Research Center

The Confucius Institute at the University of Iowa's International Center for the Studies of Chinese as a Foreign Language (ICSCFL)

A message from Founding Director, Professor Chuanren KE:

With the number of students enrolling in Chinese language classes worldwide growing exponentially and with the anticipated sustained growth in the decades to come, the field of teaching Chinese as second/foreign language (CFL) is faced with two fundamental challenges.

Teaching Chinese as a second/foreign language: meeting the challenges

The first challenge comes from the need to transform a field that has been predominantly experienced-based into a discipline whose instructional practice will be theory and research based. The second challenge lies in the need to train CFL teachers of the 21st century to meet the growing instructional demand.

Dealing with these challenges makes research key

To deal with these two challenges research and theory development is the key. Knowledge generated from our concerted research efforts will guide our instructional practice and can facilitate our students’ learning process. This knowledge base will also be a crucial component in our teacher development program.

The Confucius Institute (CI) at the University of Iowa's International Center for the Studies of Chinese as a Foreign Language (ICSCFL)

The Confucius Institute at the University of Iowa's International Center for the Studies of Chinese as a Foreign Language (ICSCFL) plays a leadership role and serves as a platform for our international CFL research and teacher development efforts. The University of Iowa has a critical mass of top-notch scholars in research in second language acquisition of Chinese and Chinese language pedagogy.

The University of Iowa offers many opportunities to pursue teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language

The University of Iowa offers an MA degree in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language and a Ph.D. degree in Second Language Acquisition with a concentration in Chinese as a foreign language. UI is one of a handful institutions with a Chinese teacher certification program for K-12. UI offers MAT and undergraduate or certification-only certificates in teaching Chinese as a foreign language for K-12. The State of Iowa has agreements with Illinois, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Certifications received in the state of Iowa are recognized in those states.

The CI International Center for the Studies of Chinese as a Foreign Language (ICSCFL) serves as a platform for international efforts

The CI International Center for the Studies of Chinese as a Foreign Language (ICSCFL) plays a leadership role in research on the learning and teaching of Chinese as a second/foreign language and will serve as a platform for coordinating international efforts on major CFL research projects. Our CFL research has a reference to a language learning framework and is consequently relevant to solving problems that hinder the progress of Chinese language learning. Our research projects are prioritized based on the goals of the field. Specifically, the mission of the CI's International Center for the Studies of Chinese as a Foreign Language (ICSCFL) includes (but is not limited to), the following:

The Mission of the CI's International Center for the Studies of Chinese as a Foreign Language (ICSCFL)

  • Play a leadership role in Chinese language teacher development. Concerted efforts are made to provide degree and non-degree certification, pre-service and in-service Chinese language teacher training during the regular academic year as well as summer programs.
  • Play a leadership role on research in the learning and teaching of Chinese as a second/foreign language in the international arena by undertaking major research projects for the field and by holding periodic international symposiums for CFL researchers worldwide to share their research findings and to promote theoretical framework development for CFL learning and teaching.
  • Identify and formulate an array of purposeful and prioritized research projects that will have the most effect on CFL study. It is important to focus on research efforts that can be sustained and knowledge of which can be accumulated and its usability can be optimized.
  • Build on the strengths of CFL researchers in the world and improve the status of CFL research vigor in terms of choosing research methods appropriate to the research task.
  • Play a leadership role in Chinese language teacher development. Concerted efforts are made to provide degree and non-degree certification, pre-service and in-service Chinese language teacher training during the regular academic year as well as summer programs.
  • Play an active role in CFL teacher development by conducting periodic international workshops on curriculum development, classroom methodology, assessment, instructional materials development, and technological application to CFL learning and teaching. Contents of the teacher training workshops should be theoretically grounded.
  • Train SLA Chinese researchers of the 21st century, including Ph.D. students and post-doc fellows from China, either degree- or non-degree-oriented students, through joint-training with universities in mainland China and Taiwan.

M.A.T. Foreign Language Education (Chinese)