A small quiz to start...
The desire to learn Chinese is, for you, related to:
- A new intellectual challenge?
- A must to do good studies?
- A vocation to become a teacher?
- An irrepressible desire to travel to China?
- An upcoming expatriation?
- A necessity to boost your career?
- A passion for Chinese culture?
- You love Chinese gastronomy?
If for you the number 8 is the prime reason, it's a safe bet that your fad to learn Chinese and your first motivation will quickly fade as soon as you realize the magnitude of the task, especially for a English speaker.
For all others, finding the Chinese teacher who will meet your expectations and needs is essential for progressing. Depending on your motivation and goals, it is important to make the right choice among the 2000 Chinese Superprofs!
Here are the possibilities available to you!
Native Chinese, or descendants of native speakers
Chinese immigrants, as well as their children, or Chinese students studying in the USA, these teachers have a considerable asset: Chinese is their mother tongue!
They are not only fluent, they have all the culture, phrases, vocabulary, instinctive pronunciation... and that will allow you some kind of immersive learning of the language.
A Chinese lesson with a native speaker can allow you to immerse yourself in the reality of the foreign language.
The Chinese community is well established in the USA. English is their second language and as foreigners they know that discovering a country and its culture can't be really done without learning the language.
They know how different these two languages, English and Chinese, are, and understanding their differences and the difficulties to learn is a great asset for your teacher to help you to become fluent more effectively.
Beyond teaching you the secrets of their language (Chinese writing, pinyin, pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary...), native Chinese teachers will share with you their knowledge on:
- The history of their country,
- The way of life in China,
- Cultural differences,
- Chinese traditions,
- Art, philosophy, gastronomy...
If you dream of learning not only the Chinese language, but also of immersing yourself in the heart of a civilization, the native Chinese teacher is certainly the best choice.
Among these students, we will find:
- Students in Chinese who want to perfect their practice (especially to improve their pronunciation and their oral and conversational skills) and open up more deeply to Chinese culture,
- Prospective expatriates who seek to better understand the daily life in China and have advice to adapt to this different way of life,
- Fans of China and the Chinese language (Mandarin 9 times out of 10, if not more).
Graduated Chinese teachers
Graduated Chinese teachers, teaching or not in college or high school, are also numerous among private teachers.
With a perfect knowledge of Chinese language teaching programs in school, they have, in some ways, followed the ideal path of the Chinese teacher!
One asset of these teachers?
Their teaching skills that give them an excellent propensity to adapt to each student. With a qualified teacher, the student enjoys an individualized Chinese Mandarin course, adapted to his needs and his school level.
To learn a language with such differences in its structure, alphabet and grammar, having a graduated teacher with a professional teaching position can provide you the adapted frame that will guide you especially when you're just beginning learning Chinese.
Teaching is their job, they have the methods, qualifications and skills to teach a native English speaker this new language.
The teacher proposes a personalized didactic approach according to the axes of progression determined in agreement with the student or his parents:
- Oral practice of Chinese and work on pronunciation and different tones,
- Memorizing Chinese characters,
- Writing of Chinese characters, calligraphy,
- Memorizing the basic vocabulary,
- Construction of sentences in Chinese,
Among the students that graduated Chinese teachers can effectively help to progress, we find:
- Middle and high school students,
- Students in Chinese, who want to become teachers,
- Adults wishing to start or improve in Chinese.
American Chinese bilinguals are not necessarily trained in classical teaching techniques, but they have other qualities and skills that can be very useful to their students.
Who are they ?
Professionals working internationally, former expatriates, self-taught ... The profiles can be very diversified and this is precisely their strength. They often are teachers of Chinese without diplomas !
So, in what situation do you call a bilingual American-Chinese?
This is a very interesting approach when you want to learn Chinese and enjoy additional knowledge.
To give you a more specific example ...
Imagine that you are brought within the scope of your work to develop exchanges with China. Of course you have some basics in Chinese, you have already learned the fundamentals of grammar and you can have small talks in Chinese but you might feel uncomfortable with the vocabulary, some Mandarin Chinese phrases you never heard before, because you do not practice. You are already anxious ...
Finding a private teacher who understands your needs because he has already been in the same situation than you will be particularly rewarding.
As someone who has already been through learning Chinese, especially as an English speaker, your teacher can help you to overcome the difficulties he knows you might have to face, to learn a different writing, a different kind of alphabet, a difficult pronunciation... Not only will you progress in Chinese, but in addition you will learn for example:
- the cultural differences to be considered for a successful trade negotiation in China,
- the traditions,
- the economic situation,
- the rules of professional communication...
