Archive for the ‘Study Techniques’ Category

So…I’m ten weeks into learning mandarin, having arrived in Shanghai mid-October. [Note: this was after a rather erratic decision to quit my job in pensions in the the UK in the midst of a recession and to head out to China to fulfill my ambitions of mastering the foreign tongue] It is also soon to be my first Christmas sin familia. 

I’m currently enrolled with an expensive private language school, just off People’s Square in the city centre. I found this school whilst searching the internet for courses prior to even setting foot in this country. My original intentions were to arrive here without booking a course and to find a school once I was out here. However, after realising that this could mean hanging around for a few weeks with little to do, I decided to bite the bullet and book a 3-month course from the UK, knowing full-well that I was paying over the odds for the privelege. I now have just two weeks of the course remaining and I can barely speak a word of the language.

However, I do not wish to bring the school into disrepute. I certainly know a lot more than I did when I started just a few months ago (which, by the way, was zilch). There are a whole load of reasons for the poor standard of my spoken mandarin, which I do not wish to bore you with now. To cut a long story short, the major problem that I face is lack of practice. I do 3 hours (or so) of classes in the morning, a little bit of review in the afternoon and that’s it. If I am really to make any headroads into gaining mastery over the language I will need to put in a lot more effort.

Over the coming weeks and months I will therefore aim to invest more time in my language learning. However, I will also explore different methods of learning, in order to increase the efficiency and speed which I achieve my desired result (near fluency in mandarin). I will keep you updated on my progress and the advantages of each pedagogical technique tried. In the meantime, I would be delighted to receive any feedback or suggestions of good study tips.


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