I have almost finished Audio-Visual Chinese Book 1 but I have only been studying speaking and reading with bopomofo and pinyin. I suspect that if I join a group class for Book 2 at one of the schools in Taipei that also do reading and writing of Chinese characters (I’m interested in CLD) I will be totally lost, unless of course the reading and writing is not fully taught and practiced and just brushed upon. Are people really learning a chapter a week and able to write and read all of the characters for all of the new vocabulary for each chapter? I’m just asking because it seems like this would be quite a difficult task. I’ve not yet tried reading or writing so I just don’t know.
So it would be great if somebody with experience with these courses could tell me how large and demanding the reading and writing components of these speaking-listening-reading-writing courses are. When I asked one of the schools they just suggested that I take a private class.
What? You didn’t use your writing workbook with Book 1! If you use the workbook with book 1 you should already have a grasp of reading and writing basic characters and sentences. Buy the workbook and use it at home and you’ll have caught up when you’ve completed it. Also buy one of those school exercise books with the small squares as there is not enough space in the workbook for writing practice.
Another possiblily for reading is watch movies you’ve seen lots of times before and turn the sound right dowm on your TV and you’ll find the Chinese sub-titles will become sometimes readable.
Back to the OP’s question – in my experience with students in AVC Book 1, they manage to “learn” the characters for the tests, but they really can’t write them freely, and very often forget them a week later. The pace is just too fast and there’s little real instruction to help the students make the written forms stick (not to mention a dearth of level-appropriate reading that would repeat those written forms in interesting reading passages – that would really help.)
Now, it may be that the students I’ve met are not brain trusts, and others do better. I’m sure motivation, free time, native language (many of the ones I knew were Hispanic with little English, and that puts them at a real disadvantage in Taiwan) and other factors are also involved.
You would be at a considerable disadvantage, though, just from the sheer number of characters you’d have to “catch up” on. It would make life even worse than with the current insane amount of vocabulary per lesson (insane compared to the number of repetitions found in the lessons).