Losing precious study time by doing endless tests

I really start not enjoying Chinese study anymore, due to NY and CNY our course is shortened by almost 2 weeks for the same volume, increasing the load. And still our teacher is doing this endless tests, losing at least 2-3 hours in a week. now we are at 1 new lesson in 3.5 days (about 10.5 hours) deduct 1.5-2 hour tests … too much for an older fart like me. No time to regurgitate all this so called grammar.

When did you start studying and where? And why?

I’ve studied at 3 different language centers and noticed quite a difference between the speed they go through lessons in the PAVC book. The first one took their time - going through each aspect (vocab, grammar etc.) of the lesson in detail. It was much slower, since you only finished a few lessons per semester, but by the time you finished a lesson you felt you really knew the material very well.

Other language centers zipped through each lesson very quickly - in just a few days. They seemed under pressure to finish a certain number of lessons per semester. As a result, I found myself going to the next lesson before I understood the previous lesson well.

Then again, perhaps if I had gone to the faster language centers first, I would have found the first one’s approach too slow and boring - who knows?

It might help to check with different language centers to see how many lessons they go through per semester, which will give you an idea on their pace.

MLC intensive course, they do one book per semester, holidays or not. One book per level = semester.
I started in September, because my wife told me to, or else :ponder: … and I had nothing else to do in fact … I’m kind of limited in what I can do with the dogs, can’t just go around and travel … being absent for 6-8 hours at a time is the limit.
Anyways, after this level, if I can keep it up I’m planning either opening a waffle store (talks are underway, but nothing concrete) or I’ll start one-on-one Chinese where I can choose what I want to learn. Or I might go abroad for a while if I can find a solution for my dogs and not losing my APRC.

I know that some language schools offer a slower pace, but they are more expensive and for me I need to travel to Taipei everyday, 5 days a week … so if it’s for only two hours it’s not worthwhile. And MLC had the right hour slot 10:00AM-1:00PM, give me time in the morning to walk the dogs for 30 min. to an hour … makes me exercise too.

Same here!

oh yeah another waffle store :smiley:

MLC been there as well, three times. It really depends on the teacher. First time I had this Lady form Bejing… she worked straight after the book and didn’t speak English at all. I had to repeat the class due to longer absence. Anyways second teacher was quite good also the class had only beginners. The first class had some vietnamese students, they spoke Chinese very well just couldn’t read and write… so of course the teacher doesn’t give a shit about you being slow… . Well I left Taiwan later and returned two years later… started at the MLC again, because its the cheapest place in Taiwan, Teacher was ok…however couldn’t finish again because I got a job offer… now year later I still can’t speak more than a few words… damnit…

I created a review site for the PAVC book series here: providencechinese.com This site is used by Providence University as part of their language center (hence the name). It allows you to select the book and lesson you’re on and do various review activities to test your understanding of the vocabulary and grammar. I found it quite useful, as it allowed me to catch up when I was falling behind, and also let me previous upcoming lessons beforehand. PM me if you’re interested in purchasing access.

My company (based in Taichung) also offers one on one lessons via Skype. I can set up a free demo if you would like.

Good luck with the waffles!

[quote=“Adam_CLO”]I created a review site for the PAVC book series here: providencechinese.com This site is used by Providence University as part of their language center (hence the name). It allows you to select the book and lesson you’re on and do various review activities to test your understanding of the vocabulary and grammar. I found it quite useful, as it allowed me to catch up when I was falling behind, and also let me previous upcoming lessons beforehand. PM me if you’re interested in purchasing access.

My company (based in Taichung) also offers one on one lessons via Skype. I can set up a free demo if you would like.

Good luck with the waffles![/quote]

Any idea if there are PDF’s around from the books that I can load onto a portable device? Hate sitting with an open book on the bus or MRT.

[quote=“milkalex”]oh yeah another waffle store :smiley:

MLC been there as well, three times. It really depends on the teacher. First time I had this Lady form Bejing… she worked straight after the book and didn’t speak English at all. I had to repeat the class due to longer absence. Anyways second teacher was quite good also the class had only beginners. The first class had some vietnamese students, they spoke Chinese very well just couldn’t read and write… so of course the teacher doesn’t give a shit about you being slow… . Well I left Taiwan later and returned two years later… started at the MLC again, because its the cheapest place in Taiwan, Teacher was ok…however couldn’t finish again because I got a job offer… now year later I still can’t speak more than a few words… damnit…[/quote]

Well, it’s not just another ‘waffle’ store … it’s going to be the real deal, not the bad copies with only a fake story to back up their not so good waffles …

Anyways, the Vietnamese, they have to because they don’t speak English and some come from the border area with China or one of the parents has a Chinese background. Some Japanese are also a little better off because they can write Kanji already, so they have more time to do the grammar and vocabulary … and unlike me, some students are university students having nothing else to do than study … with a clear goal.
MLC is heavy on the writing. Not so much on communication …

Said it before, but in Taiwan, the student has to be very proactive in subtly moving the class in the direction he wants it to go in, either by persuasion, group strike, or changing teachers. Or, as you suggest, going one-on-one if that’s an option, which it isn’t for many.

