Friday, August 08, 2014

[028] Chinese professors absorb language, culture in MTSU program

MURFREESBORO — Chinese professors are immersing themselves in American culture at MTSU in order to teach the English language more proficiently.

For the fourth year, the university’s Center for East and South Asian Studies is sponsoring the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program.

A total of 17 English instructors from three institutions have taken in everything from seminars on grammar and teaching methodology to American culture.

“Most of them have been teaching for many years in China,” said Dr. Guanping Zheng, center director. “So this gives them an opportunity to see how we approach teaching foreign languages.”

The visitors’ itinerary has included participation in the Summer Language Institute, where Dr. Shelley Thomas of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures teaches the Total Physical Response, or TPR, method.

TPR engages the learner in the process through storytelling and physical movement, enabling the rapid acquisition of vocabulary.

Zheng said TPR cannot be copied for use in Chinese institutions because class sizes are too large, but the ideology still can be applied.

While at MTSU, the Chinese group has ventured to the Jack Daniels Distillery, the Stones River National Battlefield and a local church for a taste of Southern hospitality.

“I think it is a very good cooperation between China’s universities and MTSU,” said Lynn Zhang of Inner Mongolia University of Nationalities. “I appreciate this program, and we learned a lot from our respective professors.”

One group of instructors will leave Aug. 1, but the rest will remain on campus until Oct.1.

For more information, contact Zheng at 615-494-8696 or

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