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

My rant: Problems with the Chinese Teaching System


self-taught-mba
 Share

Recommended Posts

There were such a flurry of replies that I got caught up in answering them. There are still several that I would like to reply to all the lime quite busy right now.

As I stated, that post was written a long time ago so it is not "just an extended commercial advertisement". If you don't believe me, you can go back to some of my very first posts and see where I reference an upcoming rant that I had been working on.

So I did not change anything before posting it; the school came about because of the ideas set forth in the post not the other way around.

I did want to hear people's opinion and I still want to hear people's opinion.

Furthermore, I really don't expect my school to appeal to many on this board at all. From my web site: I explain that my school is intended "For Beginners or Less than 1 year previous study" only. http://www.1monthchinese.com/Chinese_Learning_Programs.html

Most of the people on this board (at least the most active) are far beyond that level. So no I'm not here to recruit you. Someone asked: if things are not suitable for a potential customer I will tell them, yes I will. I actually feel comfortable referring them to a competitor. (I believe in the long term this is a much better approach, and the right thing to do). In my link section I even have a link to some of the " competitors". Haven't seen that one before have you!? This is because I know what I'm doing is significantly different, which is my selling point. But I also realize that it is not for everybody, and so I feel comfortable referring them to other schools that use more traditional approaches if that is what they desire. In the future, I want to add more self-learning links such as Zhongwen.com (already there), because yes, I do believe that it is possible to teach yourself, and if a student wants to do that instead of go to my school that is fine too. (Despite what others have insinuated, that I'm attacking the Chinese culture, I actually believe that by making the language more accessible it opens the culture to more people)

(For example, BLCU and UIR are linked on my web page here: http://www.1monthchinese.com/Chinese_Learning_Directory.html

However, I may remove BLCU if I keep hearing about class sizes going up. (I have no problem referring to a competitor as long as they are a good competitor)

Side note: I have visited UIR (University of International Relations) and I was impressed with the way they conduct their school, although it does use most of the similar methods as BLCU. But their class sizes are small and they do seem to care a lot about the students. (Disclosure: UIR will be providing accreditation for my students after they take a test at the end of the program) so no there is not an arm's-length transaction here, and I am plugging them, but that is also because I believe they are good. For what they do (and approach similar to BLCU), I think they are one of the best in this is why I chose an association with them. (Another school used to have in association with them but the private school lost their accreditation)

I want my program to be enjoyable for those that will want it, and don't need to trick anyone into coming which would then lower the morale of the entire class anyway. So, I try to make my intentions clear so that people will not have regret after the fact.

Furthermore, after reading my web site, I am sure that readers will thoroughly understand why my school is different and understand why it is for them or not for them.

I will post continual updates and try to respond to some of the posts here. Keep your opinions coming.

Link to comment
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.

Well you wanted some feedback here it is :)

“No, ma’am I am not here to learn “Chinese”; I’m here to learn how to communicate.”

I think this is the key to the understanding of where you a comming from. Looks like you are "doing" Chinese as part of your business objective. Studying MBA, want to become someone in busness, trading with China etc etc.

Nothing wrong with that, don't get me wrong, to each his own.

But contrast that with someone who wants to study the language and the culture not for (business) communication purposes but for totally different motivations.

I’m NOT saying that those that wish to write characters by hand, study calligraphy, study other than modern culture, etc are wasting their time.

Well I agree. But as you can see there are many reasons for wanting to learn the chinese language.

Perhaps from an eastern perspective we could say: "Well here we go again, stereotypes galore but yet another impatient American who complains about time is money, is not really interested in Chinese language and culture, just want's to "get down Chinese quickly" so he can communicate his wheeling and dealing dollar business over here."

