Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
Mijin

Tips for managing / preparing 1-on-1 lessons

Recommended Posts

Mijin

I have come to the conclusion that group lessons suit me better: following a set plan with a bit of competitive element.


However, I still have 5 months remaining with my current 1-on-1 teacher (2 evenings a week), and once again it's gone off-track.

 

We start each lesson just conversing in Chinese, which should be good practice, but when she says new words she will quickly tell me the meaning and try to continue talking: I have to tell her 等一下 while I try to make some notes or try to use the word in a sentence myself. When I'm talking, if I'm struggling to get a word out, she will often finish the word for me.

Then we may read a text, which usually contains many new words so the paper ends up covered in scribblings.

 

Then for my part, I almost never review the material between lessons.

It's not that I don't study chinese outside of the lessons...I do, it's just that using a textbook, or app like Memrise (while making notes) is a more pleasant way for me to study than trying to look over my own mess of notes from the lesson. Particularly since there just isn't time in my week to go over and attempt to commit to memory every word that came up in that week's lessons. 

 

Thoughts? I know the obvious advice is "Just tell your teacher your concerns" but IME even that doesn't work when you don't have a good proposal for the way the lesson *should* go.

  • Good question! 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Flickserve
36 minutes ago, Mijin said:

I have to tell her 等一下 while I try to make some notes or try to use the word in a sentence myself. When I'm talking, if I'm struggling to get a word out, she will often finish the word for me.

 

How annoying. Use English and say wait a minute. See how that goes. That might give you some better authority. 

 

You can try reviewing a previous lesson in a future lesson. I did that for one course I’m my early days because I also don’t review lessons very well. The teacher wanted to keep ploughing on with new material. When we reviewed the lessons, I did feel better about myself after going through the same material more easily. You never feel like you are making any progress if you keep going through new material. 

 

the texts that you are reading in class might have too many new words. I suggest you go back to older scripts and read again. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
abcdefg
2 hours ago, Mijin said:

Thoughts? I know the obvious advice is "Just tell your teacher your concerns" but IME even that doesn't work when you don't have a good proposal for the way the lesson *should* go.

 

You might have to fire this teacher, which could be a big problem if you have prepaid the next five months. I cannot imagine getting locked in to an unfavorable contract clause like that. How in the world did that happen? How long has the problem behavior been going on? If you have let it slide for several weeks or months already, it's unlikely to be easy to turn around. 

 

Sounds like you need to have a formal pre-class business meeting. Type all this stuff out clearly, points numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 ... Give her one copy. Keep one for yourself. It should carry the date of the meeting. Go through your talking points slowly and carefully. Ask if she understands each one before moving to the next one. It needs to be a firm "come to Jesus"  meetings. Not just casual, smiling, "aw shucks" tentative comments. You are the boss and she is your employee. Be respectful but firm. 

 

She is not doing what you need done. She is not delivering the goods and absolutely must improve her teaching methods. Make that clear. Then make it equally clear what you want her to do instead. It is imperative that you come up with a solid action plan otherwise your meeting will just come across as impotent whining, it won't result in lasting improvement. 

 

Quote

We start each lesson just conversing in Chinese, which should be good practice, but when she says new words she will quickly tell me the meaning and try to continue talking: I have to tell her 等一下 while I try to make some notes or try to use the word in a sentence myself. When I'm talking, if I'm struggling to get a word out, she will often finish the word for me.

 

Is this person an experienced teacher? Frankly she sounds very inept. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mungouk
2 hours ago, Flickserve said:

The teacher wanted to keep ploughing on with new material. When we reviewed the lessons, I did feel better about myself after going through the same material more easily. You never feel like you are making any progress if you keep going through new material. 

 

Sounds like:

 

        Teacher's view: we are covering lots of chapters/material.  We are making progress.

 

        Student's view: I am feeling like I'm not keeping up because we keep moving on to new chapters/material.

 

I recognise this... can't you insist on doing some revision and consolidation if you feel like you're not managing to get to grips with some material?

 

As the others have said, you need to insist on the teacher meeting your needs, which requires you to make sure she understands them.

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shelley

It strikes me that she should send you in advance the new words that she is going to to introduce in each lesson/session. This gives you the chance to do some prep and avoid interruptions.

I would consider this good practice on her part and if you do put in some time between lesson with this prep work it might all go more smoothly.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tres

Write an email to her telling her your would like to discuss something prior to your next class- it should take about ten minutes. In English

if she speaks it. Explain your issue and learning needs. Ask her if she feels she will be able to accommodate and adjust her teaching style.

And before she starts the lesson, you'll have an answer. Also advise her that at the end of the class you will speak briefly 3 minutes, giving feedback

on how 'that' class went. And if you think it can work agree on just one to two more classes with 'changes' or else you will need a refund due to the need to pay for group

classes instead. 

 

This allows her / him the opportunity to adjust and change. A lot of teachers are not given proper feedback and just rated as 'poor' by students instead of understanding

what the student was struggling with. 

 

As both a student and a teacher, I have found there are teachers who don't work for me, and some who do. As a student I have been able to adjust my learning

to comprehend material differently and take what I need from teachers without having to 'connect' to them per say. 

 

A teacher cannot make you learn. They only introduce the information and the student generally must go about finding ways to understand it. Adult students are generally more 

difficult as they spend less time studying and depend more on the teacher finding solutions for them.

 

If I had to have a student understand every point and word while I spoke it,  I could not complete teaching the lesson. And yes there are students who believe

it's the teachers job to make them understand, When in fact, it is the style of studying and using mixed resources which actually enable students to memorise and acquire new skills.

 

I can recommend a book called LEARNING HOW TO LEARN.

 

It has changed how I study new languages and complex ideas and my learning has increased more than 100 percent.

 

Good luck. But remember, both things can be true. The teacher may not be a good fit for you, and you also have to take responsibility to study

and use mixed styles of learning, books, audio, apps, videos etc.  And understand that short study periods -with repetition  enhance learning and short term and long term memory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mijin

Thanks everyone for the good suggestions.

 

I want to be clear that this thread wasn't intended to be a moan about a teacher: my current teacher is far from the worst I have ever had, and as implied by the OP I take most, if not all, responsibility. I don't think I am a lazy person, but it is too easy sometimes to get in a habit of just showing up and going through the motions and not stop to check whether any progress was made.

In terms of telling the teacher my issues, in fact circumstances have now slightly got in the way. I have been asked to both take part in a 春节 performance and to do a presentation to my colleagues, and both are to be in Chinese. And both are daunting to me right now. So the next couple weeks will be intensive practice, and I've asked my teacher to just help with checking my pronunciation and delivery (and helping me understand what's going on in the performance).

But when we go back to the regular learning routine, I will tell her my concerns and make some suggestions like:
I suggest a topic in advance for the start lesson chat
She tells me in advance the new words for the text we are going to read together
We just follow my HSK5 book -- that way we will cover more grammar, and also I will know in advance what we're going to study and can prepare (I can also follow up by doing the listening exercises at home)

I'll also take a look at "learning to learn"

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×