Chinese Language Zone

Chinese Language Zone

Chinese Language Zone

Photos generously donated to ALL by Miki Carter, Susanna Matera and Shixiang Wu.

Supporting Chinese in cooperation with ….

Welcome to the Chinese Language Zone created by teachers for teachers of Chinese languages at all levels and in all sectors, available to ALL members, and for a limited time to the wider profession.


It includes practical ideas, articles on Chinese language and pedagogy, curriculum, communities and countries where Chinese languages are spoken. It also includes suggested research articles in Chinese or English, a reading list about the Sinocentric world, and resources for teaching Chinese languages as well as details of interesting events.


Contributions submitted to the Chinese Language Zone are peer-reviewed and published online.


In the 'Great News’ area we celebrate all things Chinese - language and practice, resources, events, support for teachers and challenges and opportunities for learners. Let us know your Great News!


Do you have any resources that you’d like to share with the wider community? Is there a resource you used that you’d like to recommend? If you’d like to get in touch to find out more, recommend or submit a piece, then please contact


Great news for Chinese


Here we celebrate all things Chinese - language learners and teachers, cultural events,

support for teachers, and challenges and opportunities for learners. Let us know your Great News!


Congratulations and thanks

Congratulations, teachers of Chinese languages !


ALL is thrilled to be launching the Chinese Language Zone. Chinese language teachers, who volunteered to share their expertise, have been building this Zone to promote Chinese languages teaching and learning and to support the development of the Chinese languages teacher community. We much hope you’ll enjoy discovering the resources available here and invite you to get in touch to share your own work and/or to recommend any resources.


Heartfelt thanks to the volunteers who have worked together to launch this Chinese Language Zone! including

Ms Cara Bleiman, Ms Miki Carter, Dr. Yangguang Chen, Susanna Matera, Dr. Yu-Chiao Prouton, Mr James Stagg and Ms Shixiang Wu. Thanks to those who shared their photographs also!


Please visit other areas of the ALL website. All languages teachers have strategies in common and we here at ALL want to celebrate and support all languages teachers and their work.


The Chinese Language Zone depends on enthusiast to share; over to you!  Join the team!


Steven Fawkes and Judith Rifeser for ALL

Have you read the latest copy of Languages Today?


The Chinese Language Zone is grateful to teachers who share their resources and recommendations here.

The copyright on these remains with their creator. 

Resources are proofread, but if typos still exist, please let us know via email.

Primary Chinese Bibliography

Picture books, poems, nursery rhymes and fables can be great ways to engage young learners whilst modelling high quality authentic language. Here is a compilation of ideas for short written texts that could be used or adapted for use in your primary Chinese classroom. 

Shared by Cara Bleiman (Swire Chinese Language Centre London, Harris Federation)

Primary Chinese Library


On, you will find basic Mandarin Chinese flashcards and vocabulary exercises for children and beginners.

The flashcards use both simplified Chinese characters (hanzi) and pinyin, and are available both online and as printable PDF files

Mandarin film clips/videos for teaching Mandarin

Film, documentary, adverts and vlogs can help engage learners and improve access to authentic Chinese cultural texts in your classroom. For ideas for visual texts in Chinese, you can view and edit the collaborative film GoogleDoc hosted by Cara Bleiman.

A 505-page resource pack by Miss Lin Min

This is a resource book generously shared by Miss Lin Min with a lot of cultural activities for Primary and Secondary Chinese learners.

A costed version of the fuller publication can be found through the link in the pdfs below.

Pages 1-50 

Pages 51-100

Pages 101-151

Pages 152-200

Pages 201-300

Pages 301-400

Pages 401-505

10 Mandarin songs and rhymes with lyrics in pinyin and English from YouTube

The texts are organized by themes, namely Tones, Hellos, Numbers, Heads & Shoulders,  Looking for Friends, Weekdays, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, To School, What's Your Name? How Old Are You? 

Although they are for children, they are at the right language level for teenagers and even adult students. Shared by Professor/Dr. Yangguang Chen (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Dr. Yangguang Chen 10 Pieces of Chinese Song and Nursery Rhymes to sing along.docx

Institute of Education Conficius Institute

The IOE Confucius Institute Mandarin Resources for Schools (MARS) page is a great place to find everything from worksheets, activities and Powerpoint presentations to memrise vocabulary sets, past papers and cultural projects.                          