Fair? No not really, but there you have the other side of the coin. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

self-taught-mba,

Congratulations on your impressive website and also on your school (if it's been set up)! I hope the school will be a success and the students there will be more successful than you were in the language. I'm however a bit uneasy looking at the foundation on which it is built. Apart from your pure talk and criticism of others (for your failure), do you possess any real knowledge, experience or achievement in learning/ teaching Chinese to ensure you'd do better than those you've criticised? Your story reminds me of those revolutionaries who turned revolutionary because they failed to cope with (not to mention being able to go beyond) the existing conditions and what is available. Needless to say, the casualties of their experiments are not the revolutionaries themselves but those who have listened to them (or those who have paid hefty school fees :mrgreen: ). Your story also reminds me of those American linguists who write authoritively about languages without speaking a single foreign language themselves.

Anyway, Happy New Year!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A relatively minor point, but unless there's a temple dedicated to South American beasts of burden somewhere in Beijing (and if so, I'd love to know where it is), you've got a typo on your fees page.

Your course set up, at first glance, looks odd to me. If I want to study Chinese alone, my only option is the One Month Mandarin course? Any longer than that and I have to take martial arts too? Are you catering for people who want longer than one month of intensive Chinese? You don't seem to have any less intensive options for people who work here and want to study in their free time - given that you are in Chaoyang, I'd think they'd make up a fair part of your potential market.

I don't like seeing the all-inclusive price - presumably you aren't going to turn people away if they want to arrange their own accomodation, so let them know how much that would cost.

The below is assuming your prices are in USD, it's not specified on your page.

For comparison purposes - the IUP program at Qinghua, which seems to be considered to be both damned good and damned expensive, has a 2-month summer program costing $4000, ex. tuition only. Two months with you would cost $7000, inc shared room accommodation and extras.

Now, even assuming you can match IUP on education, where's that $3000 difference coming from? I can rent a plush apartment for two months, buy myself a top of the range PDA and have . . . oh, I don't know, lots of money left over with that $3000.

Given your location and ethos, I can see you doing well with business customers. But how many of them can take a month out full-time? And how many of the Wudaokou-brand of Chinese students - recent graduates / on a year out - will find your pricing attractive?

I wish you the best of luck with this, and I'm in agreement with a lot of what you say about current methodology in China. I'm not yet convinced that your course structure is wise though (but then, I don't have an MBA).

Roddy

PS Oh, and as said, get rid of the sound effect. Pet hate.

PPS To clarify: IUP doesn't take entry-level students, so you're not a direct competitor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

but unless there's a temple dedicated to South American beasts of burden . . . you've got a typo on your fees page.

LOL

Thank you very much for pointing that out I have fixed it. Damn voice-recognition.:mrgreen:

Your course set up, at first glance, looks odd to me. If I want to study Chinese alone, my only option is the One Month Mandarin course? Any longer than that and I have to take martial arts too? Are you catering for people who want longer than one month of intensive Chinese? You don't seem to have any less intensive options for people who work here and want to study in their free time - given that you are in Chaoyang, I'd think they'd make up a fair part of your potential market.

Odd or focused? You are right; it is a very limited option. This is an area in which I have struggled with a lot when making decisions and doing the planning (about the past two months or so I’ve been working on this almost full-time—hence my absence from the board). The original incarnation of the product offering had many more options. But my operations-manager training came back to mind. For any business, the more SKUs (separate products/services whatever) are added the more complicated the operations of the business become. That is why I really did not like the insinuation of I am just trying to make easy money from some others. You are right it would attract more customers. But I feel it would distract from what I feel I can do best, my core competency. So it is a sacrifice. I’m hoping in the future to maybe adds some more choices, but for the time being I would prefer to pass them along to a good competitor. One thing that I probably will be adding is a part-time instruction for people here in Beijing, that would probably join the martial arts students in their part-time study.

