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On March 5, 2010 The Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota hosted a dinner and lecture by Dr. Helen H. Shen at Central States Conference on Teaching Foreign Languages,
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. The lecture was in Chinese with English language power point.
The presentation started with Dr. Shen briefly explaining the linguistic features of Chinese orthography, which differs fundamentally from English. Then it proceeded to address how the unique linguistic features of Chinese script requirse specific cognitive processes in character learning as well as the cognitive difficulties that English-speaking learners may encounter during their learning. Predicated on the discussion of the linguistic and cognitive traits of learning Chinese characters/words, effective approaches and methods of character/word instruction for k-12 classroom will be proposed and exemplified.
Helen H. Shen is an Associate Professor of Chinese, Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Iowa. She currently serves as the Coordinator of the Chinese Language Program at the UI. She is also a graduate advisor in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language. Dr. Shen's primary research areas are Chinese as a second language acquisition with focus on literacy development including orthographic knowledge development, reading comprehension, assessment, and testing. She has conducted a series of empirical studies in the area of Mandarin literacy acquisition and has published extensively. She has served as the Project Director for a comprehensive Chinese web-reading Program for non-native beginning, intermediate, and advanced learners supported by a Title VI International Research and Studies grant from the US Department of Education. She also is a recipient of the 2010 Startalk Summer Chinese Program for high school students at the University of Iowa. She is the lead author of the two bilingual Chinese textbooks for beginning learners.