Mandarin Resources for Schools 


The IoE Confucius Institute for Schools has collected together a range of resources for teaching primary Mandarin which are freely available here.

Primary Mandarin materials 

Chinese Transition Toolkit

Congratulations to volunteers from the Chinese teaching community who have created a Transition Toolkit to sit alongside those for French, German and Spanish in the ASCL suite of Toolkits, which were developed with members of the ALL Primary Steering Group.  The toolkit is now live on the ASCL website. 

Click here for the main page. 
Click here for the Chinese Transition Toolkit.
Click here for the Chinese Template link. 

Resources shared at the ALL Chinese Language Zone launch event June 2021

Over a hundred people signed up to join the launch event for the Chinese Language Zone which included a packed Show&Tell.  

One of those attending wrote:  Thank you so much for allowing me to participate in the founding of the ALL Chinese Zone and it was so inspiring to see so many wonderful resources shared by other teachers!

which summed up the feeling of the event perfectly . 


Resources / Links will appear here as they are delivered. 

NearPod - Miki Carter

Here is a Loom for Miki Carter's presentation on creating a Nearpod video lesson:

Primary Mandarin cards - Rachel Tiefenbrun

Primary Mandarin’s progressive card games and accompanying Teacher’s Guides, are designed to develop early learners' understanding of, and competency in. Mandarin Chinese.

To motivate learners and provide a meaningful context for language use, the games are built around the concept of using games children already know and love playing in their native language. They have built in progression; taking children from beginner concepts in level 1 games to a more developed understanding of the language system in level 3.

Each Teacher’s Guide contains 10 photocopiable activities for use before and after game play to consolidate and extend learning further.

Both games and guides have been designed for specialist and non-specialist primary teachers, for children aged 7-12 years. They have also been successfully trialled by Mandarin teachers in the early stages of KS3 .

Future Events

Awaiting further information.

Guest Blogs

The Chinese Zone is grateful to the writers of these blogs which reflect their personal views.

Why your students should learn Mandarin, Cara Bleiman

Matthew Arnold wanted teachers to teach “the best that has been thought and said”. But with a monolingual inward-looking mindset, it would be easy to forget that “the best that has been thought and said” isn’t restricted to the English language.

Cara Bleiman’s article for Teach Secondary here argues why learning Mandarin is about so much more than preparing students for an uncertain jobs market.

Creativity in the Chinese classroom, Dr Yu-Chiao Chung

Here Yu-Chiau Chung looks at different aspects of creativity and asks : How can creativity enhance the learning  of Community languages?

Creativity enhances the learning of Mandarin Chinese because it helps developing linguistic skills by providing meaningful and engaging contexts as well as opportunities for genuine communication.  This PPT provides the underpinning theoretical background of applying creative work in Chinese classrooms.  It also provides various ideas and pedagogies of creative work: scrapbooks, photostories, drama and songs.

 Yu-Chiao Chung Creativity in Chinese classrooms

Support and opportunities for teachers

Using video in the Chinese classroom

ALL supports teachers of all languages in learning from each other. Here Steven Fawkes shares introductory thoughts on how language teachers use video resources to support learning. If you have suggestions of video resources for use in lessons, or other strategies please share them with who will add them here.

Exploiting video resources in the Chinese classroom

Institute of Education Confucius Institute

If you haven’t been able to attend the Annual IOE Confucius Institute Mandarin Conference, all of the past Powerpoint presentations are freely available in this archive. It’s a real treasure trove of resources!


Self-designed free flash cards, including the vocabularies from JInbu, Exdecel, AQA,HSK, Happy Chinese. 


shared by Miss Jia Li (Bohunt School)

Stroke order in steps is a Hong Kong-based online business dedicated to providing Chinese cultural and educational products to people interested in the Chinese language and culture. Products are sourced from Mainland China and posted via Hong Kong Post. Their website also provides free online pinyin converters and IME tools to support the learning of Chinese characters.

There are also additional functions for PRO customers, like flashcards, games, characters puzzle, word search and crosswords generators. At the moment, PRO membership is only $28.50 per year.


