Taiwan Lector Project2016/10/1~2019/9/30
  • Project Description

    The aim of the Taiwan Lector project at Cambridge is to introduce language didactics and pedagogy as well as text materials that have a distinctively Taiwanese character into the teaching of modern Mandarin to undergraduate students. A succession of highly qualified language teachers from Taiwan have been instrumental in adding a new dimension to the teaching of the Chinese language. They do so through the use of traditional characters, the development of innovative language pedagogy, and by broadening the curriculum to include Taiwan-related content in undergraduate language courses at all levels.

  • Outcome Feature Description

    The University of Cambridge is the only Chinese Studies program in the UK where students start learning the Chinese language written in both simplified and traditional characters. This prepares them well for more advanced courses in literature and history and allows us to highlight continuities in the Chinese language. Most importantly, it helps students understand that the Chinese language is used and written with different modalities across the sinophone world. Our Taiwan lectors are instrumental in introducing students to Taiwanese culture, and the majority of our students have undertaken study visits to Taiwanese universities as a result. Each Taiwan lector engages in language teaching across the curriculum, including speaking, text reading, translation, grammar, and listening comprehension. They also assist in administering the Chinese language proficiency test designed by Taiwan language specialists.


    Student testimonies:


    ‘The Taiwan lector is a valued member of the Chinese Studies department in Cambridge and a great help in improving the language abilities in our class. Having a lecturer from Taiwan adds another dimension to our understanding of Mandarin, as she demonstrates ways in which the Taiwanese use of the language differs from that on the mainland. In particular, having a Taiwanese teacher has been beneficial due to increased exposure to the traditional characters that are vital for understanding the literary language, as well as contemporary texts written in Chinese by authors outside the People's Republic. The Taiwan lector’s support and encouragement of our applications to study in Taiwan over the summer through the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship scheme was instrumental. This allowed us to experience Taiwanese culture first-hand and was an enlightening experience; and the advice the lector gave us was invaluable as we prepared to live and study in Taipei for two months.’ (Shannon Gilbert).



    "Having a Taiwan lector in Cambridge has enabled all of us within our class to be immersed in a teaching atmosphere that is uniquely Taiwanese, providing a contrast to our lectures given by teachers from the PRC. We have been able to explore and discuss aspects of Taiwanese culture, to learn much vocabulary specific to contemporary Taiwan, and to engage with the Taiwanese worldview on a regular basis, allowing us to broaden our understanding of the sinophone world. Furthermore, thanks to the support and encouragement of our Taiwan lector, several of us were able to spend the summer in Taipei studying at National Taiwan Normal University: her enthusiasm and help was a huge help as we enjoyed a wonderful stay in Taiwan!" (Ed Wiley).



    Having a Taiwanese teacher and spending 2.5 months in Taiwan over the summer has really made me realize that studying "Chinese" means so much more than just studying mainland China and its version of Mandarin. Studying in Taiwan over the summer would have been much harder if we had not been required to be able to read traditional Chinese characters. Without our Taiwanese teacher, our access to traditional Chinese would have been much more limited and I would therefore not have had the confidence to go to Taiwan in the summer. Going to Taiwan was my first time travelling outside of Europe, and I greatly enjoyed experiencing Taiwan's natural beauty in Taroko Gorge, learning about its ethnic minorities on Orchid Island, learning about its history in Green Island's political prison and the museums of Taipei, and experiencing both modern and traditional society through our trips, such as going to Kaohsiung by high-speed train, and going through little villages by bus in the South.  (Edwin Messchendorp, 2nd year Chinese Studies)


    • School:University of Cambridge
    • Continent:Europe
    • Country\Area:United Kingdom