People may decide to study a new language for a variety of reasons, perhaps because it looks great on a CV, or maybe they have a special family connection. Whatever the reason, starting on your learning journey with a private teacher is a great idea!
So why should you learn Chinese? Well, in the business world, speaking fluent Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese or any other major dialect) can be a real leg-up. You show potential employers that you're committed to personal development and greatly widen your pool of opportunities.
There's also the fact that you can discover not just one culture, but the cultures of different regions all around China, learning about art, history, food and more while you practice your language skills.
Of course, finding the perfect teacher for you isn't always simple, and there are a few questions you should ask yourself before you start your search for a Chinese teacher. For example:
- How many hours a week do I need to study to improve?
- How many weeks and years will I need to study to become fluent?
- How much should I be paying my teacher per lesson?
- How do I know I'm getting the best value for my money?
These questions are important to ask because they can help to focus your search. While cost definitely shouldn't be the only factor you consider, comparing the costs of different teachers will help you get the right deal.
Private tutoring is a field that's known for having lots of differences in fees, depending on the subject, the teacher's years of experience, the number of classes and much more.
So how does this related to Chinese language classes? And how can a free Superprof search make it easier to find a great tutor?
How much do teachers on Superprof charge for Chinese lessons?
At the moment, there are around 749 Chinese language tutors across Australia who can provide lessons, mostly in Mandarin. There's a huge range of teachers that vary based on different factors:
- Age: You can find tutors who are still in uni, all the way to some who have been teaching for years.
- Qualifications: Some of the tutors have specific degrees or certificates for teaching language.
- Language Background: Many of our tutors are native speakers of Chinese, but you can also find those who have studied for a long time to become fluent.
- Cultural background: While the majority of our teachers are Chinese nationals, there are also second-generation migrants who grew up in Australia speaking Chinese, as well as Australian ex-pats who have spent years living in China.
Superprof: Average fees for learning Chinese in Sydney
So what's the average price for tutors in one of Australia's most expensive cities?
There are around 108 tutors offering Chinese lessons in Sydney. Prices range from the cheapest ($10 an hour) to the most expensive ($60 an hour), and the averages are:
- $33 per hour for in-home tutoring - tutors may ask you to come to them, or come directly to you (although most add a small expense for travel).
- $32 per hour for online lessons with a computer via webcam.
So why the difference? Well, as we said before, there's a range of differences between teachers, and this is why they decide to charge more or less per lesson.
The most expensive Chinese language tutors generally have more years of experience with proven results from students. They may also have specific qualifications like a degree in Chinese Language Teaching.
The could even be specialists in one area of learning, for example, HSK test preparation, business language or alphabetization.
The Average Price of Chinese lessons in other Australian cities:
- Melbourne: $30 per hour
- Brisbane: $32 per hour
- Perth: $28 per hour
- Adelaide: $29 per hour
- Canberra: $32 per hour
As you can see, prices per lesson are generally quite even across the country, with the biggest cities (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) and the capital (Canberra) costing a little bit more.
So now that we know the average price of Chinese lessons across the country, we have another important question to ask before we can find the perfect teacher:
- How does the price relate to the quality of my Chinese lessons?
The first thing that we need to say is that the most expensive is not necessarily the best. What you as a student need to be looking for is the teacher that is best for you.
A teacher's methodology is an extremely important part of every lesson, and you might find a teacher or the cheaper side that teaches in a way that you love, where you feel you're learning something with every class.
Also, if you find a teacher you like, it's always a good idea to get in touch, even if the price is slightly out of your range. Tutors often offer packages for students who want to do a large number of lessons over the weeks.
Lastly, it's important to remember that different types of classes can often have different fees, usually based on how much work the teacher has to do out of class time.
For example, an test practice course, where your tutor has to spend time outside of class correcting long essays will probably have a higher price than a simple conversation course which doesn't involve much outside work.
There's a huge range of types of classes, and you can choose exactly what you want to study with your private tutor. You can cover aspects like:
- Learning Chinese characters
- Classes in English, or only in Chinese for an extra challenge
- Pronunciation practice and learning about different accents
- Conversation courses for students who want to improve speaking
- Writing courses for more advanced students
- Preparation for high school, university or any other test
- Business Chinese or Mandarin courses for those who want to work in China
What's the price of Chinese or Mandarin courses at a language school in Australia?
Surprisingly, lessons in private language schools are often cheaper than lessons with a private tutor.