Purple Culture:


Recommended by teacher trainees (PGCE Secondary Languages, Goldsmiths, University of London)

Dig Mandarin

This is a website that contains comprehensive articles on Mandarin Chinese learning skills along with case studies, reviews of the latest popular Chinese textbooks or tools, and advice direct from the professional Chinese language experts, Chinese video lessons, learner community, etc. In addition, they also offer courses for different Chinese levels, with video-lesson and private tutors                           

Recommended by teacher trainees (PGCE Secondary Languages, Goldsmiths, University of London)

Downloadable teachers’ handbook: Critical Connections: a multilingual digital storytelling project

This handbook provides key information about the project including practical guidance to assist teachers with planning.


shared by Dr. Yu-Chiao Chung (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Swire Primary Mandarin YouTube Channel

 Follow this link to find a library of engaging songs and videos chosen for their suitability for primary Mandarin learners.

 Shared by Cara Bleiman, Harris Federation. Swire Chinese Language Centre London.

UK Mandarin Teachers Podcast

This podcast is for teachers of Chinese to foreign language learners and is hosted by the Swire Chinese Language Centre, Oxford. The content is delivered in both Chinese and English and covers recent topics in Mandarin Chinese education with a range of guests who are either teaching professionals of Chinese and/or modern foreign languages in general.

Mandarin Forum

This is a very active Chinese teacher forum where teachers share various information from teaching,researching and recruiting, free registration.


Free online worksheet generator. There are four different options:

  1. Stroke order character writing practice worksheet generator
  2. Short paragraphs copying exercise worksheets generator
  3. Pinyin only worksheets generator for characters association practice
  4. Characters only worksheets generator for pinyin association practice.

Recommended by teacher trainees (PGCE Secondary Languages, Goldsmiths, University of London)

Mandarin Excellence Programme

The Mandarin Excellence Programme is an intensive language programme which now has over 5,000 pupils from 75 schools in England on track to fluency in Mandarin Chinese. It is funded by the Department for Education and delivered by the UCL Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council.

The website showcases resources and lesson planning suggestions.


A report about the teaching of Chinese in the UK by Teresa Tinsely and Kathryn Board (2014). British Council: Available at:

Swire Oxford Resources page

- a great place to explore and get ideas for activities, games and songs as well as free teaching and learning handbooks and curriculum documents for primary, secondary and post-16 education.


Kahoot is a game-based platform that supports language-learning. Teachers are able to create their own games for their pupils. Here are some self-designed free exercises to practice how to correctly use “的”, “地” 和“得”


 Find here some self-designed free exercises to practice how to use measure words which often can be quite difficult and confusing.

 Measure words:

Here are some self-designed free exercises to practice how to express “and” in different ways in Mandarin

 “And” in Chinese:  

Shared by Miki Carter (Goldsmiths, University of London).

Stroke order animation GIFs

Great websites for character stroke order, GIFs and characters composition. The first three websites are in Chinese only. Both MDBG and Written Chinese are also dictionaries (Zh-Eng/Eng-Zh) and have the pinyin to character converter function, essential if your device does not have a Chinese keyboard.


Recommended by teacher trainees (PGCE Secondary Languages, Goldsmiths, University of London)

Kaiti font with pinyin

From this website, it is possible to download the Chinese Kaiti font with pinyin. Hit the yellow “本地下载” button, download the font and install it on your device. Restart the PowerPoint (or any other input app) and select the font “FZKTPY01” before starting to write your Chinese text. The font is very accurate but the pinyin cannot be changed, which means that the pinyin of characters with more than one pronunciation need to be covered with the correction. Most common examples: 了(liǎo, le),的(dì, de), 乐(lè,yuè),什(shí, shén). 



Recommended by teacher trainees (PGCE Secondary Languages, Goldsmiths, University of London)

Downloadable teachers’ handbook: Arts based creativity in the community languages classroom: A professional development resource.


This resource is aimed primarily at supporting teachers and teacher educators working in the field of community languages although much of the content is relevant to teachers of foreign/second languages generally. It provides  practical guidance on how arts based creativity can be built most effectively into language teaching programmes.


shared by Dr. Yu-Chiao Chung (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Challenges and opportunities for learners

YouTube channel

A Youtube channel where you can find the series “Chinese Grammar Simplified”. Here, using short video and animations, Luke Wang aims to break down and explain the most common grammatical patterns in the Chinese language.

