Caring On: Meet our new and seasoned instructors and learn how they approach student-centered learning

Behind UBC’s Chinese Language Program is a diverse team of passionate instructors who seek to not only broaden the students’ academic horizons, but also enrich their personal lives. This year, we are honoured to introduce to you our seasoned instructor Lu Mingzhu, and our three new visiting lecturers, Peng Yu-chun, Chen Yi, and Lin Shiang-han. Instructor Lu Mingzhu will begin her 23rd year of teaching at UBC this school term, and has recently won the distinguished 2021 Maple Leaf Award. The latter three lecturers recently arrived from Taiwan, eager to continue on their teaching journeys at UBC. Despite all having different experiences with Mandarin teaching, each lecturer shares the common objective of putting their students first in their teaching.

Lecturer Lu Mingzhu

Instructor Lu Mingzhu has worked and taught Mandarin at UBC for a total of 22 years, earning her the 2021 Canadian TCSL Maple Leaf Award presented by the Canadian Teaching Chinese as a Second Language Association for her commitment and dedication to Mandarin teaching! This year, instructor Lu will be teaching CHIN401 & 403 Advanced Chinese Reading and Writing (Non-Heritage), and CHIN435 & 437: Business Chinese (Heritage)—a course that she initiated around 13 years ago. Instructor Lu has demonstrated her care for her students and strong passion for teaching throughout the years. This is well encapsulated in her teaching motto, which reads, “Have passion for teaching and compassion for students.”

Despite having worked as a Mandarin instructor for over two decades, instructor Lu shared that maintaining her passion for teaching is not a difficult task at all. She likens her teaching journey to an artwork in the making–something to continuously work on and improve. Additionally, instructor Lu believes that her role as a teacher extends beyond supporting students academically. She finds that many of her students talk with her when experiencing personal struggles or difficulties. She believes it is also her duty as an instructor to provide resources and words of support. Instructor Lu further emphasizes that truly understanding each and every one of her students and catering to their success is what brings her teaching to life.

Instructor Lu’s 22 years of dedication to her students, passion for teaching, as well as her consistent emphasis on student-centered learning are all points of inspiration for our three new visiting lecturers! Let’s have a closer look at their teaching approaches and philosophies respectively:

Visiting Lecturer Peng Yu-Chun

Instructor Peng Yu-Chun has a diverse background in teaching. Having taught in both the United States and Taiwan, instructor Peng has over 10 years of Mandarin teaching experience under her belt. She hopes that her students will gain a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction after taking her classes.

Instructor Peng believes that providing authentic materials that are appropriate for her students’ level is crucial for cultivating student-centered learning. In order to achieve this goal, she deems it necessary to spend time understanding her students’ needs and backgrounds.

In her classroom, instructor Peng not only strives to develop great student-teacher relationships, but also encourages her students to foster dynamic interactions with their peers. She stresses that learning involves more than just a one-way relationship with the teacher. She holds that it is also significant for her students to listen to and interact with their peers to develop a collaborative learning community.

Instructor Peng during one of her lessons in Taiwan

Just like instructor Lu, instructor Peng tries to be more than just her students’ Mandarin teacher, but also their source of support, someone with whom her students can relate to.

“Other than my identity as their teacher, my role is to also be their friend who will listen and understand the joys and pains of their learning journeys.”

Check out the Instagram reels to learn more 👇:

Visiting Lecturer Chen Yi

Instructor Chen Yi will be continuing his ongoing teaching journey by joining us at UBC this fall. His 5 years of teaching experience consist of instructing in Taiwan for nearly three years and teaching one year in the United States and Thailand respectively.

Instructor Chen believes that a learning environment centered on providing students with ample opportunities to participate is crucial to student-centered learning. He achieves this by including personally designed oral practices and various engaging activities in his classes. While class structures and materials used at UBC may differ from the ones used in Taiwan, instructor Chen plans to draw on his previous teaching experience in the United States and teaching adaptability to help him navigate these differences.

Instructor Chen with his teaching team in Taiwan

Furthermore, instructor Chen is able to empathize with students’ Chinese-learning experiences. Having learned English for nearly twenty years, he shared that he still found himself making mistakes when conversing in English. So he completely understands that it takes his students time to refine their Mandarin skills as well. Therefore, he strives for having each student learn Mandarin and improve their language proficiency at their own pace in his classes.

“All they need to do is try their best to have their Chinese abilities improved little by little at their own pace in the process of learning it….What matters should be if students DO obtain something meaningful in class and if they enjoy our classes.”

Check out the Instagram reels to learn more 👇:

Visiting Lecturer Lin Shiang-Han

Instructor Lin Shiang-han prides herself in fully immersing her students in explorations of Chinese culture. Having taught Chinese in Mainland China, Taiwan, Germany, and the Philippines, instructor Lin brings her extensive and diverse teaching experience to the Chinese Language Program as she prepares to teach in yet another new country–Canada.

Classroom engagement is a highly important element for instructor Lin. She finds it conducive to deepening her students’ language skills by pushing her students out of their comfort zones and encouraging them to speak in Mandarin even when they are not yet confident in themselves. Using a variety of teaching methods to engage her students, instructor Lin ensures that each of her lessons contributes to her students’ academic success.

Instructor Shiang-han Lin on the definition of a student-centered classroom

Moreover, in order to promote student-centered learning, instructor Lin steps beyond a confined focus on teaching syntax and grammar, but rather guides her students’ individual explorations of the Chinese language and culture. Her expectations of students are similar to those of herself–to be present in class, with a willingness and readiness to learn something new.

“A student-centered classroom is one where students are celebrated for their accomplishments and supporting students in their own intellectual and personal journeys.”

Check out the Instagram reels to learn more 👇:

Despite coming from different backgrounds and having diverse teaching experiences, all four of our lecturers share the same philosophy of student-centred teaching. Through their varied approaches to teaching, students taking these lecturers’ respective classes can definitely look forward to deepening their relationship with the Chinese language and culture.

Please feel free to check out the four lecturers’ courses via the links below:

Instructor Lu Mingzhu


CHIN401: Advanced Chinese Reading and Writing I

CHIN403: Advanced Chinese Reading and Writing II


CHIN435: Business Chinese I (Heritage)

CHIN437: Business Chinese II (Heritage)

Instructor Peng Yu-chun