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OneEye

Mandarin Training Center, National Taiwan Normal University

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Yadang

Cool, thanks guys.

 

One more kind of weird question... I know it's weird to ask, but did the application to MTC have weird dotted lines with a little symbol of scissors by them, meaning to cut on the dotted line?

 

Mine does, and it's kind of freaking me out. The simplest thing to do would just be to cut along the dotted line. This would seem like the smart thing to do, except when I do, all the pages are different sizes (different widths - there are no dotted lines across the paper, only running from the top to the bottom). Part of me feels like there must be a reason for this unusual cutting scheme. The other part of me feels like it will look weird if I send a pile of papers of all different sizes to them...

 

So I'm debating: do I cut along the dotted lines and have all different sized papers stapled together? Do I cut along the dotted lines, and then pile them up against eachother and cut again, so at least they will all be the same size? Or, should I just take the dotted lines out, because I can edit them out in my Word document?

 

I know cutting along dotted lines should be the least of my worries, but you can see why I'm a bit hesitant to send an application of mismatched sized papers, right? Perhaps? ;)

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OneEye

It's been over 3 years, so I can't remember. I'd email the office and ask them.

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etm001

I think I remember this too. I wouldn't worry about it at all. Just go ahead and cut where they want you to (I think that's what I did). Otherwise it wouldn't make any sense for them to give you a template that include the scissor guides.

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Yadang

I emailed them and Jenny said that I could just ignore them... funny how such things can cause such distress ;) Anyways - I submitted my application a few days ago, and we'll see how things go. Thanks again for all of your guys' help!

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roddy

Sounds great, and like it's been a very rewarding 21 months. Many thanks for sharing all the info...

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OneEye

I took a class with 蕭老師 my fourth term there. It was called 即時新聞:中高級口語訓練 or something to that effect. Sounds like it's essentially the same class though.

 

To anyone at MTC, I would recommend taking that class over the Newspaper classes, hands down. As etm001 pointed out, you cover about 20 recent news articles per term, discuss lots of others, and get lots of conversation practice. The Newspaper I class covers 12 articles if I remember correctly, and that's it. I was better able to read the newspaper after that class than friends of mine who had taken both Newspaper I and II.

 

That said, 蕭老師 and I did clash sometimes. Generally, she's a really sweet lady and most people love her. However, every once in a while we'd get into a discussion about something language-related (yes, there is such a thing as written Cantonese. No, that component is the phonetic no matter how it's pronounced now, etc.), and she would always end the argument by saying something like "My MA thesis was on this topic." By the end of the semester, to listen to her, you'd think she had done 4 different MAs. That, combined with the fact that I was at a distinct disadvantage language-wise and she wouldn't hold back, made arguing discussing with her very frustrating sometimes. But again, overall I really liked her and the class was fantastic. She still invites me to come sit in on the class if I have time, but I haven't taken her up on it.

 

Congrats on finishing up at the MTC!

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etm001

@OneEye said:

 

 

I took a class with 蕭老師 my fourth term there. It was called 即時新聞:中高級口語訓練 or something to that effect. Sounds like it's essentially the same class though.

 

That's for mentioning this. I actually attended the first day of that class but switched to 話週刊 (because it was offered at 10:30am instead of 8am for 即使新聞). The format of the two classes is the same. The only difference might be in the types of articles 蕭老師 selects for each class to review, but I can't say for sure. 

 

@OneEye said:

 

 

To anyone at MTC, I would recommend taking that class over the Newspaper classes, hands down.

 

An excellent point that I forgot to raise. I completely agree.

 

One thing I forgot to mention: in regards to listening/speaking, 話週刊 was not a cakewalk for me. In prior classes I could get away with letting my mind wander while the teacher was speaking, but in in this class I had to actively focus on what 蕭老師 was saying if I wanted a chance of participating in the discussion in a meaningful way. For anyone taking this class in the future, don't feel bad if you are not always 100% clear on details of the topic being discussed - that's part of the challenge of the class (and of real life interaction with native speakers, frankly).

 

Finally, I've attached to this post the course sheets for the summer 2014 term, which accurately reflect the courses that I saw offered most terms during my time at the MTC. In regards to classes that are more listening/speaking focused, they include:

  • 5-2 中級華語聽與說-Listening & Speaking Practice (Intermediate Level)
  • 5 網路新聞入門-中級口語順利-A First Course in Network News - Intermediate Speaking Practice
  • 6 中高級聽力順利-Listening Practice (Intermediate-Advanced Level)
  • 7 話週刊-高級口語順利-Weekly Publication - Advanced Speaking Practice

There may be several others, such as "News and Views" and "E-commerce Digest", but I'm not familiar with those classes so I can't say for sure. Also, as discussed earlier in this thread, there's "Mini Radio Plays", which by design has a much larger listening component than the classes offered before it, but the in-classroom speaking aspect of the class will vary significantly by teacher. 

 

My last thought is this: as you work your way through the beginning and intermediate levels of MTC, you tend to spend more time on reading/writing assignments. You certainly do have the opportunity to practice your speaking/listening skills in class, but on the balance MTC does not put aural/oral skills first, unlike other programs (Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, Glossika, etc.) If you've read this entire thread, then you know it's a good idea to supplement the MTC coursework with your own self-study. Having said that, if you don't have much free time to self-study, then I recommend focusing on improving your aural/oral skills, because you'll get plenty of reading/writing practice through your MTC coursework.

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Meng Lelan

The course offerings include a junior high school Chinese reader class and senior high school Chinese reader class, so in those two classes they get an actual copy of the textbook and study the content?

