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How to Learn Chinese 2-General Discussion-Why I chose to learn Chinese online?

From Richard:

Hi Min, My name is Richard. I have studied Chinese for one year in a language school in London. But I still can’t speak Chinese a lot. I am very interested in your course online. But it is totally a new thing for me which I never did before. I am not sure if this way of studying can work well for me.

From Xiaomin:

Hi Richard, thanks for your message. I totally understood your worries. It is not very easy for everyone to accept a new thing or new way at the beginning. For my part, I think there are lots of reasons to choose e-learning. But I think the best way is to ask other students who are learning Chinese online now why they chose this way to learn. They have a say on this issue. Now let’s listen to what they say.

4 comments

  1. I know exactly what you mean Richard. But I’ve been studying with Xiao Min for over a year and I’d really recommend you give it a go.

    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, like you, 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 you 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.

  2. 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

    Steve

  3. Hi Richard,

    My advice is give it a try, my primary motivation for studying online was cost and convenience of studying at home but I soon discovered to my surprise that learning online has many benefits. Not being face to face you can’t use body language and context to help you so you have to rely on and improve speaking and listening skills. Another thing I find useful is I copy and paste the words Xiaomin types for me during the lesson and print for a brief review of the lesson which I revise before the next one. By using an online shared white board Xiaomin can see me writing Chinese characters and can correct me easily, again I can save the workspace for revision.

    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.

  4. Hi Richard,

    What’s the harm in giving it a try?

    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.

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