The University of Queensland (UQ) is helping primary and junior high schools in Taipei become bilingual by training Taiwanese educators to teach any subject in English.

Forty Taiwanese teachers recently completed a 7-day online course, designed by UQ’s Institute of Continuing and TESOL Education (UQ-ICTE) and Education Queensland International (EQI).

The course was delivered under the Taipei Government’s Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Teacher Training Program, which is part of the city’s plan to create 50 bilingual primary schools and 15 secondary schools by 2021.

Queensland Trade and Investment commissioner for Taiwan Patrick Hafenstein said UQ-ICTE’s success in collaborating with the Taipei Government was a major achievement.

‘UQ-ICTE’s participation in this program is a great example of Queensland’s educational institutions providing flexible and varied programs to meet specific educational needs,’ Mr Hafenstein said.

‘We hope to promote the success of this program to other cities across Taiwan as a step towards helping Taiwan achieve its goal of becoming a fully bilingual nation by 2030.’

CLIL involves teaching subjects like maths or history through a foreign language, enabling students to learn both the content and a new language simultaneously.

Mr Hafenstein said the Taipei City Government’s biggest challenge was overcoming a shortage of competent CLIL teachers.

‘TIQ approached Taipei City Government and showcased how some Queensland schools were implementing bilingual courses, then we connected the government with UQ and EQI to customise a training program for them,’ he said.

‘Feedback has been positive and the Department of Education is keen to continue working with TIQ and Queensland educational institutions to deliver the CLIL online training program.’

UQ ICTE Deputy Director Phillip Fredericks said delivering the course online was a new experience for the institute.

‘Initially this program was going to be face-to-face in Brisbane in March, but because of COVID-19 we had to negotiate with the Taipei City Government to take the course online,’ Mr Fredericks said.

‘Although we do a lot of primary and secondary teacher training in other markets, our previous CLIL programs have mainly been with universities who are wanting to internationalise by offering courses in English.’

Mr Fredericks said that the success of this program would lead to more opportunities for Queensland educational institutions in Taiwan.

‘Having successful runs on the board through programs like this will be a really positive step for Queensland and its educational institutions.’

The CLIL Teacher Training Program took place online from 20 to 28 July 2020 and involved teachers from 20 Taiwanese primary schools and 8 secondary schools.

Educational institutions looking to explore opportunities in Taiwan should connect with TIQ today.