Skip to main content

Shu-Chen Chen

Associate Professor, General Faculty


2007 Ph.D. in Religious Studies, the University of Virginia, Concentration: Studies in Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist History and Culture
1999 M.A. in Religious Studies, University of Virginia
1992 M.A. in Linguistics, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., Canada
1988 B.A. in Western Languages and Literatures, National Cheng-chi University, Taipei, Taiwan


Throughout my more than 10 years of teaching Chinese in higher education, I have developed a panoramic view of effective pedagogy that blends diverse student voices, collaborative exchanges, diligent planning, thoughtful instructional design, and data-driven enhancements to fulfill primary objectives. Sound preparation is the underlying factor of all enjoyable and logical instruction. Assessment provides the foundational gauge by which instructors grasp the success of their efforts to communicate key concepts and skills, track student learning outcomes, and identify instructional approaches, activities, and content in need of prospective improvement. In foreign-language classes, students acquire new perspectives, insights, and identities. Unique student voices evolve as a process of co-creation between pupils and instructors as they share reflections and work toward increased proficiency and cultural competence.

Besides this panoramic view, I also possess an acute sense of efficacy when it comes to any action related to Chinese instruction. I am aided by the following four credentials that I have cultivated over the years to improve both my own and student performances:

  • Chinese Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) tester/rater following the ACTFL (The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) protocol and proficiency guidelines. 

  • Chinese AAPPL (The ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages) rater, 

  • Pearson EdTPA World Language-Chinese, scorer of K-12 Mandarin teacher teaching portfolios. 

  • University of Maryland National Foreign Language Center DLPT (Defense Language Proficiency Test) Test Items Target Language Reviewer.

I am empowered to see clearly what instructional methods work, having seen learning outcomes in my ratings from numerous Chinese OPI samples from ACTFL’s testing agency, LTI (Language Testing International), as well as testing of the University of Virginia’s graduating Chinese majors each year. 
Having served as Pearson’s EdTPA scorer, I have intimately familiarized myself with the crucial steps of planning, instructional delivery, assessment, and engagement with student voices. Most importantly, I possess invaluable understandings of what classroom activities are most effective for student learning, and why they work. 

Theme and topic-based activities, furthermore, encourage students to create with the language they have learned to express themselves in various contexts pertaining to their own life and culture. When in class, students conduct meaningful discussion and begin thinking of their own culture and the target foreign culture by comparison. Consequently, students gain more understanding toward their own lives, as opposed to just learning the target language as an isolated discipline. Role-playing is an effective model, whereby students enact diverse perspectives in a simulated real-world situation or task by using relevant vocabulary and expressions in the target language. Role-play teaches students to identify, highlight, and address a problem, finding solutions via creative critical-thinking skills. Theme and content-based activities in instruction allow students to engage authentic language practice in applied scenarios, and deepen their learning experiences.

I hope to continue to progress and deepen my competence in all professional aspects while enjoying living in the beautiful natural landscape of Central Virginia. 

Hobbies: Gardening, Eating home grown organic produce.