Twin Cities Chinese Tutor:

Recommended by teacher trainees (PGCE Secondary Languages, Goldsmiths, University of London)

British Council Great Languages Challenge (inc. Mandarin)

The Great Languages Challenge is available in several languages and can be completed during a planned lesson or also set as a language-themed homework task. There is also  a blank version available that students can use to design their own challenges for their classmates or peers in their partner school overseas. 

British Council Mandarin Speaking competition

The British Council hosts an annual Mandarin Speaking Competition – digitally in 2021 through a series of online events. The competition provides a great opportunity for secondary school students to practise and improve their Mandarin language skills.

 Link to the 2021 competition (now complete)  

Chinese Writing Contest

Chinese Writing Contest to encourage Chinese language learners to be creative and to write something using only 320 Chinese characters. This contest closes on September 30 2021.

There are prizes! Details are here: 

This contest tries to change people’s perception about learning Chinese.

Curriculum Planning


Details of the National Curriculum requirements for Languages, including Chinese

Details of the National Curriculum requirements for Languages, including Chinese

Chinese in the National Curriculum

Harris Curriculum 7-9

The Harris Academies have collaboratively developed their curriculum over a number of years, regularly improving and updating as the year groups are taught. The Year 7, 8 & 9 scheme of work/curriculum documents take teachers through week by week content, and include weeks for assessment and assessment review throughout the year. Within the documents are festivals that teachers may wish to visit throughout the years as well as differentiated content to stretch the most able. The Year 7 curriculum contains additional teacher notes to support.

Harris Federation Y07 Chinese Curriculum 2020-2021

Harris Federation Y08 Chinese Curriculum 2020-2021

Harris Federation Y09 Chinese Curriculum 2020-2021

Harris KS2 curriculum by-year overview.docx

Harris KS2 curriculum overview.docx

Harris Starter Routine.pptx


shared by James Stagg, Harris Federation

The AATT of curriculum planning - Dr Jennifer Eddy

In her article Dr Jennifer Eddy introduces the principles behind designing the task-based learning modules available, with tools for language teachers, on the Design Space website.

Dr Eddy is an ALL member and very keen to work with British language teacher in projects. Her website (details in the article) contain project plans in a wide range of languages.


To find out more about the AATT of curriculum planning, follow this link:


 A webinar recording can also be accessed on this page:



Research summaries from OASIS

The Open Accessible Summaries In Language Studies (OASIS) initiative aims to make research findings on language learning and teaching available and accessible to a wide audience.

 OASIS summaries are one-page descriptions of research articles on language learning, language teaching, and multilingualism that have been published in peer-reviewed journals listed on the Social Science Citation Index or the Arts and Humanities Citation Index. The summaries provide information about the study’s goals, how it was conducted, and what was found, and are written in non-technical language. Where relevant, they also highlight findings that may be of particular interest to language educators, although the initiative is not solely aimed at research with immediate practical implications. The summaries are generally approved, and often (co-)written, by the author(s) of the original journal article.

Recommended Reading


Compared to well-established European languages such as German, French or Spanish, research on Mandarin learning in UK schools is quite thin on the ground.


In the list below, Cara Bleiman and Dr. Judith Rifeser recommend a range of academic books and articles on the teaching of Chinese as a second language.

A selection of these are freely available to ALL members in the Language Learning Journal.

Recommended Reading 1 : The Language Learning Journal

Dr. Judith Rifeser writes: The Language Learning Journal is the official journal of the Association for Language Learning. It is an open access journal by Taylor Francis that publishes international research on the teaching and learning of languages, pedagogy and multilingualism and multiculturalism. ALL members have access to the journal as a member benefit. ALL Language Learning Journal page:

You and/or your school can join to become an ALL member here which provides access to the full range of benefits that ALL has to offer. We also offer corporate membership:

Within the ALL  Language Learning Journal links, the DOI (Direct Object Identifier) will lead directly to the article, if you are an ALL Member.