But I really want to be careful about this. I really want to stay focused on an area in the market that I think no one is doing a good job with, and an area that I think I can really adds value to. If I really wanted to make money out offer many choices and do what I call the “book, teacher, classroom” approach as addressed in my “rant” above. I kind of believe in the Jack Welch approach: either be number one or two in your industry or get out of the industry. I could just start a regular school with lots of choices but that would be too easy, and defies the whole purpose of me doing this kind of thing. Furthermore, I would like to stick with beginners or near beginners because that is what I feel I understand. Before I start teaching intermediate and above I feel I should have a good grasp of that. (For this part, I’m considering inviting people to free classes if they are intermediate level or above and are willing to help mold the curriculum—but I don’t want to deliver anything to a customer until it is understood and tested) Furthermore, we all know languages have plateaus, I think I can particularly do a good job getting people past that first one, intent of give people a jumpstart by using a lot of innovative methodologies and technology—and of course priorities in teaching.

I don't like seeing the all-inclusive price - presumably you aren't going to turn people away if they want to arrange their own accommodation, so let them know how much that would cost.

It is listed as an option under the FAQs. But I would prefer that they stay in the accommodation provided because it is an integral part of the planned curriculum. I don’t want to give away too many operational details but I will say this: Everything in the hotel room will be labeled, hotel staff will be paid to practice certain phrases and expressions with the students. For example: this week the students learned A,B & C structures, please use this in your conversation with them. In the future, I actually want to add flatscreen/thin computer monitors tacked onto the ceiling so that students can relax in bed and review their characters through some Chinese learning software.

Furthermore, a lot of the “third-party schools” here make money on the accommodation. Our preferred to just say accommodation is included and then spend a lot of the excess on the computers, PDAs, and software etc. I have been living at Liu Xue Shi Jie Guang Chang. There are students from over 8 schools that live here. It has been my experience that 90 to 95% of the students using a service such as Worldlink, Educasianor or others opt for the full program, and end up paying to three or four times the actual accommodation cost. Instead of making money on accommodation, I include it and then spend the money elsewhere on learning materials.

The below is assuming your prices are in USD, it's not specified on your page.

Yes prices are in US dollars; I will specify that, thank you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For comparison purposes - the IUP program at Qinghua, which seems to be considered to be both damned good and damned expensive, has a 2-month summer program costing $4000, ex. tuition only. Two months with you would cost $7000, inc shared room accommodation and extras.

Well first of all I have to say that I think it is a good program I’ve heard lots of good things about it. However, their pricing only includes tuition and emergency medical insurance.

So with that price it does not include, books, materials, or accommodation. So this is not the actual cost. I’m providing this plus much more.

I’m offering the whole spiel from airport pickup to airport drop off. Everyone here in Beijing knows they can get housing cheap if they’re willing to be here for a long time and in many cases sign a contract. There are many convenient value-added features that many people are willing to pay for.

Price Comparison With Largest "Competitors"

Let’s say for example you wanted to attend a four-week program at WorldLink either at their AFLS or BLCU. The AFLS program intensive (six hours a day) and a double share room would run you: $2940

A four-week program the BLCU with them (nonintensive four hours a day), double share a room: $2610

This is their total program fee which offers many value-added services, all of which I am offering plus more.

This is according to the most recent prices on their web site.

Or go look at what Educasian offers, or PRC Study or a whole host of others.

Cost of Coming to China

For many people, coming over here has a heavy costs and time is of the essence. For a working professional to go back to school for example can cost far more than any price difference. For example, the average starting salary for MBAs in my school was $70,000, more for people that have work experience. My Masters of Accountancy Program (which was ranked number one in the country when I started) the average starting salary is ~$50,000 (no work experience). So if one of these people want to come over here to study, not only do they have the expense to worry about, they also have to consider how much salary they will forgo. (And some people have a family to take care and such (me too: elderly parents are gonna need a lot in a few years so I can't just spend years over here learning hand written characters. Not laziness or impatience as some imply but life priorities).

Not everyone here can be a young student on loans or with help from parents or just blowing cash/growing debt. Likewise for any company sending an employee over, it is even more extreme because of the benefits/taxes factor. So if I can produce results faster, people/companies can actually save money rather than extended studies here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“where's that $3000 difference coming from?”

