From Beginner to Fluent – The Journey of Learning Mandarin in Classes
Learning Mandarin Chinese opens doors to one of the most fascinating ancient civilizations & global markets. Whether for professional or personal reasons, the linguistic currency & skills it provides are invaluable.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when learning a new language, but don’t let that stop you! By following the right steps, you can make quick progress toward fluency.
Choosing a Course
Learning Mandarin is a great idea whether you want to travel, advance your career, or talk with a Chinese friend. But before you start, choosing the right course for your needs is important. There are many different classes offered, from beginners to advanced levels.
Some provide live tutoring, while others use online tools and self-learning modules. In-person lessons may be more beneficial for beginners, as they can give feedback and guidance on grammatical mistakes or pronunciation issues.
Online courses, including those from NewConceptEducation.com, can be more convenient for people with busy schedules. Most online Mandarin classes are offered in flexible time slots so you can learn on your terms. They also tend to be more affordable than in-person lessons. Some of these programs even have a 7-day free trial, so you can try them out before you commit to a monthly subscription fee.
It’s a good idea to sign up for a class with a native Chinese speaker as your instructor. They can better understand your struggles and help you improve in areas where you’re falling short. Plus, they can teach you the nuances of the language and explain colloquialisms and idioms that you may need to pick up on your own. There are plenty of Chinese instructors in Singapore, so finding the best one for you isn’t difficult.
Choosing a Teacher
As you choose your Mandarin tutor, it is important to consider their teaching style and personality. You want a teacher who will be enthusiastic and supportive of your language learning. They should be able to explain things clearly, be patient when they are struggling, and ensure they progress with each lesson.
You also want a teacher who will be flexible and willing to adapt lessons to your needs. For example, your tutor should be ready to work with you outside of class if you are working on pronunciation or tone and need extra practice.
Finally, you want a teacher who is passionate about Chinese culture and eager to share that with you. They should be a good listener and have a good sense of humor, but they should also be able to focus on what they want to learn.
For example, if you are interested in the history of China and would like to study some traditional Chinese, you will want to choose a tutor with a background in this area. On the other hand, if you are interested in learning more modern Chinese, such as slang and buzzwords, a younger tutor might be a better choice.
You also want a teacher who responds to your emails and phone calls. If they are not, it might be time to look for another.
When learning Mandarin, it’s important to understand that pronunciation comes before speaking. Trying to talk to Chinese before you have the correct sounds will be like trying to run before you learn to walk. Instead, focus on listening and reading early on, and let speaking come later.
A good Mandarin language class will incorporate all four forms of language learning — listening, speaking, reading and writing. Most classes will introduce the written language much earlier than the spoken language because it can be more difficult to master. Some courses, like the HSK (Hanyu Shui Ping Kao Shi), even have graded readers aimed at non-native learners, designed to be the first step toward reading native content.
For beginners, a good course will start by teaching the pinyin system and then move into Chinese grammar and vocabulary basics. It will then introduce students phrases for basic daily greetings, self-introductions, asking for help and directions, telling time and more.
The courses include professionally-produced videos with strong audio and answer keys and flashcard decks containing custom recordings to make studying on the go easy. This helps you retain what you’ve learned by regularly reviewing it.
Being fluent in Chinese will require a lot of time and effort. That’s why finding ways to stay motivated during your journey is so important.
One of the best ways to do this is to set a goal and work towards it daily. Keeping on track is easy if you plan your week and prioritize learning Chinese daily.
Another great way to stay motivated is to try out different study methods. For example, try listening to Chinese podcasts using English (or Chinglish) or take advantage of SRS apps like Anki to review your vocabulary. You can even add some Chinese-only days to your routine to challenge yourself and kick-start your Mandarin skills!
Finally, it’s important to remember the reasons why you started learning in the first place. Whether it is a desire to travel, improve your career prospects or connect with friends and family, reminding yourself of these goals can help you stay on track.
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