Dr Xiaolong Tang PGCert, MA (Lond), MA (Bham), PhD, SFHEA

Department of Modern Languages
Assistant Professor in Modern Languages
Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Contact details

Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Tang has taught a wide range of modules on undergraduate Chinese language programmes and also postgraduate translation studies. His expertise is in the field of innovative language learning and teaching with specific reference to the use of software, mobile applications and digital tools. In 2011, he was awarded a prize for “Excellence in Teaching and Supporting Student Learning”.


  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • PhD in Modern languages
  • MA in Translation Studies
  • MA in Electronic Business Management
  • PG Certificate in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (TCFOL)


Before I joined the University of Birmingham, I held teaching positions at Imperial College London, University College London (UCL) and SOAS, University of London. After I received my first MA degree in E-Business, under the Continuing Professional Development scheme, I also completed an MA in Translation Studies, and a PhD in using technology for learning and teaching L2 Chinese at the University of Birmingham. I completed the latter two postgraduate programmes while working as the Language Coordinator of Chinese. Aside from being directly involved in most aspects of undergraduate language teaching, I also regularly play an important role in developing and organising Mandarin Chinese language modules and programmes. Below are awards that I have earned in recognition of my performance:


  • Excellence in Teaching and Supporting Student Learning Award, University of Birmingham
  • National Competition in English Language Teaching, First Prize, China National Association of Foreign Language Schools

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome enquiries from prospective students studying in the following areas:

  • Using technology to facilitate students’ learning of a foreign language;
  • Investigating student experiences of learning L2 Chinese;
  • Teaching Mandarin Chinese in a business context.


Research interests

My doctoral research focused on using technology to facilitate students’ learning of Chinese characters. The importance of using technology in education and language learning has increased significantly in recent years, along with the advances in information technology. Computer-assisted language learning (CALL) has been thought of as an effective tool when it comes to learning languages. 

Given the large number of language learning software applications, it is often difficult for teachers and students to choose which software or application that best matches their needs.  It is therefore important for researchers as well as practitioners to understand what drives individuals to adopt language learning applications.

Other activities

Dissemination of Research and Participation in Academic Events 

  • Invited speaker on using authentic materials in language learning apps at the 7th International Conference on Chinese as a Second Language Research held by Peking University (17-18 August 2023)
  • Researching into the Use of Real-life Materials in Language Learning Apps – A Case Study of the HANZI app for Learning Chinese Characters jointly presented with KAN Qian at the 18th International Conference on Teaching and Learning Chinese in Higher Education, organised by the British Chinese Language Teaching Society (5-7 July 2021).
  • Served as a judge for the 2nd Chinese Competition of Charitable Projects & Business Innovations for UK University Students, organised by the Centre for Language Education and Cooperation (UK), Ministry of Education, China (10 April 2021).
  • A committee member and judge for the First National Business Chinese Competition for UK University Students sponsored by the Chinese Proficiency Test Committee, Ministry of Education, China (December 2019 - June 2020).
  • Invited keynote speaker at the Business Chinese teaching forum: “The Management of Business Chinese Language Courses” and “Using Digital Tooling to Present Business Proposals”, SOAS, University of London (20 June 2020).
  • Served as a judge for the 17th Annual Mandarin Speaking Competition organised by the UK Association for the Promotion of Chinese Education (29 June 2019).
  • Guest speaker for the China Year Abroad (YA) programme “YA briefings – enhancing students’ awareness of cultural differences” at the London School of Economics (22 September 2017).
  • Guest speaker for the “Current Situation and Prospect of Chinese Language Teaching at UK Universities” at SOAS, University of London (15 May 2015).
  • Invited speaker on teaching L2 Chinese characters for university degree language courses at Imperial College London (9 June 2014).

External Examining

  • Newcastle University
  • University of Nottingham
  • Keele University

Professional affiliations

  • Member of the British Association for Chinese Studies (BACS)
  • Member of the British Chinese Language Teaching Society (BCLTS)


Book chapters

Mobile app development

HANZI © Xiaolong Tang - A mobile app for learning Chinese characters
HANZI in the Apple App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Chinese-English Translation work

  • 《双效汉语快速阅读 1》(Speedy Reading 1) by N, Li (2008). Beijing Language and Culture University Press