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OneEye

A friend of mine took the high school Chinese reader class a while back. They didn't use the official high school textbook, but one of the many books intended to help students cram for their university entrance exams. I don't remember the exact one, but they're all pretty much the same. I have one called 《文言文40篇大探索》 which is now out of print, and one called 《高中國文全譯本1-6冊》which is still in print and which I can wholeheartedly recommend.

 

I have the textbook for the News and Views class. It's not really speaking focused, but it is great for listening practice if you can find the audio. Lucky has the book, but probably not the audio because it's an ICLP course and they guard that stuff tightly. I know the class I audited this semester in the interpretation department has used News and Views lessons a few times. Same with 社會大學, which is also an ICLP course.

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mengjiepeng

Does anyone have experience with/know someone that has experience with studying at MTC while working full-time?

 

I've noticed the regular classes have a 18:30 - 20:20 session, so I'm hoping to combine studying with work. 

 

Questions:

1) Is it possible to just take the evening classes?

2) Would doing so make it difficult/impossible to switch teachers, in case your initially assigned teacher isn't what you're looking for?

3) How much time should homework take, on average?

 

I'll likely be placed somewhere in the intermediate track, passed HSK5 recently. I'm working on traditional characters now, but really need some more structured learning to get out of the plateau-phase I'm stuck in at the moment.

 

If MTC would be though to combine with work, any other suggestions?

 

Thanks!

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etm001

 

 

1) Is it possible to just take the evening classes?

Sure, as long as enough students sign up for the evening class, it will be offered.

 

 

2) Would doing so make it difficult/impossible to switch teachers, in case your initially assigned teacher isn't what you're looking for?

Probably. I would imagine that the number of classes offered in the evening (for any given level) is limited.

 

 

3) How much time should homework take, on average?

It depends on the teacher. For the regular class, 2 hours per night seems reasonable. Could be less, or a little more. 

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Eszter

About textbooks: the usually use the Practical Audiovisual Chinese series that was "updated" just a few years ago. It's decent, with characters, pinyin, zhuyin (or bopomofo, the phonetic system very popular in Taiwan) and English translations. They might use other books as a supplement but at least two years ago it was the main textbook. 

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Lovinlearn

Awesome post & great follow up information here--just commenting so I can find this later! Really thrilled about the great resources I've found here so far :)

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OneEye

Actually, they've just changed the textbooks they're using. I went to Taiwan last week and stopped by the MTC and they're using A Course in Contemporary Chinese [當代中文課程] now. PAVC books 3 and 4 are still being used, but presumably they're phasing them out and kept them for the students who started out in that series and want to continue. I don't know what the difference is, since I haven't looked at the new books, but I do know they've been working on this for a few years. One of my teachers told me while I was at MTC (unbelievably, 3 years ago now!) that they were working on new books then. I have to say, it's sad to see 高偉立 and friends go, but hopefully the new books will be an improvement.

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OneEye

Well, that's the book list for the 2013-2014 academic year, so it wouldn't have it. They're not known for updating things, anyway. When I was there, the information on the website was several years out of date (though that seems to have improved some). The lack of reliable information out there was part of why I started this thread in the first place. But in the picture at the ICLP website, you can see the MTC logo on the book. And you can see from the picture etm001 posted in post #128 that it was being phased in as early as June this year.

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mprey

I have a question about the intermediate and above classes at MTC. I can read about 1200 characters, around HSK 4 and a bit more. I've been studying here in Taiwan for a while now, but 1 on 1 at TLI and I am thinking of mixing it up a bit,  thinking that maybe a formal group class setting would help me become a bit more disciplined.

 

However the issue for me is that I can't handwrite. Because I'm left handed it was always a huge pain in the ass for me and I rather spent the time learning to read/listen/speak than handwrite. So I am wondering if this will be an issue for those MTC classes? Do you have to hand in handwritten assignments? I guess taking exams would also be impossible this way?

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etm001

 

 

So I am wondering if this will be an issue for those MTC classes? Do you have to hand in handwritten assignments? I guess taking exams would also be impossible this way?

The most common daily assignment is 造句, i.e. writing sentences using new vocabulary words. In the beginning levels teachers would certainly want you to handwrite the sentences. In the higher levels, I think you can get away with typing them. (And to be really honest, the higher the level, the less of a hard time the teacher will give you if you don't do 造句 at all).

 

One assignment that is mandatory at all levels is writing a term paper. This must be written by hand (on huge composition paper, which is scanned for review by the graduate research department AFAIK). You'll write the paper at home (and if you are smart, little-by-little over the course of many weeks), so you can take your time with it.

 

I do recall having one teacher who gave nothing but dictation tests (聽力) - definitely challenging, both just to remember what he said and getting it all down on paper before he started on the next group of sentences. (I think this style of testing is rare, though).

 

We all learn differently. For me handwriting - which is admittedly slow and repetitious - was hugely helpful in strengthening my memory. I don't do *any* handwriting now (and consequently I've noticed that my recollection of many character's 筆畫 has degraded somewhat), although I do incorporate it into my flashcard routine (I test on an iPad using Pleco and have my testing profile such that if a card comes up with a really high score (i.e., I should know the word well), just the audio is pronounced and I have to write the character(s) correctly).

 

Just out of curiosity, how do you like TLI? I recently signed up for 1-on-1 classes and am interested to hear about your experience. It was a bit of a struggle for them to figure out what material and/or approach would work best for me (in the end I just selected the textbook myself and asked them to also include a current news program or talk show to review as well). It made me wonder if most of their students are beginners or intermediate learners. Nonetheless, I'm optimistic the sessions will prove productive.

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