Dreams of White Tiles . . .


Finding a Chinese Teacher

Filed under: Uncategorized — Roddy @ 12:53 pm

For the last month or so I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a Chinese teacher. I’ve had a few ads up here and there, along with answering any likely looking ones I see myself.

My Chinese is already relatively good, but there are big gaps. My reading’s fine, and my listening is strong. When it comes to speaking though, I’m really still about low-intermediate – I stick to low level structures and vocab, because I’ve never had the focussed, structured classes to push me into using anything else. I can get most meanings across, albeit clumsily and with lots of stuff like ‘that thing, you know, the one you use to record sound’ instead of ‘microphone’. My pronunciation is poor – I do okay if people are patient, but I can’t expect others to take the time to untangle my mangled tones all the time.

The Chinese teachers I heard from were pretty unimpressive – none of them had what you could call relevant qualifications, or any more than a year’s experience. They also seemed very confused when confronted with a student who could always manage a certain amount of Chinese – it seems most of their students are at a very low level. I’ve also found this in private Chinese language schools in Beijing – I was told once I would be suitable for an advanced class, and asked to see the textbook. The textbook was ‘Intermediate Chinese’ and when I asked why an advanced class was using an intermediate textbook I was told ‘It’s advanced for our students’.

I have now found a teacher who is actually damned good, which I’m very pleased about. 20 years experience and a very impressive list of former employers, plus a very direct manner – I was used to hearing ‘your Chinese is very good, just a few small problems’ which I know isn’t true. The words ‘Well, you’re pretty good but your pronunciation is rubbish and you aren’t using enough grammar and vocabulary’ are a lot more accurate, and that’s what I heard.

I’ve only had one lesson so far, but I’m a lot happier now that I’ve got even a little more structure into my studying.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress