(Sept. 20, 2017) -- Meet Ying Li ’16. This UTSA graduate and professor is giving students a better understanding of the Chinese language and culture.
Born and raised in north China, Li was surrounded by educators. Both of her grandparents were Chinese language and literature teachers. Her dream was to come to America to further learn about the methodology and theories of foreign language education.
While earning her master’s degree in Beijing, she learned about the many opportunities in the U.S. and decided to study at UTSA’s Bicultural-Bilingual Studies department.
“The program at UTSA is unique,” Li said. “I was interested in learning about the interplay between language and culture. The program at UTSA focused on both.”
Li moved to San Antonio in 2011 so she could pursue her Ph.D. in Culture, Literacy and Language at UTSA.
“I learned a lot from UTSA professors and my cohort,” Li said. “I had the chance to learn so many teaching theories and practices – in second language acquisition and bilingual education.”
One year before earning her degree from UTSA, Li was hired as a faculty member, teaching Chinese to fellow Roadrunners.
“At UTSA, I’m able to incorporate western language pedagogy which I wouldn’t be able to do in a traditional Chinese classroom in China. I can make learning fun and meaningful for my students,” Li said.
One of the ways Li engages students in learning is through a partnership between her UTSA students and students in China who are learning English. Li and a colleague, who teaches college students in China, have developed a project where the UTSA students communicate and write with the students in China through WeChat, one of the most popular messaging apps in China.
“Through this platform, my UTSA students can actually talk and become friends with Chinese students in China,” Li said. “Both classes are practicing language proficiency.”
She says it feels good to see her teaching style pay off.
“When my students tell me, ‘I got it. I can do it!’ I have validation that my efforts to efficiently teach them work. It’s a fantastic feeling.”
Research is also one of Li’s passions. Currently, she and her students are studying how native Spanish speakers learn Chinese differently than native English speakers. They’re also studying which methodology is best to teach Chinese to the Spanish-speaking students. In the past, she has investigated this research with Cantonese-speaking students.
She also conducts research on Chinese culture and has explored how to integrate Chinese culture in foreign language education to enhance students’ cross-cultural communication competency.
When she’s not teaching or doing research, Li’s practicing calligraphy. She established the UTSA Chinese Calligraphy Workshop and is teaching UTSA students the art of the Chinese calligraphy. She also has held Chinese calligraphy and cultural workshops at San Antonio Public Libraries.
Additionally, Li serves as a faculty advisor for three UTSA student organizations: The Chinese Language and Culture Club, Vietnamese Student Association and Alpha Sigma Rho Sorority.
This semester, she is teaching a new course: Colloquium in East Asian Culture.
“Asian cultures are interrelated. They have their similarities, but also their differences. It’s beneficial to learn from various Asian cultural perspectives and how we can communicate in the globalization era,” Li said. “My goal is to bridge the different cultures together and educate the community.”
It’s a community Li now calls her home.
“In America, San Antonio is my hometown. It’s a great city to study, teach and raise a family here,” she said. “At UTSA, I get so much support from the professors, colleagues and even the students. I’m grateful to have earned a degree and work at such a diverse university. UTSA gave me a lot of opportunities to excel.”
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Get your tickets for 2 sausage wraps, chips, and drink for $6 to help the United Way and efforts to improve health and well being in South Texas.Outside the North Paseo Building, Main Campus
The town hall is an opportunity for the campus community to learn more about the President's Initiative for the Downtown Campus, ask questions, and offer perspectives on potential challenges and benefits.Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
This unofficial Fiesta celebration offers students and the community an alcohol-free alternative to Fiesta with music, games, food and fun. The 10th annual celebration is bigger than ever before with a new location, the Student Union Ballrooms and features a casino night theme.Student Union Ballrooms (HSU 1104/1.106), Main Campus
UTSA Athletics will host a watch party for the first round of the NFL Draft. Roadrunners are invited to see which team selects former student-athlete Marcus Davenport.Walk-On's, 11075 IH-10 West, San Antonio
UTSA students and the San Antonio community are invited to this event where people shave their head and raise money to fight childhood cancer.Student Union Lawn, Main Campus
The former curator of literary collections for The Huntington Library will share Secrets from the Stacks: Untold Stories of Collecting the Papers of Contemporary Authors. Lecture is free and open to the public.John Peace Library (JPL 4.04.22), Main Campus
Come learn about Korea and its culture through food tasting, music, dance and percussion performance, games, arts, crafts, presentations and more.Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
Teams of four hit the links for a day of golf that supports UTSA scholarships.Hyatt Hill Country Golf Club, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr, San Antonio