UWP hosts visiting Tongji University dean
PLATTEVILLE - An eminent Chinese educator, who is visiting the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, is discovering more about how to teach English as a second language in his own country.
Jiashu Wang, professor of English and dean of International Studies at Tongji University at Shanghai, is on a three-month sabbatical. He was at the University of Utah for a month and will spend two months at UWP conducting research and visiting language classes.
As a visiting scholar in linguistics and applied linguistics at UWP, Wang is taking full advantage of opportunities to see how foreign language is taught in the U.S.
UWP foreign language faculty member Patrick Hagen and Wang recently attended a conference in Appleton. Wang found the conference, which included discussions about teaching methodology, to be very helpful.
"I am very happy to participate in academics and observe how seminars and classes are carried out here," said Wang, who also speaks some Japanese and reads French. "I have learned quite a lot, and am impressed that students are involved in assessing the learning."
Wang is appreciative of the opportunities at UWP. "I'm very grateful to Chancellor David Markee and Associate Vice Chancellor David Van Buren for providing such good opportunities here."
UWP students are earnest, well prepared and study hard, said Wang. "There are strict requirements here to control teaching quality, and professors give well-prepared lectures."
UWP faculty and students alike appreciate Wang's visit.
Van Buren, who is assisting Wang at UWP, described him as "incredibly hard working. He is very perceptive and uses a subtle approach in language education."
Students also are benefiting from Wang's expertise, said Van Buren. "They are very interested in his observations about China and comparisons between our two countries."
Wang is a key part of UWP's initiatives to establish future faculty exchanges with Chinese universities. '"We may explore closer ties at Tongji and offer a master's degree in education there," said Van Buren. "Professor Wang is a very important person in our efforts to establish these exchanges."
Last summer, UWP established a master's degree program in English education at South Central University for Nationalities in Wuhan, China.
During his stay in the U.S., Wang has visited in New York, New Jersey, Utah and Washington, D.C. While in Wisconsin, he has also visited UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee, but UWP has been his home base throughout his stay in the U.S.
English at one time carried a stigma of imperialism for the Chinese.
"It meant aggression and was the invader's language," said Wang. But today about 200 million Chinese are seriously studying English, he said. "Foreign language, especially English, is taught from elementary schools to the university level."
"Ideologically, China is not afraid of Western nations like the U.S. We open our doors and encourage students to study abroad. The international exchanges are great," he added.
Wang's teaching and work experiences include serving as professor and dean at Tongji University and as professor and lecturer in the English Department at Changsha Tiedao University in Hunan.