February 21, 2022, by aczjb1

International Mother Language Day: Ingenuity Lab Ambassador, Yudan Deng

Today is International Mother Language Day! Today we’re shining a light on Ingenuity Lab Ambassador, Yudan Deng, who runs Follow the Orient, a Chinese language teaching resource which aims to introduce children to new languages and culture via storytelling.

On International Mother Language Day, UNESCO recognizes that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion, and the Sustainable Development Goals’ focus on leaving no one behind.

Originally from China, Yudan studied BA Chinese Language and Literature at Sichuan Agricultural College before moving to the University of Nottingham in 2017 to obtain a Master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

Yudan’s experiences as a language teacher inspired her to start her business, informed by research carried out for her Master’s dissertation on teaching phonetic Mandarin. On top of the tutoring offered by the business, Yudan has created her own textbooks which follow the tales of Hou Yang the monkey, helping children learn new words and identify basic Chinese characters through language games and illustrations.

“I’ve been teaching Chinese as a Second Language for a long time, and I’ve found it is not very fun for most children, so I wanted to combine play and learning to really bring the language to life,” she said. “Mandarin is not an easy language to learn, so I wanted to help my students master a second language by creating more engaging textbooks, making learning exciting and fun.”

The theme of the 2022 International Mother Language Day is “Using technology for multilingual learning”, raising the potential role of technology to advance multilingual education and support the development of quality teaching and learning for all. Yudan’s business is committed to developing a variety of learning materials in different formats and has recently launched a YouTube channel, creating video content for young language learners, with educational songs aimed at teaching phonetic Mandarin.

“Learning a language is important, not just for communication but also to understand the ideological and cultural traditions of a country,” Yudan explained. “Mastering a language is not easy but technology provides shortcuts to language learning. We’ve found technology in language learning is motivating and stimulating for our students.”

Find out more about Follow the Orient via their website.

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