Mary van der Heijden—United World College (Singapore)
This research project investigated how the pedagogical approach of inquiry was transferred into Chinese as an additional language classrooms in Primary Years Programme schools in the Asia Pacific region. The goal was to explore perceptions and practices of Chinese language teachers to better understand the successes and challenges of using inquiry based approaches. Data was collected using mixed methods; including a survey to ninety-eight schools, individual semi-structured interviews with six teachers and classroom observations for four of those teachers. There was evidence from the findings that teachers demonstrated a positive attitude towards the inquiry approach, but the understanding of how this could be transferred into the Chinese classroom was not consistent. The need to train the Chinese language teachers and to develop an opportunity to learn, both with and from other teachers in the school, was also identified. Attempts were made towards the creation of authentic situations where language could be developed and opportunities for more exploration and experimentation rather than relying on accuracy with vocabulary and grammatical structures, but this was not consistently underpinning the pedagogy.