My name is Jie Liu, and I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Second Language Studies at Michigan State University (MSU). Before coming to MSU, I completed my MA in linguistics at the University of Kansas, and an MA in linguistics and applied linguistics and a BA in Chinese culture and literature at Beijing Language and Culture University, China.
My research interests center on formal approaches to second language (L2) acquisition and L2 sentence processing. My dissertation focuses on the second language comprehension and production of Chinese classifiers, with the aim of exploring the nature of learners’ difficulties in classifier acquisition. This research may also lead to better approaches in teaching classifiers.
I am also interested in new and innovative ways to teach language with modern technology. One of my projects is to work with a research team on a video game that trains students to perceive and produce Mandarin tones—something students frequently struggle with in my Chinese courses—more accurately. Currently we are using the game as a research tool to investigate how consonants and vowels affect tone perception.
I enjoy teaching Chinese and have had nine years of experience teaching various levels of Chinese courses in diverse teaching environments, including at MSU, University of Kansas, the summer intensive Chinese program of Columbia University in Beijing, Beijing Language and Culture University, and National University of Modern Languages in Pakistan. In those universities, I have used a variety of approaches and methods and taught all levels of Chinese, from beginner to intermediate and advanced level courses. Whenever possible, I incorporate my knowledge of current applied linguistics research in my teaching. In particular, it is crucial to take a principled communicative approach, while still providing explicit, focus-on-form instruction in grammar when needed. In addition to traditional classroom teaching, I also have had opportunities to develop and administer online courses at MSU. I taught and administered a hybrid Chinese course, as well as a fully online course on pedagogical English grammar for English teachers. I worked in the Less Commonly Taught Languages Partnership Project through CeLTA developing an online module for Swahili. I also helped to develop an online course covering grammar for second language professionals.
Currently I am working on my dissertation under the direction of Dr. Patti Spinner, and I am looking forward to starting a new journey after graduation.