I believe that it is necessary to learn basic knowledge (e.g. Pinyin) until you can use it well. That is the foundation for further learning. I prefer to use the methodology that Chinese children use to learn basic knowledge, and I would encourage my studentsto learn from daily life rather staying at home reading textbooks.
I have joined a peer mentor programme in university providing help to those students learning Chinese. For example, one of my students who is doing simultaneous interpretation and I always help her to expand volcabularies in different topics. And I would help her with the revision before taking exams.
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