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Which That's Mandarin location


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I'm planning on studying at That's Mandarin for a few weeks over the summer. I can choose between the Wudaokou and the Dongzhimen locations. I suspect I'll prefer Wudaokou as the presence of more students there should make short-term student issues like housing easier to deal with. Any suggestions about this?

Or any comments about That's Mandarin? What little I read about it on the forums made it seem awesome, but I didn't find that much.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I recently tried out the Dongzhimen location and can't recommend it. This is the email I sent them after my 'free trial'.


I saw your ad on the Beijinger and thought I'd check you out. I was picked up at Dongzhimen by two very pleasant and polite teachers and driven to your offices. We had a nice chat in the car and the lady teacher demonstrated her competence by correcting some of my mistakes. I was impressed. Then I met the teacher who would take my free-trial class. I don't recall her name, I don't think she told me. Her attitude was unfortunately very different. She first of all informed me that she was very strict and would punish me with push-ups if I spoke English (it's not the push-ups I object to, I do 30 every night before bed, it's the attitude). When I expressed what I was looking for in a method and teacher I was told I was stubborn. She didn't really ever hear what my needs were. She just wanted to impose her method on me, throw her weight about, and abuse her power in the classroom. Self-evidently, her disrespectful and insulting behaviour towards me disqualified her in my eyes: I stuck it for ten minutes or so and then politely thanked her for her time and left. The woman was insufferable.

May I politely suggest that if you want to attract and keep customers and fill your empty classrooms that you employ teachers who are capable of having a dialogue and truly listening to their clients' wants and needs in a warm and caring way and not hire supercilious and dismissive people more interested in humiliation and power-trips who frankly would be more suited to prison-guard work.

Thank you.

David W Jackson

I did get a begrudging response, 90% of which was a defense of the school and its teachers. So, personally, I couldn't recommend them at all. Unless you're a masochist and enjoy paying for the privilege of being humiliated and insulted.

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That's strange; I read an oppositely positive review about it too. I hope it's just one bad teacher, although that is pretty disappointing too.

I guess this makes the decision as to which location; I'll stay in Wudaokou so I can try other schools if this one really sucks.

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A couple of thoughts:

Even in advanced nations, not every member of an organisation has been inducted into their company's philosophy re customer service or been trained so that there is replication of a desired service response with everyone consciously onboard singing from the same songbook, right?. In my experience here, there might not even exist the concept of customer as anything other than a cash-cow and western customers are then caught between two different expectations, depending of course on the company. Some Chinese companies far excel anything I've experienced in the West as far as service but they tend to be the big players.

I think it really does boil down to the individual's mindset and mentality and I'm sure there must be many teachers at That's Mandarin with great attitudes and balanced classroom management methodologies. I was just unlucky. It is the exception though rather then the norm in my experience to find someone with a high EQ - especially males where traditionally these soft skills are perceived as feminine - ie a person’s ability to understand their own emotions and those of others, and to act appropriately using these emotions. Primarily in service-led industries this would be through customer validation rather than invalidation. Invalidation is to reject, ignore, mock, tease, judge, control or diminish someone's feelings or experience. There is a wonderful example of it in the proceeding post. So, its presence is not a function of economic development but rather of personal development - or its absence - and I'm sure if you shop around you'll find someone right for you with whom you can make great progress. At the end of the day, it's a numbers game and persistence will win out in the end. I wish you success!

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tlevine, I have been with TM for six months and really enjoy it there. I think either school would be fine - I have had six different teachers during my time there and they are all lovely. And I am making good progress, which is the most important thing. I couldn't even say thankyou when I started.

No idea what to think about David W. Marks' lesson issue but I doubt it is That's Mandarin's loss, reading these posts. Anyone who has a lesson for 10 minutes and starts spouting off about widespread EQ-inadequacy in China probably needs their head examined.


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