Tight feedback loops helps you learn faster. “If you have a language teacher, she ask you to create the sentence to use words you learned, so you make the sentence, and she can tell you immediately right or wrong and how to say correctly, and also other sentences you could come up with. If you thought yourself have to use these words, she told how to do it right and more other sentences. So you know immediately what going wrong. I think it’s very important.”
—Jeff Lau (Excerpted from Jeff’s presentation)
Xiao min, the parts I valued the most were where you asked me questions in Chinese and I had to answer in Chinese – this feels so authentic and builds my confidence so much. Learning words and structure and eliminating shyness!
It is exactly how I want to learn.
—Andrew Brannan (Excerpted from private email)
Xiao min, I really appreciate also having you as a teacher. The continuity over time and your flexibility also have enabled me to make huge progress – which I doubt I would have managed with anyone else. So thank you too. Look forward to our lesson tomorrow.
—Steve Bennett (Excerpted from private email)
I started learning in China where we had a Chinese teacher in the office. There were three in my class but often the others wouldn’t turn up. With one-to-one tuition, I was progressing quite fast.
After I came back I went to a London Language School. I developed a firmer grip on grammar, but if anything my speaking ability went backwards. In a class of twenty people or so you get virtually no chance to speak.
I knew I needed one-to-one tuition again to get to a new level, but it’s just too expensive in London. A friend recommended Xiao Min and I thought I’d give it a go.
So the first motivation was financial. Like others I had a certain trepidation about learning online. I’d never used Skype and had no real idea what to expect. But I quickly discovered that there are actual advantages over face-to-face.
In China the teacher would write new characters on the whiteboard and I would write down the character and the pinyin. This is all very time consuming. On Skype Xiao Min can write characters into the chat interface and we just move on.
Usually the line is clear and with noise blocking headphones I can hear really clearly and concentrate well. The benefit to my Chinese has been remarkable. I can now easily sustain a conversation with Chinese friends. This is all due the confidence I’ve gained by talking so much and gradually building my fluency to the point I can sometimes forget I’m actually speaking Chinese.
Oh and my friends have commented on how much my pronunciation has improved, which is down to Xiao Min’s patience in detecting my recurrent problems and helping me to get it right.
I agree with Don. Learning Chinese is much harder than most other languages and one-to-one practice is essential. I have just come back from a three week holiday in China. After 4 years of studying online, the last two with Xiaomin, I am now capable of long conversations with native chinese people. Occasionally I have problems with unfamiliar accents or words, but for most practical purposes I can speak the language.
I have only had one experience of a taught class in London – but it wasn’t as effective as my online study.
Anyway, I highly recommend Xiaomin as a teacher
When I started with Xiaomin, I was surprised just how good the online learning experience is. I haven’t found any way of learning better than 1-1 tuition with someone who is a native speaker and who understands the language.
I started my Chinese learning in China with an intensive 4 week programme and then stayed 3 months to practice and study by myself. I found when I returned to England that my hard earned skills were fading fast so I looked for online lessons and luckily came across Xiaomin. Having experienced classroom lessons both one to one and in groups, self study and now learning online I would choose learning online as my prefered way to study.
All in all I have really enjoyed and benefited immensely from my year and a half studying with Xiaomin and want to continue till I am fluent.