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Online skype course for complete beginners

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Radical Mandarin

This offer is no longer available. Thank you for your time.

Greetings, my friends!

I'm writing a textbook (Mandarin for complete beginners), so I'm looking for complete beginners to help me test run it (while learning Mandarin in a relaxed informal setting). I'll be teaching you according to my program, just like a normal course, with the difference that you'll be encouraged to give your thoughts, suggestions, and any feedback.


For example: "it was absolutely great" or "that example could be offensive to some", "I feel it's too easy and diluted, I could learn more in less time", "there's so many new words, I totally get discouraged" etc. I need someone who can give positive as well as negative feedback. Naturally grumpy people are preferred! =) 


I'm planning to use the format of skype lessons, one-on-one. It'll take about 10-15 individual lessons to complete the course.


We'll cover (in no specific order)


-introduction to tones & pin yin, pronunciation tips

-greetings, goodbyes

-useful phrases



-key vocabulary

-stroke order

-writing characters

-using your smartphone, tablet or what have you to input characters

-external sources, such as authentic videos and simple texts on the Chinese web


If this sounds interesting, and you are a native speaker of English (from 15 to 60 years old) who wants to start learning Mandarin, please apply. Here's a little questionnaire for any potential volunteers.

1. What's your name?
2. How old are you? 

3. Do you speak other languages other than English? If yes, which languages, and how well?

3. Have you studied Mandarin before? If you answered yes, what have you studied?

5. Do you usually prefer to learn on your own, or take a course?

6. Why do you want to learn Chinese?

The whole course will cost the successful applicant one symbolic dollar. Considering the nature of the course, I only need one or two students for the purpose.

Thanks for your time, and have an awesome day!


If you want to take part, or have questions, send me a message or answer in the thread.  :wink:

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If you want to take part, or have questions, send me a message or answer in the thread.



I'm not a candidate, but in reading your announcement, it strikes me that it might be worthwhile to state your qualifications as a teacher.


I'll be teaching you according to my program, just like a normal course, with the difference that you'll be encouraged to give your thoughts, suggestions, and any feedback.


In other words, what would make this an attractive opportunity for someone just starting out?

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Radical Mandarin

What would make this an attractive opportunity for someone just starting out?


When one starts learning a new language, especially one from another language family, having a teacher is usually very helpful. The whole process is just faster. The student that learns on their own is prone to a wasting a lot of time trying to figure out what to use as a source of learning, and they lack the insight to choose the best one. With Chinese, a lot of people starting out take months to discover an efficient way to input a character, or break it down. It'll take a teacher a second to answer a query like that. Generally, a personal coach is extremely useful in any context.

I want to find someone who would really be interested in giving feedback about the material used by the teacher. It's what some people like to do anyway. If you read a course book, you'll probably note to yourself "wow, this is absolutely awesome" or "gosh, just dragging on and on". We all make judgments about books we read and films we watch, and we discuss them. It's a perk, not a drawback, to be able to communicate your thoughts about the material to your coach. And you will know that your feedback is always very welcome, especially the negative feedback and constructive criticism. You'll be learning a language faster and make your contribution to the production of a book! This is quite interesting in itself, aside from the course fee mentioned in my original post.

State your qualifications as a teacher.

I graduated a linguistically-oriented university, and as an added plus attended Cambridge-organized courses in language instruction. But it's not the important part. I wasn't impressed with either. I'm a language enthusiast that continually pursues new developments in language instruction. I speak many languages, self-taught. As far as Mandarin goes, my knowledge of certain aspects, like character parts actually surpasses that of native speakers. My speaking ability may not be quite on par with native speakers, but it's advanced enough to converse freely on any topic, and my accent and tones are good. I have successfully taught many beginners who reported their delight at being able to communicate when they traveled to China/Taiwan.

Bottom line, if anyone is interested in individual coaching plus feedback, that's exactly the opportunity for you. :)

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I think you're a bit ageist. People over sixty often have more time to learn a new language. Whenever I go to Chinese classes, they are mainly full of people who are in their twenties and in their sixties. Those in between, statistically, are more likely to be working in full-time jobs and busy with bringing up a family.

Secondly, this may not be the ideal place to find a complete beginner!

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This might sound like I'm opposing you, even though I'm really not. But your arguments are not at all persuasive. Summary:



Why would your course be attractive to a new learner?



