Carnegie Mellon University

Tianxue Yao

Tianxue Yao

Senior Lecturer in Chinese

Address Department of Modern Languages
Carnegie Mellon University
Baker Hall 160
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


My primary role in the Department of Modern Languages is teaching. 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 not only be able to recognize the individual strengths of his or her students, but also any specific weaknesses and the possible solutions for overcoming them.

As an educator, I have had opportunities to teach various levels of language classes, from elementary to 4th year level, and from non-heritage to heritage tracks. My premiere role in the program now is teaching and coordinating intermediate level Chinese, the 2nd year non-heritage track classes. I have also developed two 3rd year courses: Structure in Chinese and Selected Reading of Chinese in the beginning years of the program.

The two Master degrees I have obtained are from Chinese Language & Literature at Jinlin University, China and English Professional Writing at Carnegie Mellon University. I am one of the authors of a new Chinese textbook for heritage Chinese learners: “Keeping Our Heritage.

In addition to teaching, I have recently 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.


M.A., Carnegie Mellon University and Jinlin University

Editing Works

1994 - “Children version of Dream of the Red Mansion”
1993-1994 - “The dictionary of Mao Zedong theory” (Ed.)

Recent Works

2010 - “Mandarin Chinese communication board: Pixon®” i-CREATe '10 Proceedings of the 4th International Convention on Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology

2009 - “Development of a Mandarin Chinese AAC System”, 2nd International Conference on Speech Therapy

2008 - “Developing Mandarin Chinese AAC Platform by Using Grammar Keys” ISAAC (International Society of Augmentative Alternative Communication) Biennial Conference

2008 - “Application of Second language Learning Assessment Principles to the Evaluation of AAC Communication Competence” 70-minute oral presentation at the ISAAC (International Society of Augmentative Alternative Communication) Biennial Conference

Department Member Since