Professor George Xinsheng Zhang

Director, Centre for Modern Languages

Professor George Xinsheng Zhang

Professor George Xinsheng Zhang


Dr George X Zhang is Professor of Chinese and Director of the Centre for Modern Languages, in the School of Liberal Arts of the university. He has over thirty years’ experience in language teaching in British and Chinese universities as well as commercial experience in management consultancy and training. He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies in China and obtained his PhD from the University of Nottingham in 1991. He was first appointed as a professor in language education by a Chinese university in 1994.

Before joining Richmond University, Professor Zhang was the Director of SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) Language Centre, University of London and the Director of London Confucius Institute (the first Confucius Institute in the UK). He has participated and managed quite a few projects on Chinese language learning and teaching, including EBCL (European Benchmarks for Chinese Language), the first EU funded non-European language CEFR benchmark project (2010-12), which he coordinated between 2010 and 2011. He was the Chair of British Chinese Language Teaching Society (BCLTS) between 2006 and 2008.

Professor Zhang is an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists, and an associate researcher of PLIDAM, INALCO (institut national des langues et civilisations orientales). He also serves as a vice president for the European Association of Chinese Teaching (EACT). As a language specialist, Professor Zhang sits on a number of national and regional language education boards or organisations, and he also lectures extensively all over Europe and other parts of the world.

Professor Zhang has researched and published on language policy, language learning and teaching, teacher training, intercultural communications and cross cultural business management. He is an author of a number of books, including several Chinese language textbooks, of which the Chinese in Steps series won the Outstanding International Chinese Teaching Material Award at the Fifth Confucius Conference in December 2010. 

Faculty Research

Zhang, G. X. and Li, L.M. 2018. On Concept and Practices of International Chinese Education and Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language [汉语国际教育理念和国际汉语教学实践]. Journal of International Chinese Teaching (《国际汉语教学研究》) (4), 21-28.

Zhang, G. X. and Li, L.M. 2018. International Chinese and Localisation of International  Education of Chinese [国际汉语教育的终极目标和本土性]. Chinese Journal of Language Policy and Planning (《语言战略研究》) (6) , 25-31.

Li, Linda. M., Yang, Y., Zhang, G.X. (2018) Chinese for Business Leaders. Vol 1 & 2. London: Cypress Book Co Ltd.

Osborne, C., Zhang, Q, and Zhang, G.X (2018) Which is more effective in introducing Chinese characters? An investigative study of four methods used to teach CFL beginners. The Language Learning Journal, Taylor & Francis [online]: (

Zhang, G.X. (2016) Thoughts on the professional development and training of teachers of Chinese overseas [关于海外华语文教师专业发展研究的思考]. In Wu Yinghui (Ed). A Selection of Chinese Language Globalisation Studies [《汉语国际传播研究新动态:汉语国际传播文献选编》]. Beijing: Peking University Press

Zhang, G. X. (2016) Some further thoughts on European Benchmarks for the Chinese language [欧洲汉语能力标准再探]. Journal of International Chinese Teaching [《国际汉语教学研究》]. (3) 50-59

Bellassen, J and Zhang, G.X. (2016) Partial Competence and a Language with Partition: the case of Chinese. In Louise Ouvrard (Ed) Les Competences Partielles en Debat: quelles langues? Quelles cultures? Paris:Editions des archives contemporaines.

Zhao, X.J., Li, L.M., Zhang, GX. (2015) Teachers’ Manuals to Chinese in Step I and II. London: Cypress Book Co Ltd

Zhang, G.X. (2014) The Standards for Teachers of Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages and the Localisation of Teachers Education [《国际汉语教师标准》和汉语外语师资培训本土化], Chinese Language in the World [《国际汉语》], Guangzhou:Sun Yat-sen University Press, Vol 3, 47-51

Zhang, G.X. 2014.  On Concepts and Models of Teacher Education for International Chinese  –  a third look at the relationship between internationalisation and localisation of teacher education for international Chinese [国际汉语教师培养的理念与模式- 国际汉语教师培养国际化和本土化关系探讨之三], International Chinese Education [《国际汉语教育》].  Beijing: Foreign Language and Research Press. Vol 1, pp. 6-15

Zhang, G.X. (2014) Book review: “Zhu, Chungeng and Gao, Yan. 2013. A Chinese Grammar for English Speakers 《汉语语法指南》. Beijing: Peking University Press”. Chinese Language and Discourse, 5 (2), pp. 288-292

Zhang, G.X. (2014) Preparing for Asia in the new age of globalisation: University language centres in face of changes in higher education, Language Learning in Higher Education, De Druyter, Vol 4 (2), pp.271–283

