My first Mandarin Chinese lesson

I just had the most amazing langauge lesson for Mandarin Chinese. And I’m really glad to say that I’ve experienced first hand how powerful TPRS can be.

During my lesson, we created an really fun story in Chinese. At the end I was thinking and understanding all in Chinese. It was very addictive.

I could actually make sentences in my head without much effort. The only time I had to put in much effort was when I got too excited because I could speak and understand in Chinese. This is Eustress.

What is TPRS and can I use it to teach?

If you have no clue about TPRS, I would suggest you check out many of the videos.

A word of warning: Be careful, because it is very different from the standard way of teaching languages (though 100 times more effective) that unless you have your own school or you are a well established teacher who is allowed liberties to teach differently, I would just take what you learn from it and integrate it into your lessons. (This is me speaking from experience.)

So, let’s break down how my Mandarin lesson went.

She started off say ‘Ni Hao.’ And then she started to unveil the story little by little. I could tell she was feeling out information about me to personalize my story. Personalization is a big part of helping the language stick in my mind.

Soon I was introduced to question words and words to navigate the langauge as we built our story.

All the while she’d been writing words in the chat box so I could refer to them easily like this:

Zai = be at (a place)
hao — to be good
ye = also
sheI — who?

As we went through the story, she would circle around words and grammar points. I was understanding in Chinese and my brain was then mapping out the logistics. New ways of thinking in Mandarin started popping into my mind.
I could form spontaneous thoughts in the simple Mandarin and drive the story.

All the while she was making comprehension checks. Sometimes it would be asking questions in different ways (this is also how you circle to get repetitions) and sometimes she would just straight up ask me to translate by saying, “Now what did I just say?”

The lesson was worth every penny. The best langauge lesson I’ve ever had. And I’ve had excellent tutors with Korean, and Japanese.

If you are privately tutoring a langauge and you know quite a bit of the learner’s own native langauge, this method works miracles. Of course some students want to be taught in a certain way, and that’s just fine. But remember, this is scientifically proven to be one of the most powerful ways of acquiring a langauge for the learner.

If you are thinking about getting a tutor remember this; When the tutor brings you up to that intermediate stage you won’t need the tutor. You can just go out and learn from langauge exchanges or media such as books and movies. So the better the tutor, the less time and money you’ll spend in the end. Invest wisely, my friend.

For more on TPRS you can check out these videos:

Get this book:

And if you want a great instructor for chinese who knows what she’s doing you can check out the one that I can personally recommend with out hesitation:

Here is another guy who also teaches Mandarin using good Comprehensible Input(CI) techniques:

Situation 1: Here I Come!

I am following the 200 situations in Larson’s “Guidelines for Barefoot Language Learning.”

Here is Situation #1.

I want to meet people and be able to say “Hello,” tell them I’m just learning the language, and properly close off the conversation.

Here is the text I have made with my Korean tutor:

A: 안녕하세요. 반가워요.
B: 안녕하세요. 어디에서 왔어요?/(오셨어요?)
A: 저는 미국에서 왔어요. 잭커리라고 해요.
B: 여기에서 무슨알을 하세요?
A: 미안해요, 저는 아긱 한국말을 잘 못해요. 한국말 배우고 있어요.
(저는 (인사말) 밖에 못해요. (몰라요))
<이 말, 몇 마디>

A: 안녕하세요.
B: 안녕하세요. 이름이 어떻게 되세요?
A: 저는 000 예요. 이름이 어떻게 되세요?
B: 저는 잭커리예요. (학생이세요?/직장인이세요?)
A: 학생이에요/저닌 학생이 아니 예요. 직장인이에요.
네, 직장인이에요./ 저는 직장인이 아니 예요. 학생이에요.
여기서 뭐 차세요?
B: 저는 영어 가르쳐요.

The first meeting: x -> 안녕하세요
The 2nd or ~ meeting: 어떻게 지냈어요?/ 잘 지냈어요?
With friends: 식사하셨어요?/밥 먹었어요?

*Lunch time
Before – 선생님, 식사 맛있게 하세요.
After – 선생님, 식사 맛있게 하셨어요?
Answer – 네, 잘 먹었어요.
네, 맛있게 먹었어요.

Finally, closing off the conversation:

*미안하지만, 저 지금(시간이 없어서) 가봐야 되요.
*나중에 또 봐요/ 다음에 또 봐요.
*다음에 같이 차 한잔 해요/ 다음에 같이 밥 먹어요. / 시간 날 때 같이 밥 먹어요.
*나중에 전화주세요.

More to come.