Many schools have larger class sizes, ask for fees to be paid upfront or offer cheaper rates of free extras for concession students. All in all, it is possible to find a Chinese course that costs less than lessons with a private tutor.
You also have the guarantee from the school that their teachers have the right experience and qualifications to be working in a school. This is especially true for university-based language courses, which are very popular in Australia.
Let's look at some of the prices of the most popular schools in different cities in Australia:
- The Council for Adult Education (CAE) in Melbourne provides classes to adult students of all levels. A beginners class costs $349 for 18 hours of classes (around $19 an hour). They also offer intensive courses for travellers that can cost around $110 for 4 hours of class.
- The Hutong School in Sydney, a school with locations all around the world, offers. range of different classes for business, children, travel and general. A small group class (4-6 students) will cost around $25 an hour. They also give discounts to those who buy 20 and 10-hour packages.
- If you're in Perth, a good option is the Perth Beijing School, which is also a HSK test centre. Lessons here will set you back around $1200 for a 40-hour course ($30 an hour).
- The Workers Educational Association in Adelaide provides a range of different Mandarin courses to adults. Their year-long courses are a longer commitment, and cost around $370 for 24 sessions.
- The Chung Tian Chinese School in Brisbane is one of the largest Chinese language schools in the state and offers terms of lessons that go for 8 weeks. They cost just $160 for 16 hours of lessons.
Then, of course, there is a range of schools across the country that offer classes with the Confucius Institute program. This is a worldwide program run by an organisation called Hanban, which is affiliated with the Chinese government.
This organisation partners with colleges and universities around the world to provide Mandarin education of a very high standard. Many universities across Australia are part of this program.
Check out if there's a Confucius Institute at your uni or college:
- Victoria: La Trobe, RMIT, U of Melbourne
- New South Wales: U of New South Wales, U of Newcastle, U of Sydney
- Queensland: Griffith U, U of Queensland, Queensland U of Technology
- Northern Territory: Charles Darwin U
- South Australia: U of Adelaide
- Western Australia: U of Western Australia
So as you can see, the price of Mandarin courses in language schools varies quite a bit across the country and across schools. While many of them are more economical than private lessons, some are also just as expensive.
How to make the choice between a Mandarin language class and private lessons?
There are many aspects that a prospective student would need to consider before making this decision, as there are some pretty significant differences between these types of classes, and there's no one best way to learn Chinese.
This is one of the major reasons why people may choose to go down the private teaching route. Our weeks are all pretty full, so finding the right type of lesson at the right time with a language school can be a bit of a test.
With a private teacher, it's likely to be much easier to fit classes into your schedule, when and where you want.
As we mentioned before, some schools offer cheaper rates but may have larger class sizes. This can be a pro and a con.
First, studying with like-minded people can be a great way to make new friends. You'll also have more opportunities to speak with a greater range of people.
Private classes can be one-on-one, or sometimes with two people. The advantage of this is that the teacher can specialise the content to you and go at the pace you need.
Deciding what you need and want to study before you start your search is a good idea because it can help you to make your decision right from the start.
A course with a language school will be full of interesting content, but will generally be quite standardised. The teacher needs to get their students to a specific point by a specific time, so they usually don't have the freedom to slow down.
They're also likely to focus more heavily on grammar and vocabulary study, which can be a great thing for some students.
A private teacher is more free in terms of time. If they find their students are struggling with a particular grammar point, or really interested in a specific topic, they have the freedom to slow down.
This means students get the benefits of studying exactly what they want or need, with the time it takes to actually get it right. However, this can mean you might not reach a certain level by a fixed time frame.
It's not certain that a teacher with a language school will be excellent, and there are many highly qualified teachers who prefer to teach privately.
However, it is true that teachers at schools have generally gone through a screening process that guarantees they have the right qualifications to be teaching Mandarin or Cantonese.
Anyone can decide to become a private teacher and put an ad online. This doesn't mean that all private teachers are not qualified, that's actually far from the truth.
It does mean that if you decide to start your search for a private teacher, you need to read everything from their background to students reviews very carefully and recognise that the cheapest tutor is likely not going to be the best.
Superprof can make this process easier, as the teacher profiles are complete with all the important information you as a student need to make this decision.
You can find out about their educational background, career experience, methodology and even read reviews from past students.
Our teachers can help you learn Mandarin or Cantonese in new and interesting ways, and provide tips and tricks so you can learn more quickly than you ever thought possible!