(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.”
This high school student exhibit features images, videos, interviews and writings that the students learned about while participating in "The Will to Adorn: African American Dress and the Aesthetics of Identity."Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
UTSA has a greater focus in 2018 to serve the local community. Learn the many opportunities you can get involved.Student Union, 1st floor corridor, Main Campus
Dr. Ricky Jones, professor and chair of the Department of Pan-African studies at the University of Louisville. He will share his expertise on the impact of African American history on today’s society.Student Union, Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
Come meet STEM recruiters in person from companies across the nation that have full-time, part-time and/or internship opportunities.Convocation Center, Main Campus
The summit is an opportunity to create an open forum for the community to share ideas and perspectives on civic engagement.H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.104), Main Campus
Meet recruiters in person from companies across the nation that have full-time and/or internship opportunities. Professional dress required.Convocation Center, Main Campus
New exhibit of Latino and Latina artists is curated by Arturo Infante Almeida, art specialist and curator for the UTSA Art Collection. Opening Reception is Feb. 8; exhibit runs through June 10.Centro de Artes Gallery, 102 S. Santa Rosa, San Antonio
The UTSA commnity is encouraged to get involved in this city-wide initiative to clean up the San Antonio area waterways. Roadsrunners will be cleaning up Maverick Creek on the west side of Main Campus.Maverick Creek, Main Campus
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