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XMU Teaching Stars: Winners of the 2011 Fujian Teaching Award

ICE    Public:Rachel    Datetime:2012-5-25
On June 7th, the Fujian Education Department released the list of winners of the 7th annual Fujian Teaching Award. Four XMU teachers who have outstanding academic and pedagogical achievements were among the winners. They are adept at applying modern education theories and technologies to the exploration of new and more effective teaching methods and materials.

Prof. Chen Duanduan, College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
´People always talk about the gap, and I believe it is crucial that a teacher should align himself or herself with the students.´
Prof. Chen is an experienced Japanese teacher who has been teaching for more than 30 years. She is a winner of numerous teaching awards administered by the State Council, Fujian Government and Xiamen University. In May 2011, she was awarded the Xiamen Labour Medal.
Prof. Chen teaches listening, extensive and intensive reading, oral Japanese, Japanese grammar and translation to undergraduates, and translation and contrastive cultural studies to postgraduates. When asked about her teaching philosophy, Prof. Chen says that undergraduate teaching focuses substantially more on practicality than postgraduate teaching. For example, in translation courses, Prof. Chen teaches the undergraduates how to translate business correspondences, promotion pamphlets and other practical genres, but she teaches more professional translation techniques to postgraduates. With regard to teaching undergraduates, Prof. Chen points out that the textbooks for intensive reading can be outdated, so she provides additional materials so that the students can have an up-to-date understanding of society and culture. She says it is important that the students learn about the similarities and differences between different societies, cultures and languages.
Prof. Chen considers teaching and conducting research to be complementary. In recent years, she has received grants from the Ministry of Education, Fujian government, the Japan Foundation and some enterprises for her research. ´Some say that the campus is desiccated, while the outside world is fresh. I believe a good teacher has to walk out of campus and get in touch with the society.´ She says. In 2000, Prof. Chen was appointed by the Ministry of Education to do research at Kyoto University as a visiting scholar. In 2006, she was given a grant by the Japan Foundation to do research at Osaka University. In 2011, she received another grant from the China Scholarship Council and a research trip to visit famous Japanese Universities is scheduled for July 2012. Up till now, Prof. Chen has visited Japan for more than 15 times, and has chaired more than 30 seminars and talks in schools and enterprises in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Nanjing, Beijing and Xiamen. She has contributed more than her fair share to the friendship between Japan and China. She says, ´Outside China, I shoulder the responsibilities of a Chinese citizen; outside Xiamen University, I shoulder the responsibilities of an XMU teacher.´
When asked about her expectations for the students, Prof. Chen says, ´I hope the students work toward making themselves a better person. They should not only have knowledge, but also morals. Honesty, love, and responsibility are what our students should strive to pursue, other than superficial and expedient success´

Prof. Xie Zhaoxiong, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
´I teach the students how to do research, but more importantly I want to show them what it means to be a good person.´
Prof. Xie Zhaoxiong has been in Xiamen University for nearly 30 years. He started as an undergraduate student of Chemistry in 1983, got his PhD in 1995, and since then has been a teacher in the Chemistry Department.
The students like to call him ´the big Xie´, because Prof. Xie cares so much about his students. In the student´s lounge next to the lab there is a special cabinet which contains many textbooks of the physical chemistry of solid surfaces. This kind of cabinet cannot be found in every lab. In fact, those books were bought by Prof. Xie out of his own pocket. One of his postgraduate student says, ´Prof. Xie bought these books for us and he also keeps a medical kit under the cabinet for laboratory emergencies.´ Once a week, Prof. Xie and his students have routine lab meetings during which he listens to them report on their projects progress and guides them in the right direction should they go astray. Prof. Xie not only teaches them how to carry out certain experiments, but also cultivates their general attitude toward doing science: with earnest and precision.
Prof. Xie admits that teaching has not always come naturally or easily to him. He has been through set-backs and problems that have inspired how he looks at teaching today. He says, ´Teaching is what a teacher is supposed to do. You can teach in a classroom, and you can also teach somewhere else. I think it´s more effective and important to influence the students outside the classroom.´ In class preparation, Prof. Xie forces himself to create something new every year. He believes in heuristic teaching where he inspires the students to dig deep into the origin of a problem and to probe into the nature of a scientific statement. ´Teaching differs from learning in that you have to show the students not only how to solve a problem but also how to find a problem.´
Prof. Xie grew up in times when heroes were idolized. He says that he has been inspired by the famous scientist Chen Jingrui to ´climb the daunting mountain of science in spite of hardships´. In 1997, he went to the Centre d′Etudes Nucleaires de Saclay in France and in the following year he went to Universit?t Ulm for postdoctoral research. For his outstanding achievements in research and teaching, he has received numerous awards and grants, including the Young Teacher Award from the Fok Ying Tong Education Foundation, the New Century Excellent Talents Award in University by Chinese Ministry of Education, the National Science Fund Award for Distinguished Young Scholars of China, and the Distinguished Advisor Award by the Lu Jiaxi Foundation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences among others.

