Student Research Project, 2008-2009
Under the mentorship of Dr. Kylie Hsu, Dana Fan Chi Kung presented a refereed paper, "A Hybrid Approach to Teaching Chinese Phonetic Systems," at the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research held at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, November 22, 2008. She later presented additional new results at the CSULA 17th Annual Student Symposium on Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity, February 27, 2009. Additionally, her project was selected for presentation to representatives from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) during their visit on April 2, 2009.
Dana commented on the following valuable experiences she has gained: "I am deeply honored to have participated in these scholarly activities where I shared my teaching experience with other participants. Most of them understood the impact of the different political systems on the development of the Chinese writing system. However, they were not aware of how it has affected student learning to a certain extent. Inspired by Dr. Hsu, I did a longitudinal study on students learning to write in a weekend school where I taught Chinese to K-6 students. Although the school was torn between the two different Chinese phonetic spelling systems, pinyin and zhuyin, I discovered that integrating these two systems has stimulated student interest and benefited my teaching. Under Dr. Hsu's guidance, I continued to revise my teaching plans based on my renewed understanding of the Chinese language through taking her linguistics courses. I tried to find an effective teaching method for my students. To help them learn to write traditional Chinese characters, I decided to use the Westernized pinyin system as a tool for learning pronunciation, and the Chinese zhuyin system as a basic structure for learning character strokes. This hybrid approach has not only enhanced their language acquisition, but it has also increased their Chinese culture awareness. Students responded positively to this teaching method, and there was a noticeable improvement in their work. Although my research project was only a preliminary study, I am very grateful to the conference participants for their suggestions and recommendations for expanding my project in breadth and depth. There is no doubt that my project not only requires long-term observation of student learning, but it also needs student participation in my revised teaching methods. I will work hard to achieve this objective. Finally, I would like to express my profound appreciation to Dr. Hsu for providing me the opportunity to participate in the above activities, which have motivated me to further my research and to improve my teaching."