PGCE Secondary Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) with Mandarin

This course will prepare trainees to teach secondary education (Key Stage 3 & 4) and post-16 education Mandarin, but is currently unavailable. Please continue to monitor the website to check when it will run again.

The PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) offers a course in Mandarin to graduates who are keen and eager both to bring to life within the 4 walls of the classroom the Mandarin language and Chinese culture, which they themselves love, and to nurture a life-long interest in language learning in their pupils. The course enables you to explore the challenges that face both teachers and learners of the Mandarin language in Britain today, the strategies for language acquisition in all its practical skills and the need for cultural awareness within the global dimension.

Great Wall of ChinaThe University-based term offers a solid grounding in the communicative approach to language teaching, which also puts emphasis on language as structure, as recommended in the National Curriculum. This part of the course is run almost entirely as interactive, practical workshops and seminars. The school-based terms are spent in dynamic MFL departments of a wide choice of schools across the South West.

The 2010 Ofsted inspection acknowledged the quality of the training provision by experienced practitioners and has been impressed by the coherent link established between the professional studies element and the MFL module as well as the high quality support given to students.

Provision is made for students to develop competence in French as a second teaching MFL, and trainees are required to teach this second language for a substantial part of their time on school placements. The use of Information and Communications Technology is developed to enhance the future teacher's own skills as well as to contribute to the preparation for effective MFL teaching in the 21st century.


36 weeks. (One academic year)

Entry Requirements

Candidates will normally be expected to have a good degree in Mandarin. Other qualifications of degree level equivalence can be considered, e.g. Final Diploma of Institute of Linguists. Native speakers should hold a qualification to the equivalent to a UK degree, usually a minimum of 3 years of study at an institution of Higher Education. The qualifications can be in any subject, since they have, by definition, the necessary language skills. An OU degree or other degree qualification in a subject other than a foreign language may be acceptable if the applicant can show at interview that residence abroad or other relevant experience has developed appropriate competence in the Foreign Language. Some further enquiry may be necessary in such cases to ensure adequate written competence and cultural awareness. Mandarin speakers and Mandarin graduates will also need to have some competence in a European language, currently French preferably at A-level, as there is normally insufficient timetable space on school-based work for an exclusively Mandarin programme.Please note that  once this course is reactivated future school placements may only be available for candidates with Mandarin and French combination.

Academic Staff

Karen Wilson is a Teaching Fellow of the University. She taught German, French and Italian for over twenty years in the state sector, mainly in comprehensive schools. She was Head of Department in three schools,latterly in a Language College, and was an experienced GCSE oral examiner for much of that time. She has been involved in both national and regional MFL research projects connected with CLIL ( Content and Language Integrated Learning) and National Strategies.


Victoria Allan is responsible for the teaching of Mandarin on the course.

What are the aims of this programme?

  • To study the process of language learning in some depth and grasp the assumptions behind methods and materials so as to be able to use materials intelligently and select methods on a principled basis. 
  • To acquire a progressively wider range of skills in planning, teaching and assessing Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 and beyond. 
  • To link theory with practice by means of observation and teaching in schools. 
  • To understand how foreign languages relate to the whole curriculum and to the personal development of pupils. 
  • To become thoroughly acquainted with the current range of teaching materials and with the hardware used in active, communicative methods of language teaching. 
  • To experience, as a pupil, the opening stages of learning a new language by active, oral methods. 
  • To engage in practical work involving the preparation of taped, visual and ICT materials. 
  • To evaluate one's own preparation and teaching and improve it by independent thinking. 
  • To maintain and extend personal competence in languages taught. 
  • To develop and extend personal competence in the use of Information Technology

How am I assessed?

Through University and school-based assignments. There are no formal exams. Students are also required to pass the Government's numeracy, literacy and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) tests and reach the Standards for becoming a teacher in order to be awarded QTS (Qualified Teacher Status).

Module Information

Current modules: