Our approach

你 好 (“hello”) may be the most useful thing to learn to say first, but it is not as easy to write as 一,二,三 (“one, two, three”). In order not to slow down our students’ progress in the early stages by overloading them with too much new information to assimilate, we allow learners to focus on one new thing at a time.  This includes progressing spoken and written language in parallel but independently of each other.

Character-based

We take a character-based approach to reading and writing, which means that instead of presenting 中国 = “China” we present 中 = “middle” and 国 = “kingdom.”

 

Each section introduces a handful of new characters and then any multi-character words (like 中国 = “China”) that are ‘unlocked’ by combining the new characters with one or more of the characters that students have previously learned.

Snowballing

The character-based approach enables us to “snowball” 中 = “middle” and 国 = “kingdom” into  中国 = “China” and 国中 = “the middle of the country.” With the same amount of effort, the learner actually acquires 4 words (中,国,中国,国中) instead of 1 (中国).

 

We take the same approach with sentences, combining the new words and patterns in each section with those that have previously been learned.  This continual recycling builds students’ confidence and grows their knowledge exponentially.

What can you do?

The purpose of all material and activities in each section is to enable the learner to do something in a real-world scenario.  The objective for each section is thus for each learner to produce some spoken or written Chinese which demonstrates what they are able to do with what they have learned.