Before you land in Kunming, are picked up and driven to Keats, it’s important to have a plan of action when it comes to how to study Chinese.
There are so many different tips for studying Chinese, so we figured we’d add our own personal tips for learning the Mandarin language. While it may seem daunting now, we promise when you are seated in the classroom with your teacher, the language won’t seem so foreign.
Take these tips for learning Chinese into consideration.
1. Think about what your goals are - Lay them out on the table
When you arrive at Keats School, you should have an understanding of what your goals are for learning the Mandarin language. Lay them out on the table, create a list of goals you want to reach and ones you think are achievable.
When you meet with your teacher, go over these goals. Your teacher will then be able to create a custom learning plan on how to study Chinese to reach these goals.
2. Have an idea of what you want to cover
This tip for learning Mandarin goes along with tip #1.
Before you start at Keats, have an idea of what you want to cover. If your goal is to learn basic Mandarin, maybe you will want to cover the four tones in Mandarin, or the different characters to be able to read the language. If you don’t want to focus on reading, instead speaking, you might want to focus on the most basic questions, sentences and conversations to know and understand.
Again, when you know what you want to cover, let your teacher know. They will be able to guide you in covering these.
3. Do your research before signing up for your intensive one-on-one class
At Keats School, we focus on intensive one-on-one classes. We see the most success with these classes and 40% of students come back for a second time after going through intensive one-on-one.
So, this is a great tip for learning Mandarin. Take intensive one-on-one classes instead of signing up for a university course or a big group learning class!
We wrote blog posts about why it’s the easiest way to Learn Mandarin in China and why it’s the best study abroad program in China.
But, when you’re planning to take intensive one-on-one lessons, another thing you should think about are your teachers. Not all intensive one-on-one classes are the same, especially in terms of teacher education and experience.
Our school is accredited by the Provincial Education Department and the Kunming Education Department. This means that the teaching quality is checked by the education department every year. There are many schools in China that are not accredited.
We have very high standards at Keats when it comes to our teachers. Teachers go through a strict interview process, and they must have a bachelor degree in teaching Chinese as a foreign language or English.
We believe this is necessary because it gives teachers a good sense of the language and how it should be taught to others. But it doesn’t stop there, every two weeks we hold a teachers’ conference to make sure that the quality of our instructing continues to be top notch.
4. Spend time outside of the classroom studying
For every hour you spend in the classroom, you should be spending an hour studying on your own. This doesn’t mean that you have to have your nose in textbooks for the whole hour, but you should be practicing your language skills.
A couple of tips for studying Chinese is taking it outside of Keats School. When you’re not studying, go out in Kunming and explore the city. Use the language skills that you learned that day to practice.
The locals are extremely nice here and will appreciate you trying to learn the language. Don’t be alarmed if they correct you. Take this as help and make a mental note of the correction they gave you.
We love that our students spend time outside of the Keats classroom because we know hands-on learning and experiences are great ways to engrain the language into the student.
5. Ask Questions
There is no such thing as a stupid question. Remember that. The more questions that you ask, the better that you’re going to understand Mandarin Chinese.
When you don’t understand something in your intensive one-on-one session, don’t move ahead. Take the time and sit down with your teacher and allow them to really explain the topic or point.
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to Mandarin and when you want to learn how to study Chinese and speak it fluently, there’s going to be a lot of questions that pop in your head.
Like we mentioned above, our teachers are experienced and will be able to help you. If they don’t know the exact answer right away, they will find it out.
6. Take notes
Everyone learns differently. If you learn better writing things down, take notes. Fill your whole notebook or Google doc with that day’s lesson. Taking notes allows you to return to the topic after the class is finished.
If you learn better by listening, you could record the classes on an audio recorder. This will allow you revisit the lessons and hear exactly what your teacher said to you.
These notes and audio recordings are great when you are back in your home country. If you’re trying to sharpen up your skills again before coming back to Keats or using your Mandarin language skills in everyday life, a quick review may be the jump your brain needs to remember.
7. Build a relationship with your teacher
Your teacher is there for you and is sitting with you privately for four to six hours a day. They’re going to be your go-to person when it comes to learning Mandarin. They can give you their personal tips for studying Chinese and will answer any concerns you have.
It’s important that you can get along with your teacher and feel comfortable asking them questions.
8. Take advantage of online learning resource
There are plenty of apps and softwares available for learning Chinese. However, you need to be able to tell which one is efficient and will work for you. Keats recommends the Chairman’s Bao for improving your Chinese. The Chairman’s Bao is the most comprehensive online Chinese news-based graded reader to Chinese learners.
Apply to Keats Today
Those are our 8 tips for learning Mandarin. We hope that these will be a help to you in your Mandarin language journey.
If you’re ready to apply to Keats today, simply fill out our online application form. If you have any more questions in regards to intensive one-on-one, contact us today. We’d be happy to help answer your questions.