Pei-Ni (Penny) Causarano

Pei-Ni (Penny) Causarano

Affiliate Faculty of Chinese

    Bradley Hall


Ph.D., Educational Linguistics, University of New Mexico
M.A., TESOL/Bilingual Education, University of Findlay
B.A., Education, National Taichung University, Taiwan


Dr. Causarano has taught all levels of Chinese language and a variety of courses at her previous institutions, including Chinese and ESL for culture, media at K-16 settings, as well as graduate courses on pedagogy and research methods. Her most recent work focuses on online language teaching and learning. She was the recipient of 2018 ACTFL/CALICO Distant Learning Award for K-12 while she developed Online Chinese 1-4 at Fairfax County Public Schools.


Dr. Causarano’s research interests include cross-linguistic influences in SLA, differentiation, curriculum and assessment, e-learning, and language pedagogy.

Selected Publications:

Use Reflective Learning Model to Assess the Effectiveness of Online Language Learning. In: K. Y. Sung (2019). Teaching and Learning Chinese as a Second or Foreign Language: Emerging Trends (pp. 33-45). Lexington.

Classroom Culture in the U.S. for ESL Students. In: M. Schwartz (2015). Doing the Transcultural Thing. Explorations in Living in the United States. Kendall Hunt.

Ke, F., Chávez, A. F., Causarano, P. N. L., & Causarano, A. (2011). Identity Presence and Knowledge Building: Joint Emergence in Online Learning Environments? International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning.doi: 10.1007/s11412-011-9114-z.

Schwartz, M. & Causarano, P. N. L. (2007). The Role of Frequency in SLA: An Analysis of Gerunds and Infinitives in ESL Written Discourse. Arizona Working Papers in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, 14, pp. 43-57.

Selected Conferernce Presentations:

Traditional Puppet Show via PBL Approach in a Heritage Language School. Paper presentation at 2019 ACTFL Convention, Washington, DC.

Develop an Effective Online Language Course through Reflective Learning Practices. Poster presentation at American Association for Applied Linguistics 2019 Conference, Atlanta, GA.

L2 Writing in the Zone of Proximal Development. An Analysis of Mediation Processes in an ESL 101 Writing Course. 25th Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning Conference, University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. (Nov. 1, 2018).

The Impact of Independent Choice on Reading Comprehension in Sustained Silent Reading. Round table presentation at American Association for Applied Linguistics 2017 Conference, Portland, OR.

Developing Thinking in L2 Speaking: Evidence from Spatial-temporal System in Chinese and English Learners. Round table presentation at American Association for Applied Linguistics 2016 Conference, Orlando, FL.

A Cross-cultural Cooperative Model in Online Language Learning. Poster presentation at American Association for Applied Linguistics 2014 Conference, Portland, OR.


Dr. Causarano serves as a language representative for National Coalition of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools. She served as a faculty advisor to the Asian Student Association in her previous institution to help promote Asian cultures and activities on campus and for local community. Dr. Causarano has been a lead instructor for STARTALK student and teacher programs funded by U.S. Department of Defense.