Reflections on the Pedagogy of Chinese as a Non-native Language

In this lecture, a number of issues related to the learning and teaching of Chinese as a non-native language (and, to a lesser extent, of other languages) will be discussed, including: why training in the oral skills should precede training in the written skills at the basic level; the importance of drills (out of class as well as in class) as an enabling mechanism for attaining the goal of communicative competence; the value of traditional Chinese learning strategies like memorization and dictation; the importance of training in both informal and formal registers, especially when teaching Chinese for specific purposes; and a new perspective on the Chinese writing system. The talk will conclude with some predictions about future trends in Chinese language pedagogy.


Cornelius Kubler
  • Stanfield Professor of Asian Studies

Prof. Cornelius C. Kubler is the Stanfield Professor of Asian Studies at Williams College, a former U.S. diplomat and the former American Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies. 

Prof. Kubler earned his undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in linguistics from Cornell University and a second master’s degree in Chinese literature from National Taiwan University. Over the years, he has authored or coauthored more than 15 books and more than 50 articles on Chinese language pedagogy and linguistics. 

His areas of expertise include pedagogy of Chinese as a non-native language, Sinitic languages and linguistics (especially dialectology), East Asian linguistics, language contact, East Asian language teacher training and evaluation, East Asian language training program management and evaluation.