Wallacestone’s Margaret spearheads new spotlight on China revolution

Blackness Primary and Wallacestone Primary School bridging trip to China. Heather Cullen acting head teacher Blackness and Margaret McDoanld head teacher Wallacestone.
Blackness Primary and Wallacestone Primary School bridging trip to China. Heather Cullen acting head teacher Blackness and Margaret McDoanld head teacher Wallacestone.

Pupils are going to be given the chance to learn all about China.

It’s part of efforts by the Chinese government to build links with Scotland.

And it led to one local head teacher spending her Easter holidays visiting the coutry to learn more about Chinese culture,

Margaret McDonald, of Wallacestone Primary School, took part in the Chinese Bridge to Scottish Schools visit alongside Heather Cullen, acting head teacher at Blackness Primary.

Falkirk Council intends to create a Confucius Classroom. It will be situated in Bo’ness Academy but will be the focus of learning about Chinese language and culture across the local authority area.

Around 10 authorities have signed up for the scheme which is sponsored by Hanban, the Chinese equivalent of the British Embassy. As part of the classroom project, The Hanban invited delegates from the interested local authorities to visit the country.

During the 10-day trip, the teachers met with representatives of the education authorities in Beijing, Tianjin and Xiamen and were also taken on tours of schools.

Margaret said: “It was really amazing to see how different teaching and learning was to here and yet how similar the children are.

“The main difference was the number of children in each class - the smallest class had around 40 children in it.

“They were all sitting in rows, with the teacher doing a lot of the talking. They are moving towards interactive teaching and learning but they’ve got a long way to go.

“The children were very enthusiastic and wanted to know about what children were like in Scotland - what was their uniform like and what did they do outside of school - very similar to what the pupils here would want to know.”

Margaret is now planning to share what she’s learned with the pupils and parents at her school.

She said: “We’re hoping that we will have a link with one of the primary schools there, and there is the possibility of a Chinese language assistant coming over here.

“I was amazed in China when I was able to have conversations in English with children who were only around eight.

“I took the school’s travelling mascot Angus with me. The children in China were all really happy to have him there!”

This was Margaret’s second visit to China, her first being a holiday 13 years ago.

She felt that the country had moved on a lot over that time.

She added: “I came away before thinking that it was quite an oppressive place but I didn’t feel that this time.

“There were guards at Tiananmen Square, but no more than you would get at Edinburgh Castle.”