Qian Gao

Excellence in teaching involves constant and continuous engagement in inspiring students, encouraging and guiding them to develop into well-rounded, independent individuals and thinkers.

Professor of Chinese Language and Culture and Bingham Endowed Chair Qian Gao

About Qian Gao’s work

Professor Qian Gao quotes Chinese philosopher Mencius, who said that one of the three joys is “to have fine youths as students to teach and nurture.” The students at Transylvania are certainly a joy for Gao. Her teaching is student centered, proficiency oriented, context based and technology assisted. Gao designs classroom practice with real-life situations; she wants her students to feel the urgency in practice and to own their language skills. 

“To teach about my own language, my culture and the great literature in Chinese studies, this is what makes me feel proud every day in my classroom,” Gao explains. 

Gao also believes that languages are deeply rooted in cultural practices. Students learning a language naturally learn about the cultural and historical backdrop that helped mold that language. Likewise, engaging in cultural practices makes it easy to learn words and phrases associated with specific social conventions. And it’s fun.

“Students should always play the main role in any language classroom because they are the ones who aim to achieve language proficiency,” Gao adds. “So my classroom is always student centered. I’m a big fan of technology for teaching. I love to learn, experiment with new things, and then try to give them the best use in my classroom teaching.”

Gao wants her students to imagine they are in China, and they must rely on their language skills to connect with the people they meet and make new friends. Developing language proficiency helps them “open up so many windows and doors.” Gao encourages her students to study abroad, to immerse themselves in an amazing culture. For those who aspire to further learning,  Gao encourages them to go on to graduate studies.

When a student masters a new language, the learning is just beginning.

portrait of qian gao
Qian Gao — download this portrait