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Learning and language

Posted 12:53 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Hongying Xu has added two more publications to her resume.

UWL's Hongying Xu shares expertise, best practices in two new publications

Hongying Xu, an associate professor in UWL’s Department of Global Cultures & Languages, has added two more publications to her résumé 

Xu co-authored a chapter titled “Retaining Students with Shared Courses and Meaningful Credentials” in the book “Language Program Vitality in the United States.” Kaishan Kong, associate professor at UW-Eau Claire, and Lauren Rosen, director of the UW Collaborative Language Program (CLP), contributed to the chapter alongside Xu.  

“In this article, we shared our practices and plans for further collaboration via CLP,” Xu says. “In order to retain students in Chinese, CLP created the badges system, which acknowledges students’ proficiency level in different language skills.” 

CLP, established in 1998, uses blended and online learning methods to share language courses across various UW campuses. It measures student success through the nationally recognized Avant STAMP 4S assessment, which gauges students' skills in listening, reading, speaking and writing.   

“It is our hope that the badges will give students incentives to stay in the Chinese programs and take higher-level courses,” Xu says. 

To meet the need for more high-level courses in the future, the Chinese programs at UWL and UW- Eau Claire are planning to share 300-level courses across campuses, through CLP. 

Xu has seen the positive impacts of the program through being an active participant in the professional development activities hosted by CLP since 2012. Xu officially became part of the system-wide program in Fall 2023, sending her CHI101 class to UW-Stevens Point.  

“It provides more options for students to learn a language that is either not offered on their own campus or stops at lower levels,” Xu explains. “It also gives students exposure to different instructors, especially for the programs run by a single instructor.” 

Students are not the only group to benefit from the program. CLP helps retain positions for instructors who otherwise may not have enough students to keep their courses. In addition, Xu shares that it enhances the collaboration between different, less commonly taught languages across campuses and helps create community among the instructors.  

Xu published a sole-authored book on how learners of Chinese acquire the difficult grammar structure used in the language, referred to as BA construction.

One example of collaboration between instructors is collecting data for research. In order to explore how Chinese learners acquire relative clauses (a clause that modifies a noun phrase) in Chinese, Xu plans to reach out to instructors on other campuses to collect data from more advanced learners. 

Another research area Xu intends to investigate is language instruction pedagogy, focusing on exploring ways to help students develop their intercultural communicative competence (ICC) in language classrooms. 

“I have been doing research along this line in recent years because I realized that ICC is a skill that needs to be developed and can be developed among college language learners,” Xu says. “I also firmly believe that this skill can be transferred to their communication with people who are different from themselves in various ways.” 

On top of ICC, Xu has done extensive research surrounding second language acquisition (SLA), which was the area of her doctoral studies, in addition to curriculum and instruction.  

In November, Xu published a sole-authored book on how learners of Chinese acquire the difficult grammar structure used in the language, referred to as BA construction. Xu delves into theoretical framework that suggests the difficulties learners face comes from the intersection of different linguistic modules, such as structure, arrangement of words and meaning. Xu suggests that Processing Instruction, an approach focusing on learners’ processing of grammatical structures, can possibly address the biggest challenges Chinese learners face while trying to understand BA construction. 

“There have been numerous studies on learning and teaching the BA construction in the field,” Xu says. “However, my research, to the best of my knowledge, is among the few that explore these issues under SLA frameworks.”   

Xu has written or contributed to several other books and publications, which can be found on her professor profile. 

Xu’s sole-authored book, “The Instruction and Acquisition of the BA Construction by Students of Chinese as a Foreign Language,” can be purchased online. 

The book containing Xu’s co-authored chapter can be accessed or purchased online. 


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