Learning Chinese? You need these 2 things...

September 14, 2010

I have been taking Mandarin for two years now, and can attest that when learning Mandarin, there are two factors that determine whether or not the student truly wishes to continue. One is the student’s own desire to learn, and the second is the teacher’s strong presence in the classroom. Fortunately, I have both.

Perhaps the biggest thing that my professor, Qian Laoshi, has done is to help keep the class entertaining, while still helping students understand the difficult grammar concepts present in the language. Oftentimes in review he will jokingly come up with humorous and educational skits involving some of the characters in the textbook dialogues. They incorporate grammar concepts and words we have learned as well as introduce new words that may not be brought up in the text book (colloquial terms we don’t usually learn in the textbook, or even in a Chinese-English dictionary).

Also, Qian Laoshi has helped me in learning to write characters in a way that has greatly impacted the way I study them. He has shown our class stories behind characters or ways to remember them, especially radicals. Now whenever I learn a new character or come across one I don’t know I try to think about what the parts might look like to discover the meaning. When that fails I simply look up the radicals and remember the character that way. So Qian Laoshi, thank you for making a difficult language into a fun one!

Kristin Troilo, student