Phyllis Ni Zhang

Phyllis Zhang headshot
Associate Professor of Chinese and International Affairs, Director of MA in Chinese Language & Culture Program
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Chinese linguistics (syntax and pedagogical grammar), technology-enhanced foreign language pedagogy; Chinese proficiency development and assessment

Professor Phyllis Zhang holds a Doctorate of Education in Applied Linguistics from Columbia University and has been teaching at GW since 2004. She has served as the director of the GW Chinese language program (2004-2014) and the founding director of the MA in Chinese Language and Culture Program (since 2014). She teaches Chinese from beginning to advanced levels, including writing in discipline (WID) courses, and Business Chinese. Professor Zhang has authored several textbooks, including David & Helen in China (Yale University Press, 1999, 2003), and her Developing Chinese Fluency series (Cengage Learning) with Biaoda (2010), Ni Wo Ta (2015), and Transitions (2018). She has published a number of articles on Chinese language teaching and learning, including the learner’s reading and writing proficiency development impacted by the digital learning environment. Prof. Zhang has been a certified Chinese proficiency (OPI) tester by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL, since 2006). She was the recipient of a GW 2006 Bender Teaching Award. She has also served on the board of Chinese Language Teachers Association- U.S. (CLTA-US), and the board of the Journal of Technology and Chinese Language Teaching (JTCLT, since 2010) and a JTCLT editor (2010-2019).


Doctor of Education, Columbia University



Developing Chinese Fluency: Ni Wo Ta --An Introductory Course (Cengage Learning, 2013/2014)
(Two volumes, Textbook and Literacy Workbook, with a fully functional and interactive e-Book and full-range of online activities)

Developing Chinese Fluency: Biaoda (Intermediate to Advanced)  (Cengage Learning, 2009/2010)
(Textbook and Workbook, a companion website with tech-enhanced activities) 

David and Helen in China: An Intermediate Course in Modern Chinese (Yale University Press 1999, 2003)
(Two volumes, audio CDs and author-produced supplementary online exercises)

David and Helen in ChinaDeveloping Chinese FluencyDeveloping Chinese Fluency


(2013) Using video to promote the acquisition of advanced proficiency. Journal of Technology and Chinese Language Teaching (JTCLT) 4 (2),  Dec 2013, pp. 69-85

(2012) Syncing with the digital age: Using web tools to develop Chinese writing proficiency.  In D. Xu  (Ed.) Technology and Chinese Language Teaching in the U.S. 2012, pp. 162-183.  Beijing: China Social Sciences Press. 

(2012) Using VoiceThread to boost proficiency development: Performance-based activity design. In D. Xu (Ed.) Technology and Chinese Language Teaching in the U.S.  2012, 309-326. Beijing: China Social Sciences Press.

(2011) Effectiveness of computer assisted language learning:  Can the computer substitute for the  traditional drillmaster? In Wu Y. H. (Ed.) Chinese Language Globalization Studies,Vol. 1, 254-263. Beijing: Commercial Press. 

(2009) Video podcasting: Perspectives and prospects for Chinese mobile learning. Journal of the  Chinese Language Teachers Association (JCLTA)  Feb. 2009, Vol. 44:1, 51-67.  

Screenplay and Video DVDs

Ni Wo Ta: Introductory Chinese (Cengage Learning--Asia, 2013/2014)
(29 episodes of narrative video, filmed in Bejing, China)

Web Publications

Video Segments for Intermediate-Advanced Learners
Self-produced narrative and interview videos on topics for proficiency training for description and narration skills, lesson plans)


Classes Taught

CHIN 1(1001) Beginning Chinese I
CHIN 2(1002) Beginning Chinese II
CHIN 3105 Advanced Chinese I
CHIN 3106 Advanced Chinese II
CHIN 4121W Advanced Chinese Conversation and Composition I
CHIN 4122W Advanced Chinese Conversation and Composition II
CHIN 4119W Business Chinese
CHIN 4186W Directed Reading