1. "It helps to have a coach." (Are we just to assume that you would be a great coach? Maybe take your word for it?)

2. "I want to find someone who will give useful feedback to help me improve my book." (How is this relevant? Improving your book is not my concern.)



What are your qualifications as a teacher?



1. "I graduated from a good university."

2. "I'm a language enthusiast."

3. "I'm mostly self taught."

4. "I've taught other beginners who were pleased with the results." (How many? Three or eight hundred?)


These qualifications are not exactly overwhelming. Don't be modest. If you were responsible for Marc Zukerberg's amazing rize to total fluency after only 19 days, this would be the time to say so.


You keep returning to how a certain kind of learner can help you improve your course. Why should a learner care about that? This opportunity is supposed to be for his benefit, not for yours.


If you are actually recruiting guinea pigs or beta testers, perhaps you should compensate those who blindly sign up.

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I suspect most people who come to the forum have already had some exposure to pinyin and tones. Hard to find complete beginners.

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Radical Mandarin

Zeppa, there's no ageism in looking for a tester who represents the demographic most interested in the end product. I'm as ageist as a "My first encyclopedia" author turning to the audience of kids only for beta-testing. It's just common sense. Or do you want to say I misidentified my target audience?  That assumption could be true, but it doesn't appear to be so when I look at similar books and who buys them. The demographics of people taking courses and people buying books/ebooks/apps vary.

Flickserve, you are on point, so I started looking elsewhere.

abcdef, I'm not looking for an editor, or a beta reader to work for me. I'm looking for a student who wants to learn the language and is happy about voicing their opinion after the class. In other words, it will be me doing all the work, and the focus will be on them learning.

P.S. Traditional beta-testing requires the reader to do the work, spend the time reading something, and then diligently writing down everything they think the author should change. Their benefit in reading might be nothing, all they did is spent time.

In this case, someone who wants to learn Mandarin, will be learning Mandarin, and the focus will be on them. The benefit is as obvious as it gets. The only benefit I'll be getting is an opinion after class.

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A linguistically orientated university ... But what did you study? "Cambridge organised courses" which means...? CELTA?

As ABCDEFG points to above, vague answers about credentials and experience don't help you. It just makes it seem like you're unqualified. If you have some decent qualifications behind you then students will definitely want to know.

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This isn't going to fly unless it is re-thought, re-tooled, and re-phrased.


As it stands, what I'm hearing is: "Help me improve my web-course and book. If you know zero Chinese, you might learn some language in the process." 


You don't bring much to the party as far as I can tell. The project doesn't have much appeal as it's currently presented. Probably need to try selling the idea somewhere else where the audience is less well informed.

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Radical Mandarin

You grossly misrepresented my offer. Maybe read the original post again, but try to be less biased. You could notice I was offering a complete course in basic Mandarin. On my part, I would teach the student the basics and provide all the materials. On their part, they would be asked "so, how was the class?" and expected to comment on it.


Course: 10-15 classes one-on-one. feedback after each class very welcome

Cost: $1 the whole course (just for the fun of it. Could have charged a normal price with just a small discount or something).


I'm beginning to think it's the fact that I decided to make it virtually cost-free ($1 for the whole damn course!) that threw you guys off.


I think you had the best intentions at heart, but ended up slandering me and being just unreasonable.


It's very rare for people to offer free service, so I understand the confusion and don't judge you (well, maybe a little) for looking at an act of generosity and seeing it as something shady. You alleged I was unqualified, ageist, looking for "guinea pigs", trying to "sell a project" that has "no appeal", and expecting me to go all the way and prove you I'm not a horrible person you assumed I was   :shock: When it seemed like it couldn't get any more ridiculous, you advised me to go and try to "sell" my nefarious project to the "less informed". Really?  :lol:


As I said in the original post, I already found a beginner student who was happy to use this opportunity to study with a personal tutor.


Offer's down, thread irrelevant.


If anyone wants to continue, I'll be logging in now and again. Looking forward to more trolling and character assassination, so far you've been doing it well  :D

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If you're still reading this, Radical Mandarin, then you should be aware that your last post was incredibly unprofessional. If you learn anything from posting here then it should be that this sort of behaviour can only have a detrimental effect on your business. No one was "trolling" you, there was no "character assassination" nor was your offer "grossly misrepresented". All posters did in this thread was ask about your credentials and take a skeptical attitude towards your product. If you can't handle that, then don't ask for feedback.

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