I was reading this thread on the language exchange board and saw ironlady’s comments about leanring begining Chinese from a non-native (that has good Chinese ). I’d say this is a good route to go. He/She has gone through the same steps as a beginner, and knows what’s difficult at first…what’s unique…what’s different, etc. A native speaker usually can’t relate the same experiences because they didn’t take the smae route learning Chinese.
I also say this because sometimes there are cultural differences in learning. Sometimes a Western student may only be intimidated by having to do repetitive homework. I still remember being like 18 years old and having to write a bunch of characters over and over before I could get to what for me would be the learning part where I could study what was actually done in class that day. It was so frustrating and demoralizing. I’m not saying that repetition in writing is bad, but the teacher has to consider the student’s learning styles and psychology, NOT merely tradition or “how it’s supposed to be done”.