The First Teachers College, Columbia University Roundtable in Second Language Studies (TCCRISLS) was held on October 1-2, 2010 in New York City. I attended and presented my research at the poster session at the TCCRISLS conference with the support of the CLS Travel Grant Fund. The title of this paper was The Effects of Using Memorization as a CFL Learning Strategy. This study was aimed at determining the effects of using memorization (especially memorizing texts and short paragraphs) as a learning strategy for improving tonal acquisition, pronunciation accuracy, intonation fluency, and language proficiency. In my experience as a CSL teacher, I have found that memorization appeared to play an important role in CSL learning. I hope the research will benefit future CSL teachers and students in mastering skills on the acquisition of Chinese tonal and intonation proficiency.
The TCCRISLS conference provided a forum to address topics specifically related to the acquisition of Chinese as a second language. Through the poster session, I had the opportunity to interact with CSL experts from a variety of educational institutions about how we conduct memorization assignments and implement the pedagogy of tonal acquisition in our curriculum design and practices. I also attended some of talks related to empirical studies on characters, vocabulary, grammatical acquisition and learning strategies as listed below:
- Plenary Speaker Nick Ellis from University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) gave a talk on Second Language Cognition. The talk covered eight major principles of second language cognition from other languages that can offer insights for future Chinese SLA studies.
- A Pedagogical Grammar of TCSL Proficiency Test (Shou-Hsin Teng etal., National Taiwan Normal University)
- Language Attrition and Maintenance in Chinese Character Recognition (Yea-Fen Chen, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee)
- Chinese Heritage Language Socialization Across the Life Span (Agnes He, Stony Brook University, SUNY)
- How Do Dialectal Students Learn Chinese in the CFL Classrooms? (Jennifer Ching-hu Hsiao, The University of Texas at Austin)
- Concept-Based Approach to Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language — Teaching the Chinese spatial temporal expressions (Wei Lai, Pennsylvania State University)
- An Analysis of Pronunciation Errors of Advanced-Level Chinese Learners (Wen Cao, Beijing Language and Culture University; Qiuyu Wang, Harvard University)
- Identity, Good Language Learning and Learners of Chinese in the United States (Jia Yu, Ohio University)
- An analysis of intonation acquisition among Chinese learners (Si Yu, University of Pennsylvania)
- Learners’ and Teachers’ Evaluation of Teaching Activities (Li Xu, Princeton University)
In general, I hope we can have more SLA studies in the CFL field and that we are able to apply this learning more fully to our daily teaching and future materials development. I am confident that this will lead to positive educational growth for both teachers and students.