Chinese class offers students cultural experience

March 27, 2014


Ziyi’ Jiang, right, teaches Aaron Hastings, a sophomore cyber engineering major, the basics of Chinese. –Photo by Colin Fontenot

Ziyi’ Jiang, right, teaches Aaron Hastings, a sophomore cyber engineering major, the basics of Chinese. –Photo by Colin Fontenot

Staff Reporter


A beginning Chinese class offered spring quarter gives students like Cameron Surratt the chance to explore another language in an interactive environment and prepare them for global careers.


“The course might be useful in future jobs if I have to work outside of the country,” said Surratt, a sophomore mechanical engineering major.


The School of Literature and Language is offering the class on a trial basis.


Ziyi’ Jiang, the instructor for the course, is originally from China. She graduated from California State University with a master’s in English composition, applied linguistics and teaching English as a second language.


“We are fortunate to have Ms. Jiang working with us through a partnership with California State University and the Optional Practical Training program,” said Susan Roach, director of the School of Literature and Language.


Roach said this program helps international graduates gain work experience in their academic discipline.


“Her training in teaching a second language and her knowledge as a Chinese native are excellent credentials for teaching this course,” Roach said.


Jiang said the 20 students have enrolled in the class will learn basics in phonetics, characters and the four tones in Mandarin.


“I love it,” Jiang said. “It is something that makes me wish the second day can come quicker. I am eager to teach everything I know to the students.”


Jiang said she wants students to enjoy the class and be able to use what they learn in day-to-day conversation. She does not want students to feel as if it is just a course, but that they are embracing another culture.


“My philosophy is that when things are different it does not mean that it is difficult,” Jiang said. “It is just something that you have never seen before.”


Jiang said she wants to help them feel relaxed and confident in what they are learning.


Aminiah Smith, a sophomore biomedical and cyber engineering major, said she enjoys the interactions and visuals the instructor uses.


“I like to learn languages and Chinese is one on my list,” Smith said. “It is very helpful in the industry.”


Both Smith and Surratt said they would definitely take a second course if offered.


Jiang came to Louisiana Tech University in the winter quarter as an assistant to the English department. She is an adjunct instructor, and this is her first teaching job.


“I feel very lucky that the department offered me this chance,” Jiang said. “The department has given me the opportunity to stay here and do something I really enjoy.”


The department and instructor would like to continue the course into other quarters if possible, but as of now the funds are not available.


Email comments to emo012@latech.edu.


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