Bao, R. (2020) Collaborative dialogue between complete beginners of Chinese as a foreign language: implications it has for Chinese language teaching and learning. In: The Language Learning Journal, 48:4, pp. 414-426, DOI: 10.1080/09571736.2017.1422136

Hu, B. (2010) The challenges of Chinese: a preliminary study of UK learners' perceptions of difficulty . In: The Language Learning Journal, 38:1, pp. 99-118, DOI: 10.1080/09571731003620721

Hughes, N., Lo, L. & Xu, S. (2019) Blended Chinese language learning design: an integrative review and synthesis of the literature. In: The Language Learning Journal, 47:3, pp. 313-331, DOI: 10.1080/09571736.2017.1280526

Osborne C., Zhang, Q. & Zhang, G. X. (2020) Which is more effective in introducing Chinese characters? An investigative study of four methods used to teach CFL beginners. In: The Language Learning Journal, 48:4, pp. 385-401, DOI: 10.1080/09571736.2017.1393838

Zhang, D., Lin, C.-H., Zhang, Y. and Choi, Y. (2019) Pinyin or no pinyin: does access to word pronunciation matter in the assessment of Chinese learners’ vocabulary knowledge?. In: The Language Learning Journal, 47:3, pp. 344-353, DOI: 10.1080/09571736.2017.1289237

Zhang, G.X. & Li, L.M. (2010) Chinese language teaching in the UK: present and future. In:  The Language Learning Journal, 38:1, pp. 87 97, DOI: 10.1080/09571731003620689

Recommended Reading 2

Reading list recommended by Cara Bleiman (SWIRE):

Bassetti, Benedetta (2006) Orthographic input and phonological representations in learners of Chinese as a foreign language. Written Language and Literacy 9 (1), pp. 95-114

Everson, M. (2011). Best Practices in Teaching Logographic and Non-Roman Writing Systems to L2 Learners. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 31, 249-274. doi:

Fotini, D., L. Pan and K. Carruthers (2018) Mandarin Chinese Teacher Education: Issues and Solutions. London: UCL IOE Press

Newman, E. H., Tardif, T., Huang, J., and Shu, H. (2011). Phonemes matter: the role of phoneme-level awareness in emergent Chinese readers. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108(2), pp. 242–259.

Orton, J. and Scrimgeour, A. (2019) Teaching Chinese as a Second Language: The Way of the Learner. London: Routledge.

Ping, W. (2009). The Provision of Mandarin Chinese in the UK Secondary Schools: What's in the Way? European Journal of Education, 44(1), 83-94. Retrieved May 23, 2021, from

Starr, D. (2009) Chinese Language Education in Europe: the Confucius Institutes. In: European Journal of Education, Vol. 44 (1) pp. 65- 82.

Wang, J. and Leland , C. H.(2011) Beginning students’ perceptions of effective activities for Chinese character recognition. In: Reading in a Foreign Language. 23(2) pp. 208 – 224.

Yin, L., Li, W., Chen, X., Anderson, R.C., Zhang, J., Shu, H. and Jiang, W. (2011) The role of tone awareness and pinyin knowledge in Chinese reading. In: Writing Systems Research, 3:1, pp. 59-68, DOI: 10.1093/wsr/wsr010

Recommended Reading 3

Dr. Judith Rifeser (ALL Honorary Deputy Membership Officer/ Goldsmiths, University of London) recommends these texts on creativity, bilingualism and citizenship education in relation to the teaching of Chinese


Anderson, J. and Chung, Y-C. (2011) Finding a voice: arts based creativity in the community languages classroom. In: International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. 14:5 pp. 551-569.

Chen, Y. (2007) Equality and Inequality of Opportunity in Education: Chinese Emergent Bilingual Children in the English Mainstream Classroom. In: Language, Culture and Curriculum. 20:1 pp. 36-51,

Chen, Y. (2014) Becoming global citizens through bilingualism: Language policy and Chinese citizenship education in a globalising world. In: Kennedy, J. K, Gregory, P.F.& Zhao, Z (eds) (2014) Citizenship Education in China: Preparing Citizens for ‘the Chinese Century’. London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Gregory, P.F. & Zhao, Z (eds) (2014) Citizenship Education in China: Preparing Citizens for ‘the Chinese Century’. London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. 

Jiang, X. and Cohen, A.D. (2012) A critical review of research strategies in learning Chinese as both a second and foreign language. In: Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching. 2:1 pp. 9-43. Available at:

Lawrence, S. (2011) I love China! Integrated Chinese Language and Cultural Activities for kids. CreateSpace (Amazon).

Wu, K.T. (1936) Chinese Book: Its Evolution and Development. In: T'ien Hsia Monthly, Vol. III, No.1, pp.25-33. Available at:

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