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China looks to UK for Olympic welcome

Beijing is looking to the skills of UK lecturers to make sure the city can offer a warm welcome to visitors to the Olympic Games next year.

Louise Taylor-Porter, a teacher of English for speakers of other languages at the College of North West London, has flown out to the Chinese capital to help improve the language skills of some of the army of volunteer guides being prepared for the Games.

She will teach classes of 60 students at a time at the Beijing electrical engineering college, which is expected to provide 1,000 volunteers. Its teachers aim to learn about student-centred teaching techniques and colloquial English from Ms Taylor-Porter.

Staff from the Chinese college have already visited the UK to observe the teaching here.

Tony Medhurst, vice-principal of the college, said: "Our brief was to demonstrate how we teach English so that they can teach their students similar techniques in preparation for the Olympic Games.

"They want greater colloquial and familiar language skills so that they can make visitors to the Olympics feel more welcome."

The project is just one of many links between Beijing and 18 of London's colleges. Others include Westminster Kingsway College, which is training Chinese chefs in Western cuisine, and Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College, which is helping to train cabin crew.

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