My Teaching



My Philosophy of Teaching


        From my standpoint, L2 education is empowerment education for our citizens; and L2 learning means a recognition, emancipation, environmental interfacing, reinforcement, and maintenance of some innate powers in our learners. As such, learning assumes a series of actions and a lengthy process.

        Such a philosophy of L2 learning is deeply rooted in Chomsky’s (1965) Mentalist theory, Austin-Searle’s (1962; 1969) Speech Act theory, and Sperber-Wilson’s (1986) Relevance theory.  Chomsky believed that human beings are born with a language acquisition device with three elements: a universal grammar (UG), a hypothesis-making device, and an evaluation and testing procedure. To me, his UG is comparable to a Windows operating system (OS) in a computer, the hypothesis-making device the CPU commanding the Windows OS, and the evaluation procedure the input. Chomsky’s theory implies that L2 teaching should respect and recognize such genetic human traits, and consider it its eventual goal to help adult learners to translate, via proper input, such traits into power. Taking speech as a social act, Austin-Searle implies that L2 teaching should wire learners to proper social conducts. And for Sperber-Wilson, language teaching should aim at helping learners develop a relevance-oriented competence as a maintenance tool featuring proper speech conduct as good citizens.

        Accordingly empowerment-oriented L2 teaching should gear at an objective of five modules: language knowledge, language skills, cultural awareness, affect and attitude, and learning strategy. Language knowledge, inclusive of sound, lexicon, structure, and meaning, represents the base; language skills, ranging from listening, speaking, reading, writing, translating, watching, and presenting, stands for performance abilities to be sequentially trained; cultural awareness, comprising L1, L2, and all previously acquired cultural knowledge, is self-motivating source of learning; affect and attitude refer to changed attitudes toward the target language, life and worldly affairs; learning strategy, a tool for life-long learning, is phrased in Chinese as “rather teach a fisherman ways of fishing than give him fish”. My objectives in teaching then are to engage learners to interactions with and acquisitions of these five modules.

        Empowerment-oriented teaching is in fact student-centered teaching, which is conditional to absolute teacher-centeredness, because only with maximal and optimal teacher-centeredness, can student-ceteredness be ultimately actualized. Hence my role in teaching is fourfold: being a good learner—knowledgeable about my field as well as ways of student learning; being a good teacher—familiar with methods and good at using them properly; being a good researcher—with clearly defined research focus and active in publishing research findings and communicating; and being a good community servant—committed to community development, expectations, and research issues. In one word, mine is a 3-in-1 role: a researcher-and-community-servant professor. 








Spring 2006


Spring 2007


Mey, J. (2001). Pragmatics: An Introduction. Beijing: FLTR Press.

Verschueren, J. (2000). Understanding Pragmatics. Beijing: FLTR Press.


Second Language Acquisition



Foreign Language Learning Strategy



Thesis Writing

  • This is a compulsory course for all graduate students jointly offered by professors in the MA programs of COFS in the first semester (every Fall).I have been basically lectured on two topics: 1)Choosing topics for a degree thesis; 2)Writing for thesis  proposal and proposal defense. If you are interested in having a handout of my talks on these two topics, just email me. For other topics, please refer to the following professors: Xu Jiwang, Chen Jitang, Wei Han, and Zhang Shuning.
  • Online readings


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Maintained and last updated Wednesday, 2007-08-08