Li Yang is ending a yearlong endeavor — teaching Chinese to university students.
Texas State is ending the second semester of a new Chinese language course with Yang, program faculty, as course instructor.
“My primary goal is to prioritize oral communication,” Yang said. “My next goal is writing, then culture.”
Yang started her career as a teaching assistant with the University of Texas. She assisted professors while working on her masters in comparative literature.
“I received my bachelor’s degree in China at the age of 24,” Yang said. “I studied at an English I.T. program in Beijing.”
Yang is now a candidate for her Ph.D. at UT.
“After graduation, I want to focus on teaching at Texas State,” Yang said. “I hope to help increase enrollment for the program. As an assistant, I fell in love with teaching. I feel satisfied seeing my students speak fluently.”
Yang said she brought some of her ideas from UT, but has added a few changes. She said the book used at UT emphasizes writing rather than speaking, but her focus is a modern use of the language and incorporates texting and chatting, among other things.
“I feel there aren’t many chances to sit and write Chinese,” Yang said. “The new lesson gives me more freedom, and I love it.”
She will teach four classes, each four-hour credits, that will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays.
“I will hold the lectures worth three-credit hours and there will be a lab worth one-credit hour,” Yang said. “In the labs, students will work on drills, conversation and take tests. The labs will be led by teaching assistants.”
Sessions will be available to give students the opportunity to receive help from teaching assistants.
“When students first start, it may seem difficult,” Yang said. “After one or two months, they will understand and solve the mystery.”
The current course is offered as an extension program, which is student funded. Extension courses are the same as other foreign language classes, but are not offered online. Students must contact the extensions office to sign up for the course.
“I want students to know that extensions count the same, but the hours do not show up on your transcript until after you have completed the course,” Yang said. “This is important when you are making sure you are a full-time student.”
Robert Fischer, chair in the department of modern languages, said the class has gone well. He is hoping to see greater enrollment in future semesters.
Students like Jessica Gusan, pre-mass communication freshman, argue the language might be too difficult to learn.
“I would consider taking Spanish over anything just because we live in Texas,” Gusan said.
Gusan said the language would be too hard to learn, and she does not see an opportunity to practice outside of school.
Yang, however, said Chinese is an important language for students to learn when it comes to their future occupations.
“China is an important country. It is the second largest trading partner of the United States, and one of its largest creditors,” Yang said. “Learning Chinese will make students more competitive in the job market.Chinese can be important if you are getting a business degree.”
“Chinese is a critical language,” Fischer said. “The language is important for a student’s future. The language is important both economically and politically.”
Both Yang and Fischer hope to offer the program inside the department of modern language soon.