China’s fast-growing economy and emergence as a pillar of economic trade in Asia and globally, it makes sense for non-speakers to learn Mandarin to take advantage of numerous business or career opportunities that has come with relentless Chinese economic growth. You can learn Mandarin with the help of a Chinese tutor. Soon, you’ll be communicating fluently with your Chinese workmates or business partners, and this will help build closer ties.
Similar to learning any language, learning Chinese requires effort from the learner. It’s not enough that the tutor is skilled or competent. If the learner doesn’t put in enough work and practice, then he or she may never become proficient in the language. So, how do you make good use of the time with a Chinese tutor? This article shares tips on that. Read on.
Speed of talk
Chinese learners are bound to learn more when they speak faster to their tutors. Speaking slowly is likely to bring about lulls in the discussion where both the tutor and the student stare at each other because the student is stuck thinking about which words to say. Moreover, speaking fast, even in broken Chinese, maintains the flow of the conversation. Once you have progressed to intermediate conversation levels, conversing quickly and constantly with your tutor should be your priority.
The student should be the one talking most of the time during the language class. It’s not enough to have good theoretical knowledge if you can’t speak fluently. You can only learn and memorise new words and phrases if you use them in everyday conversation. Moreover, this also provides opportunities for mistakes, which creates room for the tutor to correct you. When you’re lost for words on a particular topic, ask your tutor to adopt the function of a dictionary and quickly suggest some words that you may use.
If you’re speaking and all your tutor ever does is smile and agree with what you say, then something might be wrong. While learning Chinese, students are bound to commit mistakes whether it’s using the right tone or words. As a student, you need to ask your tutor regularly whether there’s a better way to express a given thought or the right words to use on a particular topic. Find the ideal words and begin using them straight away. Those are the moments where you can learn the most. Giving feedback is where the Chinese tutor adds significant value and is vital to your learning.
A wide range of discussion topics
Out of the classroom, conversations can take any direction. You may be talking to a person about the weather and then the next moment you’re talking about the current state of politics or a new movie. As such, knowledge of various topics and the right vocabulary to use is essential in Chinese. Request your tutor discuss topics that introduce new words and phrases to your arsenal. Avoid topics which you’re good at such as greetings or the weather conditions. Instead, speak about more complicated and nuanced subjects, new business prospects in your area for example.
Align with your tutor
When you start talking fast, discussing unusual topics, using new words repeatedly and disrupting each other during conversations, it may be construed as rudeness. As such, inform your Chinese tutor early on and tell them the reasons behind your actions and that tutoring sessions isn’t necessarily a typical conversation. Inquire if they are comfortable with this approach and that it’s all focused on actively learning Chinese.
While the Chinese tutor is the one who’s competent in Chinese, this does not mean that as a student you adopt a passive role during Chinese language courses. Apply the tips mentioned above to help your tutor efficiently teach you and become fluent in Mandarin.