Phyllis Ni Zhang

Phyllis Ni Zhang

Associate Professor of Chinese and International Affairs, Director of MA in Chinese Language & Culture Program
Address: Rome Hall
Phone: 202-994-5051
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Second language acquisition; Chinese linguistics (syntax), material development, proficiency assessment

A native Chinese, Dr. Zhang holds a Doctorate  in Applied Linguistics from Columbia University in New York (1994). Before joining GW, she taught Chinese at Columbia (1986-2004), where she served as Director of the Chinese Program (1999-2002), and Director of the Columbia in Beijing Summer Program (1998-99). Since 2004 Dr. Zhang has been teaching at GWU, serving as Director of Chinese Language Program (Fall 2004-Spring 2014), and Director of Master of Arts in Chinese Language & Culture Program (since fall 2014). Her recent research focuses on second language acquisition through tech-enhanced and proficiency-oriented language instruction.  Dr. Zhang is also a certified tester of Chinese language proficiency by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). She won several awards including a Tuttle Asian Language Publication Grant (2004), a GW Bender Teaching Award (2007), and an Innovative Multimedia Materials Award (2008). She currently serves on the board of Chinese Language Teachers Association, U.S. (CLTA), and on the Standing Committee of Technology and Chinese Language Teaching (TCLT). Since 2010 she has also been the Technology & Pedagogy Editor of Journal of TCLT (JTCLT).


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