Zhang, G.X. (2013) The Localisation of the Training of School Teachers of Chinese in the UK [英国的中小学汉语教师培训的本土化]. In Jiang Mingbao (ed), Chinese International Education: The Current State and Strategies of Teacher Training [《汉语国际教育:人才培养现状与对策》]. Beijing: Beijing Language and Multimedia Press & Open University of China, pp.156-167

Zhang, G.X. (2012) Language Policy of European Union and Universities’ Foreign Language Teaching [欧盟语言政策和大学外语教学]. In Hong Lijian (ed.) International Chinese Teaching in HE in the Context of Globalisation (《全球语境下海外功效汉语教学》). Shanghai: Xuelin Publishing Press, pp.3-20

Zhang, G.X, and Li, L.M. (2012) A Survey of University Chinese Language Teachers and Their Perception on Teaching Chinese (a winner of Innovation Award) [英国大学汉语教师和教学法现状调查]. In Selected Papers of the 9th International Conference on Chinese Language Learning and Teaching [《第十届世界汉语教学大会论文集》]. Shenyang: Beifang Union Press.

Zhang, X and Li, M. (2011) Confucius (including 104 animation episodes, 10 volumes of Cartoon Biography books and 4 volumes of Selected Stories). Shenzhen: Cherid TV and Media Ltd. (Translation)

Zhang, G.X. (2011) Common European Framework of Reference and Research on European Benchmarking of Chinese as a Foreign Language ([欧洲语言共同参考框架和欧洲汉语外语能力标准研究]). International Chinese Education [《国际汉语教育动态•研究》], (1), pp.42-46

Zhang, G.X, and Li, L.M. (2010) On the Development of Chinese Teaching Materials in the UK [英国本土的汉语外语教材]. In Selected Essays from the First Tsinghua University Symposium on International Chinese Teaching [《清华大学首届国际汉语教学研讨会论文集》] Beijing: Beijing Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press

Zhang, G.X, and Li, M.L. 2010. Chinese language teaching in the UK: present and future. Language Learning Journal, Taylor and Francis, Vol 38 (1), pp.87-97.

Zhang, G.X, and Li, M.L. 2010. A Survey of University Chinese Language Teachers and Their Perception on Teaching Chinese [英国大学汉语教师和教学法现状调查] (a winner of Innovation Award). In Selected Papers of the 9th International Conference on Chinese Language Learning and Teaching 《第十届国际汉语教学研讨会论文选》). Beijing: The International Society for Chinese Language Teaching.

Extract from Research

Preparing for Asia in the new age of globalisation: University language centres in face of changes in higher education

George X. Zhang: Richmond University, The American International University in London, Richmond


British higher education is becoming more and more market-driven following the increase in tuition fees in 2012. As a result, universities need to respond more readily to the market, and student demand and the high employability of graduates are now a priority for most universities. With the growing importance of Asian economies in the new age of globalisation, there is an increasing interest in learning languages such as Chinese, especially among those who intend to seek Asia-related jobs upon the completion of their university studies. These diversified language needs represent both opportunities and challenges for university language centres, which are known for their responsiveness to changes in demand, innovativeness in their language teaching, and flexibility in their service provision. It is not uncommon that university language centres offer Asian language courses, but there is still a lot to be done if compared with their more established teaching practices in European languages. University language centres should consider working in a collaborative and coordinated manner, not only to assess, anticipate and prepare for changes in higher education, but also to manage and shape changes in language learning and teaching with a more diverse language profile.

Language Learning in Higher Education. Volume 4, Issue 2, Pages 271–283, ISSN (Online) 2191-6128, ISSN (Print) 2191-611X, DOI: 10.1515/cercles-2014-0015, October 2014.

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Some of the courses I teach:

MCL 4100 – Chinese Language and Culture 1

MCL 4105 – Chinese Language and Culture 2

MCL 5100 – Chinese Language and Culture 3

MCL 5101 – Chinese Language and Culture 3

MCL 5105 – Chinese Language and Culture 4

MCL 5110 – Chinese Language and Culture 4

MCL 5205 – Chinese Philosophy and Modern Society

MCL 5210 – Contemporary China

Centre for Modern Languages

Research Cluster:
Research Cluster for the Study of the State, Power and Globalisation

Research Interest & Expertise:
Language policy; Chinese language acquisition; language teaching; cultural linguistics; Chinese cultural studies, history of language learning and teaching; teacher training; translation; and intercultural communications.

Bilingual education (English and Chinese); language learning and teaching; language standards and assessment, language learning and teaching material development, teacher education and training, language policy; and cross cultural business development.

Centre for Modern Languages