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From Classroom to SSCI: the Strength and Wisdom of a Young Teacher

May 29, 2019

Dr. Bi Zhiwei, a young scholar and key member of the applied linguistics research team at the College of Foreign Languages of USST, accepted an interview. He published a paper titled “Investigating test-takers’ strategy use in task-based L2 pragmatic speaking assessment” with Soo Jung Youn, an assistant professor at NAU (Northern Arizona University), in an internationally well-known academic journal Intercultural Pragmatics (a bi-indexed International Journal in SSCI SJR Q1 and A&HCI).

Dr. Bi conducted research on the cognitive processes employed by L2 (second language) test-takers’ in task-based pragmatic assessments, hoping to understand how L2 learners use cognitive, metacognitive and pragmatic strategies to interact in task-based pragmatic communication. Research results show that the test-takers in the assessment have different levels of strategy use, depending on their pragmatic competence and assessment tasks.
According to Dr. Bi, he conducted the research with his colleagues in the United States. They focused on international students, most of whom are L2 learners and may usually encounter difficulties in the appropriate language use. “Most of them do not use the language appropriately, even though the grammar is correct,” he said.

Dr. Bi shares his academic experience with Prof. Lyle. F Bachman

The process was tortuous because Dr. Bi and his research partner encountered various difficulties. “We had to make an arrangement in advance and our meetings were basically done on Skype, because we live in different countries” Dr. Bi said. After four years of hard work, they finished the paper in 2018, and after rounds of revisions and resubmissions, the paper was finally published on May 1st, 2019.
During his doctoral period at the University of Sydney, Dr. Bi experienced a change of mind, formed a global vision and strengthened his intercultural competence. “That is to say, we should be clear about the latest academic information around the world and we cannot be limited to something out of date.” Dr. Bi Stressed.

Dr. Bi obtains the doctor’s degree at the University of Sydney

After graduation, Dr. Bi came to Shanghai. At the time he was also qualified at some other top universities, but he chose USST. “USST provides me a stage to realize my self-fulfillment,” Dr. Bi said that: “It is the strong academic atmosphere and comfortable working environment that attract me to USST. Good research resources are offered here. And my colleagues are very nice. We make joint efforts to advance our research  project.”
Dr. Bi is not only an outstanding researcher but also an excellent teacher. Now, he is a key member of the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) teaching group at USST. He encourages his students to have a global vision and raises awareness of the importance of academic writing because it is beneficial to everyone in life. “Academic English is not just about learning English, but is also helpful to the cultivation of an academic way of thinking,” Dr. Bi said. He believes that the future of the English academic writing of Chinese students is promising. These years have witnessed the hard work of every student who has ever learned academic writing.

Dr. Bi guides his student at USST

He told us, “A good teacher must be responsible for his or her students, enrich his or her knowledge and keep pace with the cutting-edge of their discipline.” He puts the student-centered concept into practice in his class and always updates his teaching materials to make sure what his students learn is up-to-date. “I have been working hard, and always believe that I still have room for improvement. I think this is probably helpful for both my teaching and research,” Dr. Bi added.
He has a high reputation among students, and even is considered as a friend to all of his students. He always knows what his students are interested in and incorporates it into the course design. He devotes himself to helping students in many aspects, especially in English learning and research ideas. For some students who have never done any research before, they often struggle. Dr. Bi understands them when they make mistakes, because he knows it is actually a bit hard for newcomers who have just graduated from high school. Under his supervision, some of his students won several Best Research Paper Awards in National EAP writing contests.

Dr. Bi’s student wins the prize in the contest

Meanwhile, Dr. Bi made numerous achievements in National Teaching competitions, including the winner in the 3rd National EAP Teaching Competition and "The EAP Teaching Demonstration Teacher" title in 2018. Dr. Bi puts what he learnt into practice and spreads knowledge, playing as a model for learners. Dr. Bi explained the relationship between teaching and research: “The teaching process helps me to understand how Chinese students use English, which directs my research. In turn, the research guides my teaching.”

Dr. Bi is the winner in the 3rd National EAP Teaching Competition

In recent years, the College of Foreign Languages has carried out many international collaborative projects in academic research. Each year, the College holds a few international conferences and invites some overseas experts and scholars to give lectures. Meanwhile, the teachers at the College are encouraged to attend academic conferences to share their experience. Some teachers have also published their papers in SSCI and A&HCI journal until now, which demonstrates remarkable achievements have been made in Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at USST. It greatly promotes the collaboration and communication between USST and other universities.


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