Gareth D, Professor, Sydney, Australia

I am just learning Chinese as a hobby, really. In my job (I teach and research Biochemistry at Sydney University) I come across a lot of Chinese people (both fellow scientists and students) and, although they all speak perfect English, it is a good ice-breaker and much appreciated if I have a go with my Mandarin! However, some of my more cynical colleagues think I’m only learning so that I can tell what the students in the front row of my lecture are saying about my classes :-)

I have been learning for about 6 months… I really like the way your course is ‘progressive’… it really gives me a strong sense of progression and achievement… I particularly like the use of the Chinese ‘links’ within in the lessons (ie, the padding between the sentences in the formal dialog). I like the way that you refer back to previous lessons… this provides both reassurance and a chance for revision… as well as a strong sense of continuity.

I am very much enjoying working my way though all the lesson transcripts. They are a really fantastic resource… I think I am learning just as much from the ‘padding’ that accompanies the explanations and introductions to each sentence as I am from the dialogues themselves. I think that this is because there is a lot of reinforcement of the ‘teaching phrases’ from one lesson to the next, so eventually it becomes ‘fluent’ for me.

Apart from the export feature (which is absolutely fantastic!) I am enjoying the videos. It is surprising just how much difference there is between an audio dialog and a video… Of course, it is easier to interpret the big-picture of what is happening from the video but it is also more challenging with the actors speaking so naturally and with all the other bits of visual information that one’s brain tries to process at the same time. In short, I think the videos are a perfect complement to the dialogs.

There’s no doubt that all aspects of my learning have massively increased since I started learning the characters… so I think that anything you can do to encourage your students to take an interest in writing and reading the characters will be very positive!

I’m just at the stage where the complexity of the ‘incidental’ Chinese used in the lessons is now just as useful as the official lesson dialog! (ie, about lesson 100-120 or so)… So you’ve clearly thought out your business model very well… get everyone ‘hooked’ on the first episodes and then they can’t resist!

Cheerio, and thanks for a great course which I am enjoying very much!

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