Dr Robert Irving

Dr Robert Irving


Robert Irving was born and educated in Melbourne and received his BA (Hons) degree from the University of Melbourne. He has taught Chinese at Melbourne Grammar School and RMIT, and began teaching on a permanent basis at Monash in the former Department of Asian Languages and Studies in 1990.

For the past few years his main area of responsibility has been as coordinator of Intermediate Chinese, where he comes into contact with students in the second year of the beginners stream of Chinese language study as well as with first year students in the post-VCE stream.


Institution: Monash University
Year awarded: 2011


Robert undertook PhD studies at Monash University and has recently submitted his dissertation, entitled “Narrating New China: Chen Dengke, Liu Qing and the Politics of Literary Production (1949-1976)”. The thesis explores the novels and other writings of these two writers not only as works of literature, but also as representative of the social and political practices of their time.

Robert also has a keen interest in the teaching of Chinese as a second language and has developed a series of language learning materials utilising Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) technology.


Journal Articles

Irving, R., 1999, Power Chinese 1.01, CALICO Journal, vol 17 no 2, Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium, Texas USA, pp. 368-376.

Conference Proceedings

Irving, R.J., 2008, The Chen Dengke phenomenon – a case of “affirmative action” in Maoist China,Proceedings of the 17th Biennial Conference of the ASAA, Melbourne, Australia, 01/07/2008 – 03/07/2008, Monash University, http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/mai/asaa/index.php, pp. 1-14.


Units Taught

  • Chinese 1,CHI1010
  • Chinese 2, CHI1020
  • Chinese 3, CHI1030/2030
  • Chinese 4, CHI1040/2040

Chinese 1 & 2

If you have no prior knowledge, but would like to study it for one or two semesters, then this is for you. How much you can say, write and read in Chinese after just one semester will amaze you. You will be introduced to the beauty of Chinese characters, gain an insight into Chinese culture, and discover that Chinese is no more difficult to learn than any other foreign language. These units could just be the first step in your exploration of the field of Chinese studies.

Chinese 3 & 4

Completed VCE Chinese as a second language or have a basic foundation in Chinese?* Passed Chinese 2? Then Chinese 3 & 4 are the units for you. Build on your existing knowledge of Chinese in a variety of learning modes, with an emphasis on face-to-face teaching. Learn how to use your Chinese in a range of practical situations including: ordering a meal, catching a bus, opening a bank account …… and MUCH MUCH MORE.

*If you have studied Chinese before you will need to sit for a placement test to determine the appropriate Chinese entry level for you.