Carnegie Mellon University

Tianxue Yao

Tianxue Yao

Senior Lecturer in Chinese

341 Posner Hall
Department of Modern Languages
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Education: M.A., Carnegie Mellon University and Jinlin University


I believe that good educators can make a difference, and that enthusiasm accompanied with experience will make a good educator even better. With enthusiasm, a teacher will consider the students’ needs as top priority, designing educational curriculum, classroom activities, and teaching styles to ensure the learning success of his or her students. Likewise, with experience, a teacher will be able to quickly identify the strength and weakness of individual student and find solutions to solve any issues. Teaching is a two-way street. Through years of teaching, I value the first-hand experience with a student-centered classroom setting as a language instructor, and truly believe that curiosity and eagerness to get deeper understanding of a subject is the major driving force for effective learning. I always make an effort to get more student involvements in the class, using various methods such as integrating intercultural comparisons into my lectures to stimulate discussions, assigning projects relevant to current events, etc.

In addition to teaching, I have utilized my language experience in collaboration with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh, where I was involved in a research project to develop a speech assistant device for people with speaking disabilities. The concept of this device’s design is highly relevant to language teaching, especially for second or foreign language acquisition. The unique angle and concept in this project is patented and reflected in the documentary film, “Only God Could Hear Me,” produced with the various developers, engineers, and linguistics specialists involved in the project.
  • 82-231 & 232 Intermediate Chinese I & II
  • 82-235 Fables, Legends and Stories from Ancient Chinese Civilization
  • 82-334 Structure of Chinese Language
  • 82-339 & 340 Business Language & Culture in Chinese I & II
  • 82-137 Chinese Calligraphy: Culture and Skills


  • Pictorial keyboard with polysemous keys for Chinese character output. Inventors: Bruce R. Baker, Tianxue Yao, Paul Andres, Jutta Hermann, Sarah Miriam Yong, Zen Koh, Eric Nyberg, Katharine J. Hill, Mark A. Zucco. Patent number: 8862988. Date of Patent: 10/14/2014. Assignee: Semantic Compaction System, Inc. Patent Status: Granted.
  • Apparatus, method and computer readable medium for Chinese character selection and output. Inventors: Bruce R. Baker, Tianxue Yao, Paul Andres, Jutta Hermann, Sarah Yong, Zen Koh, Eric Nyberg, Katharine J. Hill, Mark A. Zucco Publication number: 20080183460. Patent filed: 12/17/2007. Patent Type: Application. Publication date: July 31, 2008
  • Fulbright Scholarship Review Committee member at CMU
  • Pittsburgh Tzu Chi Chinese Academy Trustee and language instructor/coordinator. Chinese Nationality Room
  • Committee at University of Pittsburgh Committee member and executive secretary
  • Yao T, Tatenhove G, Herrmann J (2010) “Mandarin Chinese communication board: Pixon®” i-CREATe '10 Proceedings of the 4th International Convention on Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology
  • Yao T, Hermann J (2009) “A Short History of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)” the 4th Beijing international rehabilitation forum
  • Yao T, Hermann J (2009) “Preliminary Vocabulary Frequency Findings for Mandarin Chinese AAC Treatments” i-CREATe '09 Proceedings of the 3rd International Convention on Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology
  • Yao T (2009) “Vocabulary use during didactic conversations by Mandarin Chinese Speaking Adults” “Broadening AAC” Biennial Pittsburgh Employment Conference for Augmented Communicators PEC@
  • Yao T (2009) “Development of a Mandarin Chinese AAC System”, 2nd International Conference on Speech Therapy

Department Member Since 1996