kelake wrote:I've been studying Chinese for the past year and a half, primarily part-time at a local university (it felt like full-time with all the time spent writing), coupled with some one-on-one classes, and most recently a quarter of full-time study in Zhongli.
The past 2-3 months I've put forth my greatest effort. I spend about 2-3 hrs each work day listening to ChinesePod/PopUpChinese (I drive allot), 2-4 hours a day preparing class material (writing/reading), plus 3 hours a day in class. The class size is small, only 3 of us, so there is more than the usual amount of interaction. The teachers seem quite competent (I skip the weekly 'cultural' activity as it's a waste of time). The class material is the usual mix of texts common in every language centre.
Despite all this effort I don't really see any qualitative results. I swear the teacher can't stand when I open my mouth to speak. Sure I can sound convincing when ordering food at the take-out window or at our usual restaurants, but whether I point to the menu, speak English or Mandarin the result is still the same. I cannot yet have a serious conversation with the people that matter in my life (my kids teachers or other parents who don't speak English). It's especially frustrating as I've basically devoted myself to studying Chinese these past few months, I'm tired, and though the tuition is cheap, the cost is high; I could be making money or more importantly playing with my kids.
The only measurement of progress I have are the weekly tests, my test performance is poor and not improving, the marks get lower with each test. My academic performance is usually high, especially so in the other Chinese classes I have taken, so though high marks mean nothing to me, it's still a shock.
Is this a common experience? Is there something else I could be doing to master the material? It seems obvious as to how to study but could I be doing everything wrong? As a possible indicator of my level I've finished book 3 of PAVC.
I realize I need to spend more time speaking but with this schedule + family + trying to squeeze in some work for play money there just doesn't seem to be any time. I've never devoted so much effort to a pursuit and not succeeded so I'm starting to think that I am either too old or Chinese is a mountain I can't climb.
Feiren wrote:I hope Ironlady is right, but while she is out there perfecting Chinese pedagogy , you are here in Taiwan. You can search for and debate the best way of learning Chinese, but the way that actually works is sitting down in that crappy Chinese class for two hours a day for two years. This has worked for thousands of learners and it will work for you if you force yourself to keep going and pay attention in class.
Of course it's frustrating and there must be a better way. But right now what works is GOING TO CLASS.
I'm very interested in Ironlady's methods and I think she is 100% right, btw.
Hellstorm wrote:Why don't they just use the same concept which is used abundantely for every European language and do it for Chinese? These lessons work perfectly, and there are many many people who can speak English, French, German, Italian etc. Why shouldn't it work with Chinese?
No weird concepts like CI necessary. Just use the concept which work flawlessly in so many languages.
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