During the past year, I guess everyone has been moving most activities online, including learning Mandarin Chinese. Of course, this is a new challenge for Beautiful Mandarin and our students, since Beautiful Mandarin has been known for teaching Chinese classes in person for years in New York City. But we acted quickly and found the best way to adapt to the COVID-19 situation, and we continue to help our students learn Chinese online, even more effectively than before.
What problems are you facing during your Chinese learning including online or in-person, and how can you fix them?
1. Be a tortoise, not a hare.
Yes, everyone wants to learn Chinese fast. As a Mandarin teacher of more than 10 years and the founder of a Chinese school, I have seen many students who learn fast as well as many students who learn slowly. Who becomes fluent in Chinese in the end? The steady one wins!
Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
Many students learn fast at the beginning, but when their learning encounters obstacles, such as when their lives get busier, when they have friends who want to hang out with them, guess what? They quit!
Other students may learn slowly, but they never quit. They come to the mandarin class regularly and they submit their homework every week. Even if they cannot manage 4 hours a week, they do 2 hours or 1 hour each week, but either way, they are still making progress, and this is much better than stopping.
After several years, those steady students become fluent, and those fast-learning students may have to restart since they have forgotten what they have learned.
So give yourself time to be a tortoise and win the race. One small step each time is enough. You don’t have to go fast but you need to be steady and never give up.
2. I want to learn Chinese but I’m too busy. I have skipped many of my Mandarin classes and now I’m giving up!
We all feel too busy from time to time, but it’s important to find a way to work it out. Otherwise, we will always be like a constantly spinning top without ever completing any of our goals.
So, if you can’t follow a Chinese course then you need to learn at your own pace. Many online resources can help you learn by yourself, which is good. However, most of them don’t explain why and can’t answer your questions, so students feel that it’s hard to go to a higher level.
With Beautiful Mandarin, you can study with the BM Interactive eBook, and when you are done you can book the live group class or book a private tutor, so you can learn with BM professional teachers or even with a group of fun classmates.
During your live class, you can ask the questions that have piled up during your self-learning, or practice more Chinese conversations, or even just focus on whatever aspect you want to practice more. Since you have studied with the BM interactive eBook systematically, the teacher is able to focus on any problems you have, making the learning more effective, which also means you are saving lots of time and money.
This way of learning at your own pace can reduce your stress and make learning more feasible for you.
3. I too often forget what I have learned
Chinese pronunciation is hard. Even if you have listened and memorized very well during your class, after the class you may still forget the pronunciation or the grammar your teacher just explained, after the class. This can affect students of all ages.
You need soundtracks or videos which you can easily access and listen to as an accompaniment to the materials you are learning, and to read aloud at the same time. If you do this enough times, you will naturally remember the pronunciation.
Beautiful Mandarin developed an Interactive eBook to help students learn Mandarin Chinese online. With this eBook you can return whenever you like to relisten to the pronunciation or rewatch the video and remind yourself how Sissi explained that grammar point.
4. Why is it so difficult to remember the pronunciation of certain words? Why do many still struggle to understand others speaking Chinese even when they have already learned the necessary words?
This is because they haven’t had enough chances to hear the vocabulary in question - repetition is an essential part of learning any language, not only Mandarin Chinese language.
So, just click the “play” button in the Interactive eBook or any audio you are learning with to listen as many times as you can until you can grasp the meaning as soon as you hear it!
You also need to find opportunities to speak Mandarin. You can even combine English and Chinese together. It doesn’t matter if you are good at speaking Chinese or not. The only thing that matters is whether you are using it. You have to forget about how other people think about you. If you don’t have people who speak Chinese surrounding you, join a Chinese learning group, like Beautiful Mandarin free chatting events (RSVP at the bottom of the page). Join a group class to have classmates learn with you and chat with you. You could even speak to yourself or make a vlog to record your Chinese learning, saying whatever you can in Chinese. Since this is for your own benefit, there’s no need to publish it unless you want.
When you have enough repetition of the words you have learned you will be able to identify them when other people say them in Putong hua/Mandarin.
5. Find the right Chinese program which can give you enough space to grow.
A school that offers classes at all levels and even allows you to progress to different levels over time to improve yourself is ideal.
Why? Let’s say you may have Chinese heritage but grew up in the US. You can understand some of this language but remain unable to speak. You can go to a lower level class to improve your speaking skills and go to a higher level class to keep improving your listening skills, without delaying yourself.
Or it could be a matter of different learning capabilities. If you need more challenges you can go to a higher level class to challenge yourself, and later go to a lower level class to review what you have learned. Remember, you need enough repetition.
With Beautiful Mandarin, you can enroll in our unlimited package to enjoy as many classes as you want to grow as fast as you can.
You can even use our combination package to fit your own learning style. For instance, you can use a private tutor to improve your weaknesses and join the group class to enjoy learning with your classmates. Best of all, if you purchase 40 hours of private tutoring, you get a 6-month unlimited group class for free!
Start designing your Chinese learning plan now, at your own pace, by downloading this BM Chinese course plan tool.