University News

Chinese Language Specialist Visits Western September 12-14

September 8, 2005

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MACOMB, IL - - Felicia Zhang, lecturer in charge of the Chinese program in the School of Languages and International Education at the University of Canberra, Australia, will be visiting Western Illinois University Monday Sept. 12 through Wednesday Sept. 14.

Zhang will deliver a paper and demonstration on her most recent research from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday Sept. 13 in Stipes Hall 121. The focus of the lecture will relate to the teaching and learning of Mandarin tones and prosody through the use of a multi-sensory approach.

The lecture, titled "A somatic enhanced approach to creating a language-learning environment,” will include a demonstration of SPTOOL, a software program that she has developed to provide feedback to students on their oral productions. The program can be used to support the correct pronunciation of any language, and Zhang has offered to make SPTOOL available to Western’s foreign languages and literatures department.

“Felicia Zhang is probably Australia's leading scholar in the teaching of Mandarin language for proficiency,” said Andrew Lian, chair of the foreign languages and literatures department. “The foreign languages and literatures department is fortunate to be able to benefit from some of her research through the SPTOOL program that she will be making available for our use.”

Zhang is a specialist in language-learning methodology and the uses of technology in language learning. She is a graduate of the University of Queensland and the University of Melbourne and has just completed a doctoral dissertation at the University of Canberra.

She has numerous referred publications and has presented at many national and international conferences. Zhang was voted Australia’s best humanities university professor in 2003, winning the “Humanities and Arts” category of the Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT). The award included a $40,000 grant by the Australian Federal Minister for Education.

The lecture is open free to Western faculty and students.

For more information on Felicia Zhang, visit her personal website at Her latest publication is available at

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