Chiu-Hung Chen

Chiu-Hung Chen
Monday, February 10, 2020 - 9:19am

POSITION: Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream

ACADEMIC UNIT: Language Studies


JOINED UTM FACULTY: 2018         

“Language and culture are intertwined, and I emphasize the importance of the intersection between the two.”

Obtaining a teaching position at UTM “felt like coming home,” says Chiu-Hung Chen, an assistant professor of Chinese. She immigrated to Canada in her 20s, and earned her undergraduate (second-language teaching) and graduate (linguistics) degrees in Ottawa.

After earning her PhD, Chen moved to Florida where Miami’s weather “reminded me of Taiwan,” and then to California. Although she had a tenure track position on the west coast, she yearned to return to Canada. When a position opened at UTM, she quickly applied. “It’s a big circle,” she says. “I’m back to where I started."

At UTM, Chen teaches Chinese language and culture courses, including first- and second-year Chinese language and an introduction to Chinese culture. She also teaches courses in the linguistics program that are related to language teaching and learning: second-language pedagogy, and theoretical issues in second-language teaching and learning. In addition, she’s helping to develop a third-year language course in Chinese and a proposal for a minor in Chinese language and culture.

“I admire my students’ courage because Chinese isn’t an easy language to learn,” she says, “but I want to show them it’s approachable.”

Chen introduces her language students to Chinese culture, both modern and ancient, as a way to motivate them. “Language and culture are intertwined, and I emphasize the importance of the intersection between the two as well as the importance of developing intercultural competence.” She hopes to train students to reflect on their own culture and worldview through the perspectives of another language and culture.

Teaching Chinese at UTM is more challenging than in the U.S., Chen says, because of her students’ varying levels of knowledge. Both native and non-native speakers enrol in her classes. Some want to be able to communicate with their families; some are doing business in China and want to understand the language; others are curious about the culture.

“I like the diverse cultural backgrounds my students have,” she says. “Last year, my students spoke 10 to 15 different languages. The U.S. was more homogeneous.”

Chen’s research interests include second-language acquisition and literacy development. She is also interested in computer-assisted language learning and keeps up to date on the related technology.


Selected Publications:

  1. Chen, Chiu-Hung. & Ke Peng. (2019). “CFL learners’ perception of reading: effects of unfamiliar words and guided reading instruction.” Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Chinese Language Pedagogy.
  2. Chen, Chiu-Hung. & Ke Peng. (2017). “Identifying the Difficulty Index of Chinese Characters from CFL Beginners.” Journal of Chinese Language Teaching, Volume 14, Number 1: 21-46.
  3. Chen, Chiu-Hung. (2016). Developing Immediate Feedback in a Hybrid Course Setting: An Action Research. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference and Workshops on Technology and Chinese Language Teaching (TCLT9): 1-8.

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