Hi

it’s hard to get a definitive answer and everyone’s experiences/learning curves are different, and wondering which are the ‘better known’ language centers for one-to-one lessons in terms of teachers that are cooperative and willing to prepare good materials for lessons based on your needs . As IronLady stated, how to get teachers to cover the things that you want to learn. And is the lack of Taiwanese CSL learning materials also a factor in the one method fits all approach.

Has anyone tried using CSL materials from Mainland China or even local Chinese textbooks for their one to one classes in Taiwan? Wonder how different the teaching methodology of CSL is comparing Taiwan and Mainland China.

Not. Very. :smiley:

It’s still grammar-driven, though more and more things are thinly disguised as “functions”. Even though a chapter or unit is about “introducing yourself” or “going to a party” or whatever, you will still see a focus on specific grammar patterns, and the mechanism of learning is still memorize vocab, memorize patterns, put vocab into patterns, rinse, lather and repeat.

I don’t know how you manage to memorize all the characters … remembering how to write characters is my weakness and I don’t think I could handle it under your time frame. Are students actually able to use all that they are taught?

A teacher of mine said students at MLC are all young, super smart, and have little to no problems with the workload – a not so subtle insult at our class which moves far slower than yours.

Nonsense. Given the number of posts we get here from people who are unhappy with the classes at MTC, mostly the ones who have a problem with the workload – either for practical or for philosophical reasons – drop out and/or go elsewhere.

Well she has something there to be fair. Super bright and young people likely don’t have a problem keeping up with any tough schedule (though to be fair to myself, I would have had a hard time as memorizing tons of random info was never a strong point, even when young). But for fuck’s sake, is that any way to run a language program?

It’s like you’ve said a hundred times, IL, people who find language learning super easy with rote methods have no idea that this talent is not widely shared.

Well, with the backup provided by “Chinese is the hardest language in the world to learn”, they can perpetuate that system forever. Anybody who fails just figures he wasn’t smart enough. Which is BS, if you’re talking about a language, for Pete’s sake. A language!

Actually, I wonder one thing: I am currently learning French, and we have this workbook where often there are many grammar exercises. For me it seems that although French grammar is much more difficult than Chinese one, the exercises for learning the grammar actually is a good method for learning the language itself, meaning word usage and overall sentence composition. I wonder if this is a problem for Chinese? The grammar is relatively easy, so it is harder to create good exercises. Only stuff like: “Now use this adverb in here” doesn’t seem to be that entertaining.

Ironlady mentioned a point that makes me hate almost every language textbook that I’ve seen, in any language – poor holistic integration of lexical and syntactic (and for Chinese, orthographic) elements – learning a set of vocabulary (and Hanzi), and then a grammatical drill for just that set, and then likely never viewing it again elsewhere in that book. “Learn your locative phrases and matching characters, but only to give directions in Chapter 6.”

I guess droves of foreign language teachers must think that if they teach something constantly for six days, then people should remember that stuff forever (that is, they don’t know a damned thing about human memory).

[quote=“ehophi”]Ironlady mentioned a point that makes me hate almost every language textbook that I’ve seen, in any language – poor holistic integration of lexical and syntactic (and for Chinese, orthographic) elements – learning a set of vocabulary (and Hanzi), and then a grammatical drill for just that set, and then likely never viewing it again elsewhere in that book. “Learn your locative phrases and matching characters, but only to give directions in Chapter 6.”

I guess droves of foreign language teachers must think that if they teach something constantly for six days, then people should remember that stuff forever (that is, they don’t know a damned thing about human memory).[/quote]

I’m currently studying from the ancient DeFrancis books, and one of the joys of them is that there is endless repetition and huge amounts of additional material to listen to and read. I’m finally feeling as though I’ll know the words I’ve learnt forever.

I am studying at Shida MTC. Using PAVC we do a chapter a week. 2 hours a day, which is actually 1 hour 40 a day when you factor in breaks. So actual lesson time is about 8.5 a week, then they chuck in 2 x 30 minute character tests and a longer chapter test and suddenly I think actual teaching time is 6.5-7 hours a week. That’s the bad part, the teacher I think is excellent. Very good at explaining, using props etc. But the class moves on regardless of peoples understanding. And there is little speaking time when you think there are ten people in the class. But I have learnt far fat more than I did at TLI with more hours and smaller class. I will probably move to individual lessons after this semester. Its definitely a bit of trial and error with classes MTC makes me work harder than I have time for or would like, because I don’t like looking like an idiot 3 times a week in a test.

I thought this was interesting :popcorn: