Nottingham. This invaluable experience provided me with a deeper understanding of British school culture and a firsthand glimpse into the UK working environment. It was these voluntary experiences that solidified my determination to work in schools upon completing my studies. 

Furthermore, the work experience I gained during my studies has proven to be a significant advantage in job applications. I have received multiple job offers from schools, with one employer expressing admiration for the amount of teaching experience I acquired in the UK despite my relatively short stay of one year.

Was there a particular module that you enjoyed the most?

The module that I particularly enjoyed was the language methodology module. It provided me with an opportunity to explore various teaching methods, such as task-based language learning, communicative language teaching, and total physical response . What made this module my favourite was the practicality of the theories I learned, which can be directly applied in a classroom setting. For example, during my voluntary teaching experience, I successfully implemented total physical response in a Mandarin lesson at a primary school, and the students seemed to thoroughly enjoy the lesson.

This module prompted me to delve deeper into one specific method - task-based language learning. As a result, I became more aware of the learning challenges and potential risks associated with this approach. For instance, I became more alert to unequal contributions from learners during a task and the potential for miscommunication. Additionally, I learned how to adapt different tasks to various contexts, such as online teaching. I firmly believe that this module has equipped me with a diverse range of teaching methods that can cater to the individual needs of my students.

What was the best part of the course?

Aside from the modules mentioned earlier, one aspect that truly stands out as the best part of this course is the opportunity to engage in small group discussions. These intimate group settings provide students with a platform to share ideas, engage in meaningful discussions, and draw inspiration from one another. Personally, I found immense value in collaborating with my peers, particularly when it came to preparing lesson plans. 

The process of working alongside fellow language teachers exposed me to a wealth of unique teaching techniques and approaches. Each individual brings their own set of experiences and expertise, resulting in a rich tapestry of learning games, activities, and lesson plans. It has been fascinating to witness the diversity in teaching styles and to learn from one another's creative methods. 

These collaborative sessions not only enhanced my own teaching skills but also broadened my perspective on language education. By actively exchanging ideas and incorporating the best practices shared within our cohort, I gained a comprehensive toolkit of innovative teaching strategies. The experience of collective brainstorming and the cross-pollination of ideas have undoubtedly enriched my learning journey throughout the course.

How have you been supported on the course?

Throughout my study at the university, I received excellent support that played a pivotal role in my academic journey. The university provided an array of student support services, and I made full use of them during my academic year. One notable support service I availed myself of was the academic English writing courses offered by the Centre for English Language Education (CELE). 

Participating in these courses not only enhanced my writing skills but also provided valuable feedback on my assignment drafts. As a non-native student, this support was particularly beneficial to me. The dedicated instructors at CELE meticulously reviewed my work and offered constructive suggestions for improvement. I am deeply grateful for their assistance in honing my academic writing abilities. 

Moreover, I would like to express my appreciation for my tutor, Xin Gao, who demonstrated unwavering support throughout the course. She patiently addressed any questions and consistently offered guidance to enhance the quality of our assignments. I observed that she went above and beyond by providing detailed feedback on our assignments and recommending additional readings for future improvement. Her dedication and commitment to her students' success are truly commendable. 

Notably, Xin Gao's support extended beyond academics. She regularly checked on our well-being, ensuring that we were coping well with the demands of the course. This personal touch demonstrated her genuine care for her students and created a supportive and nurturing learning environment. I am grateful for her efforts in going the extra mile to ensure our overall well-being. 

Overall, the comprehensive support I received from the university's student support services and my dedicated tutor significantly contributed to my success and wider experience during the course.

Why do you think potential students should chose this course?

There are several compelling reasons why I believe students should consider choosing this course. Firstly, it offers a comprehensive exploration of theories related to Mandarin teaching and learning. This knowledge equips teachers with the necessary tools to effectively plan their lessons and cater to the diverse needs of their students. By gaining insights into different learning styles and strategies, educators are empowered to create engaging and impactful learning experiences in the classroom. 

Secondly, the course encourages the development of critical thinking skills through research. This emphasis on research equips teachers with the ability to think critically, analyse educational practices, and bring innovation into their classrooms. Throughout my studies on the MA TCSOL, I found inspiration in incorporating technology into education. By exploring digital resources and understanding the advantages and potential risks, I discovered new ways to enhance Mandarin language learning experiences through the integration of technology. 

Additionally, this course fosters an environment that promotes collaboration and sharing among students. The opportunity to engage with a diverse cohort of fellow language teachers provides a rich platform for exchanging ideas, techniques, and best practices. This collaborative approach not only expands one's professional network but also encourages continuous growth and improvement as an educator. 

In conclusion, choosing this course offers aspiring language teachers the opportunity to gain a solid foundation in Mandarin teaching theories, develop critical thinking skills, and embrace innovation in education. It provides a supportive and stimulating environment for personal and professional growth, making it an ideal choice for those passionate about making a positive impact in the field of language education

Do you have any advice for anyone considering this course?

Absolutely! My advice to prospective students considering this course is to embrace challenges and never underestimate your potential for growth. It is natural to feel apprehensive, especially when undertaking research and coursework in a language that may not be your first. However, looking back on my own experience, I can confidently say that the support and assistance provided at Nottingham were invaluable. 

One piece of advice is to remember that you are not alone. The university offers a robust support system to help students overcome any obstacles they may encounter. Don't hesitate to reach out to your tutors, lecturers, or support services whenever you face challenges or have questions. They are there to guide and support you, ensuring that you have the resources and assistance needed to succeed. 

Furthermore, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and explore new avenues of learning. Take advantage of the diverse range of opportunities provided by the course and the university. Engage in discussions, collaborate with fellow students, and actively participate in research projects. By embracing these experiences, you will discover your true potential and uncover new passions and interests. 

Lastly, make the most of your student life. University offers a unique environment that encourages personal and academic growth. Take time to enjoy the journey, engage in extracurricular activities, and build connections with your peers. Cherish the friendships and memories you create along the way.

In summary, my advice is to approach this course with a positive mindset, embrace challenges, utilise the available support, and fully immerse yourself in the learning experience. Your time at Nottingham will undoubtedly be transformative, empowering you to unlock your potential and make the most of your student life.


Yunyun Wu - MA Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages studentYunyun Wu

Year of graduation: 2023
Study: Full-time
Home country: China


Why did you choose to study at the University of Nottingham?

The subject of the course was my first consideration and I was offered a Postgraduate Excellence Award Scholarship. But here are some other reasons why I chose the University of Nottingham:

  1. The location of the university was suitable for me to study as it's quiet and has a peaceful atmosphere. I love to be in the nature, it inspires me and I was happy to be able to study in a place with so much green space.
  2. I liked the slogan on the university website, which says "We don't settle for ordinary". With the reputation of the university, I felt confident that I could discover the great potential in myself.
  3. I love sports! I biked around Taiwan Island, hiked the Mardi Himal and swam in the Bay of Bengal. I wanted to do different kinds of sports while studying, so knowing the university has won 'Sports University of the Year' twice in recent years excited me.

How do you hope this course will help with your career in the future?

The course helped me to develop my career to a more professional level. I worked as a Chinese language teacher for around six years. It was beneficial and interesting to combine my experience in teaching with theories and I gained a wider knowledge about language education. Through opportunities provided on this course such as workshops, school visits, and placements, I gained some valuable experience working with English school pupils  and the English curriculum, which I think will be helpful for my future job seeking. Most importantly, I have gained the skills that will be needed for research in my future career.

This course has given me the foundation to study further in the field of linguists. I love learning and teaching languages (not limited to Chinese language), but because my previous education background was not relevant to linguistics, it was very important to have a degree in this field so I can study further and become a linguist as I have always wished.

Was there a particular module that you enjoyed the most?

I enjoyed Understanding L2 Chinese Learning and the Learner the most. I think the lessons were well designed and thoughtful for students. Some workshops in the lessons were very helpful for me to learn not only the theories, but also very helpful for me to gain the skills of how to learn and explore the subject by myself in the future. There was a reasonable amount of pre-lesson essential reading introduced by the lecturer. The lectures were taught at a nice speed, smoothly and comfortable. The content was well prepared and thoughtful. There were group discussions in each section. There were many practical tools and websites we were directed to.

What was the best part of the course?

For me, because I have teaching experience already, the best part of this course was the opportunity to be involved in workshops and visiting schools, so I could gain some experience here. And although it is a taught course, I feel I gained some essential research skills, which is good for developing my future path of being a specialist of this field.

How have you been supported on the course?

I feel I was supported by our course leader. I feel she has been attentive and thoughtful to students' overall learning experience. I am a Course Representative, so I feel the staff of the School of Education also really care about the student voice and take actions to change for the better. 

The university has been very caring for students too, for example, setting up free breakfast for students, having well-being information in the toilet (as some students may be too shy to ask). The consultations from the careers team helped me to prepare for job applications and the CELE academic languages and communications skills courses and consultations were also helpful.

Why do you think potential students should chose this course?

This course will set their mind up for being a language teacher, provide them with a good understanding of language education and the skills needed to develop as a language teaching specialist. They will be informed with knowledge about language education such as understanding language learners, teaching methodologies and materials, curriculum design and so on. The opportunity to work with with local school pupils can also be beneficial as they can practice their teaching in real situations and gain work experience locally. Plus, I am sure they will appreciate the learning environment and the opportunities to meet new friends here. 


School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

Contact us