Prof. Wu Chunming, College of the Humanities
´Gratitude inspires and strengthens my sense of responsibility and mission. Many times I was met with difficulties and other opportunities, but I stuck to my post and continued to work hard because of the gratitude.´
Prof. Wu Chunming started as a teaching assistant in 1990 and became a professor in a matter of only 10 years. When asked about how he did it, Prof. Wu says that it is thanks to Xiamen University. ´At the beginning, I studied because I needed a job to survive, but when I stayed here as a teacher, I started to feel obligated and responsible. In fact, every man that has accomplished something has to thank his alma mater and I´m no exception.´ Prof. Wu says he is lucky to be able to stand on the shoulders of former archeologists at XMU, and that is how he has been able to continue the academic tradition and accomplish what he has so far.
´I have come to know that teaching and conducting research are mutually beneficial rather than conflicting undertakings.´ Prof. Wu has taught over 10 courses, including 7 undergraduate courses, some of which are on Zhangzhou campus. Despite the fact that he has so many classes to teach, his research is not in any way held back. In fact, his academic interests and perspectives have benefited greatly from his teaching. ´Now as I look back, many of my research projects and research methods have germinated in those class preparations.´
´I do not think it is a good idea to convey knowledge by primarily lecturing in a history or archeology class.´ Prof. Wu thinks textbook knowledge is too dry to spark any real interest in students. He adds, ´In my class, I tell the students about the origin and meaning of a problem, then I present and analyze different solutions proposed by different researchers. I cite my research as much as possible, and provide ample time and opportunity for the students to participate in the discussion and voice their opinions.´ Prof. Wu believes treating students as friends or colleagues and having discussions with them is the best way to teach.
Prof. Wu quotes his advisor when expressing his hopes for students, ´As long as one keeps his/her feet on the ground, he/she can find true interests and achieve great accomplishments in any profession.´ In fact, Prof. Wu chose archeology as his undergraduate major because he wanted to travel and have fun, only to find out later that the actual archeological fieldwork was arduous and dull. He was very frustrated at the beginning, but luckily his advisor told him the above words that changed his life. Now Prof. Wu hopes his students would also live up to his advisor´s expectations and do well in whatever they choose to do.

Prof. Yang Can, School of Economics
´When you do something, do the best you can.´
A student of Prof Yang Can describes him like this, ´Prof. Yang is a person of persistence, and he doesn´t change his academic interests because of any outside disturbance. He often says to us that a researcher should stick to his/her academic focus.´ As an experienced teacher and researcher, Prof. Yang has been working in the academic circle for several decades, yet his research focus has always been national economic accounting and statistical index, both of which were passed down to him from his two advisors.
Prof. Yang has been widely acknowledged by his students and peers for his persistence and diligence. So far, he has published 19 monographs and textbooks and over 70 academic papers. He has presided over 20 projects supported by the National Social Scientific Fund and other institutions, and more than 30 of his achievements have won awards on both national and provincial levels.
´I teach undergraduates, postgraduates and doctoral candidates, and I pay extra attention to teaching the undergraduates. They are learning the basics, which are the most important.´ Although a highly-accomplished researcher, Prof. Yang makes time to teach the undergraduate students, and he has never missed a single class. ´Prof. Yang supervises several doctoral candidates, so one would imagine he must be too busy to care much about a paper written by an undergraduate, but he does. He points out the mistakes and problems, and even corrects misspellings.´ One of his students said.
Prof. Yang is a responsible and meticulous teacher, and he is also like a father to the students. He invites all of his students to his office or house at the beginning of a new semester. He says, ´Spending time with the students and listening to them talk about their lives is what a teacher is supposed to do. I drive my students off to the airport or train station when they graduate. Some people think it´s inappropriate, but I feel connected with my students and I think it´s only proper.´
Prof. Yang says the college students these days already know a lot about the world have wide interests and are innovative, but they need to be more grounded. He hopes current and future students learn to be down-to-earth and work really hard.

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