Myths about Teaching Chinese as a Second Language

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 6:00pm

Lecture by Professor Shou-hsin Teng

Shou-hsin Teng, Chungyuan Christian University, Taiwan
Thurs. Nov. 17, 2016
6:00 pm
32-155

Look at the headlines. Record numbers of students studying Chinese systematically have been reported in USA, in Europe, in Southeast Asia, in Africa, in Australia etc. Unprecedented numbers of L2 Chinese instructors have been ‘exported’ from Taiwan and China to various continents. We are experiencing a time of extraordinary phenomena. Yet, for the field of L2 Chinese, this is not a time for harvesting achievements but a time of great responsibility and reflection. Is our field of L2 Chinese ready for the new challenges? Is our field giving the best of itself to the global expectation and demand?

It is easy to affirm the observation that our global L2 Chinese field has made great strides over the last decades in terms of pedagogy, instructional materials and testing. But at the same time, it does not escape our attention that our field is still dominated, I refrain from saying plagued, by a number of premature and misguided assumptions regarding the true nature of the Chinese language, of its written script and of its pedagogy. These are what I refer to as myths. This presentation will take a look at a number of them, assess the motivation for such claims and finally restore the true nature of the issues involved. Demystification of these claims and assumptions is an important part of teacher training program as well as an important part of daily instruction of L2 Chinese. 

About the speaker:

Prof. Shou-hsin Teng is the Chair Professor of Chinese Linguistics at Chungyuan Christian University in Taiwan. He received his doctoral degree in linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1973. During the following years, he was a tenured professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught Chinese language and linguistics. In 1995, he moved on to establish the first graduate degree program of Teaching Chinese as a Second/Foreign Language at the National Taiwan Normal University. Professor Teng has published numerous highly influential books and articles. His exceptional academic accomplishments won him the prestigious Walton Lifetime Achievement Award by the Chinese Language Teachers Association in 1999. His recent publications include A Pedagogical Grammar of Chinese as a Second Language in 2010, Studies on Modern Chinese Syntax in 2012, and A Course in Contemporary Chinese in 2015.