You want to learn Chinese for fun and traveling. An American-Chinese bilingual will understand your needs, will give you practical advices to prepare your trip, conversation classes to be autonomous in your efforts and out of traditional tourist paths...
So, if you want to learn the language of Confucius with a specific goal, whether professional or personal, you can find a private teacher profile, atypical for some, but that will be perfect for you. Not having a teacher's certified degree does not prevent an adapted teaching approach.
Understanding your objectives is essential to choose the most effective way for you to learn a new language. Your lessons plans and teaching methods can either be found in textbooks or transmitted by a graduated teacher or a native Chinese speaker studying or working in the USA.
There as many different ways to learn a new language as different profiles of learners. The most important thing is to focus on your objectives and capacities of learning to become fluent.
Students in Chinese
Nearly four out of five students work to finance their studies in the USA. Students in Chinese are no exception especially since some of them will become teachers!
Among the possibilities that allow them to reconcile student life and professional life, private lessons have many advantages.
As a university language student, you can easily give home language classes as tutors:
- It is a flexible solution, which makes it easier to organize your schedule.
- The holidays allow to give more lessons because the students are also more available,
- This allows to work in connection with his field of study,
- It's a more rewarding and fulfilling experience than to work in a fast food restaurant,
- Students in Chinese who wish to become teachers profit from an experience to be valorized later on their resume.
Who are their students in these Chinese classes?
Essentially middle and high school students who need to be supported to progress in Chinese, a language known to be really hard to learn, especially for English speakers, and which requires motivation and commitment for the learner in his Chinese lessons.
The benefits for students?
- Having a young teacher who can understand their situation and their difficulties since they have also been struggling with the language learning. They can even become real tutors with whom they can develop a friendly relationship which provides more than the learning of basics. Chinese language learning implies more than juste mastering the grammar and memorizing the alphabet and vocabulary. The exchange you develop with your Chinese tutor is important to help you learn the culture inside the language. It is part of mastering a foreign language to be able to understand the culture within.
- Benefit from cheaper rates, as prices of Chinese private lessons vary according to the level of the teacher. A certified language teacher will usually have higher rates.
- Take advantage of the experience of the teacher/student especially for the preparation of exams.
Chinese teacher: the other selection criteria to take into account
To progress effectively, the choice of the teacher is important. Private lessons are based on trust and exchange. This is all the interest of a private lesson. To be able to benefit from an individualized and personalized education.
As Albert Einstein said:
"It is the essential role of the teacher to awaken the joy of working and knowing."
Pedagogy is obviously one of the requested qualities of the Chinese teacher.
The teacher must involve his student and provide a teaching that arouses curiosity and envy. This is essential when you start studying Mandarin and can quickly feel discouraged by the difficulties to overcome.
Your language skills will only improve if your teacher is giving you the adapted strategy to master at the same time Chinese grammar, vocabulary, writings and speaking but also the understanding of this foreign language that will then allow you to better understand its culture, history and other dialects.
A good tutoring implies an adapted Chinese class to your level, your capacities of learning and the goals you have established. Pedagogy is an essential aspect of learning a foreign language.
The first class is often decisive. This is an opportunity to see if there is a good vibe between the student and the teacher. Among the requested qualities of a good teacher of Chinese, we find:
- Communication skills,
- Ability to give clear explanations,
- Didactic skills.
The materials used during the lessons also play a big part in the assimilation of a foreign language. A Chinese course must be structured and framed to simplify the learning of the language. This doesn't mean that it has to be ultra academic and flat.
Interactive and fun methods make it possible to involve the student and to help him effectively. You can also find great online Chinese lessons to get the materials you need such as specific methods. Proficiency plays an important role in learning a language, especially regarding Mandarin.
Prices of Chinese private lessons according to the teachers...
Obviously the budget is also an important point. Private lessons, even if they can be at a fair price and sometimes quite cheap, are not free.
Having an independent private teacher saves money compared to training organizations that generally offer higher rates. However, depending on the type of teacher, the price of Chinese lessons varies.
In any case, you must be aware that learning Chinese quickly with a private teacher can be advantageous:
- Many teachers offer their first lesson (on Superprof of course...),
- The price of medium and long term courses are more advantageous (it is therefore more interesting that one does not become bilingual American-Chinese in 10 lessons!),
- You can select your teacher according to your level and his (No need for an associate professor if you start and want to be guided to acquire a good foundation),
- Intensive courses over a short period (in order to pass a Chinese exam for example) are also more interesting financially,
- Distance-learning courses, via webcam are another track to explore seriously.
Before you choose through the different profiles in order to find the right teacher of Chinese, start by analyzing your needs precisely. You will save valuable time in your research and find the perfect teacher more easily!