Experiment Underway

Thanks to everyone that wrote to me when I asked for subjects. I ended up having to get students from ECNU after all. I spent the weekend finishing up the preliminary work, and this week the experiment begins in earnest. Whoo-hoo!

I was disappointed that actual experiments seem to be discouraged by the faculty at my school. (Come on! This is supposed to be science! How can you discourage experiments??) Well, I’m starting to realize how much extra work it is. And, for someone that is already working full time and doesn’t have a lot of time to do everything on his own, that amounts to more expense. When all this is over and the “veil of secrecy” is pulled back, I’ll share some of the figures.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Hi John!
    I wish your experiments go smooth and deliver interesting results. Yes, science is indeed work. I do not want to scare you, but most is still ahead of you. 🙂

    And because this is so much fun – why not aim at a PhD? At CPod you have almost all the resources that you need to do some really breakthrough stuff (except time maybe…).

    An interesting research question might be: How to teach Hanzi in an environment primarily build on audio?

  2. Henning,

    I was expecting more work ahead of me, rather than now. Oh well. It will all work out.

    I’m not too interested in a PhD (and just barely decided to go for the MA). I’d rather be doing interesting things than be cooped up in academia.

  3. A few years ago, I tracked high school Latin students’ scores on some tests of cognitive ability. I wanted to see if studying Latin made them “smarter.” No clear results, but I think that could be just because the time they spent using the language was too short (a few hours a week, really). America badly needs to give intensive language learning the importance it deserves.

    I just mention this by way of saying as one “linguophile” (?) to another: I feel your pain. Soft-science experiments are so tough, but so fascinating.


  4. John,

    Your work at Cpod and getting an MA give you great practical experience and academic credibility. You will probably learn a lot more on your own studies of interesting things then you would getting a PhD. If you want to become a tenured professor in the US you would most likely need a PhD, but otherwise it’s not worth the time and effort.

    One of the “joys” of experiments in the soft sciences is how subjective they are for both the participants and the observer. Anyway good luck and I’m looking forward to your findings.

  5. owshawng,

    Yes, I definitely agree with you. I’ll be sharing my findings eventually.

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