Well, first of all the IUP price as you stated doesn’t reflect all the costs. There are legitimate reasons for my cost difference though. I’m paying my teachers very well because I’m trying to hold turn-over to a minimum and get a good pool to chose from. Among other things you are also paying for:

  • >a private tutor (not a language exchange partner) two hours a day (again paid above the average because I want to hold them accountable) IUP has 1 hour a day
  • >a PDA
  • >over $800 in software per student
  • >a computer lab that is integrated with the classroom training, (we all know how useful some programs are--Wenlin etc. Imagine if your school had a computer at your desk with all of these programs already loaded on it for you)
  • >this means for every student I have to go out of purchase computers and software stick in front of every student
  • >voice transcription: you use the PDA to record actual situations, your tutor will transcribe a certain amount of it per day for study
  • >six hours of classes a day
  • >outings (accompanied by the teaching staff—kind of a classroom in a van approach)
  • >electives
  • >the value-added services: airport pickup/drop-off, cellphone set up etc. http://www.1monthchinese.com/Chinese_Program_Included.html
  • >writing proprietary materials: for example some of the BLCU books are good (in part: ie grammar) but they have extraneous content that needs to be cut out (a lot of it). Not only do we give them the BLCU book but we will also give them our compiled version that cuts out lots of unnecessary vocabulary and digitizes much of the information so that it can be used with some of the software programs. Also this allows for codified knowledge that can be used to better explain things and passed on: if the explanation in a book is flawed we not just can have the teacher address it but add it to the compiled materials / ppt slides for future use and to ensure that EVERY class has the benefit of a better explanation whether or not the teacher would have forgotten it. So it can spread "best practices" from teacher to teacher.
  • >programming in content (100s of hours worth) into flashcard trainers etc. (yes one could do it themselves—hey I spent at least 100 hours doing just that b/c of trying to teach myself—but most don’t want to or CAN’T spend that much
  • >electives etc.
  • >knowledge: the most priceless thing. I’m trying to replicate the environment of a self learner by taking a lot of the experiences and information I have slowly gathered about which things, products, and services work best (and if they don’t how to improve upon them) and try to employ these things in the classroom.

But basically I tried to take what I thought as the standard for other schools (remember Ilive in a place where have access to students attending more than eight schools—great spying / intelligence gathering) and third-party providers and step it up a notch or two for every item. For example instead of just sending the coordinator (or sometimes just a driver with a sign) to help you at the airport, either a paid teacher or a tutor will be sent to the airport in addition to the driver to pick you up, teaching you such words as Fei Ji Chang, etc from the moment you are on the ground. The goal is to provide as much personal interaction as possible. Because tutors are paid they are expected to go wherever you want them to go. So when you go to the grocery store located close by (which incidentally I am negotiating with them for some kind of compensation scheme for practicing with students) your tutor can go with you to assist you (not do the work for you, but to assist in your learning).

Believe it or not compared to the major “competitors” my profit margins will actually be lower! I’m trying to make a decent profit not an outlandish profit. (example: the hotel I stay in here cost 65 kuai/night but students from some of these providers pay upwards of 240 a night—many don’t know about the cost differences, many have time constraints, or many don’t know enough Chinese to feel that they can get by so they end up paying the middleman, and some people just like to reduce their stress) Instead of making money on accommodation, I charge a little higher but also spend a whole lot more.

And finally of note is that my price is not 7000 for two months. It is 3500 for 1 month. This is a big difference. You can’t just simply multiply the price and say it’s an equal comparison, because there are a lot of one-time costs, for example: software licenses purchased for the student, pda, trips, airport pickup drop off, paperwork, Visa issues, maps, welcome packets, initial cellphone card given to them for free, business cards, welcome and farewell dinners etc… If I offer a longer time frame in the future it will be at a lower rate for the subsequent month (or whatever the remaining time is). I’m not going to pass on the $1000 plus worth of goodies I’m trying to buy for students for every month that they are there, because it is a onetime cost.

But good question. I think this is why most schools give some kind of discount (even if just moderately so) for longer-term students.

Given your location and ethos, I can see you doing well with business customers. But how many of them can take a month out full-time? And how many of the Wudaokou-brand of Chinese students - recent graduates / on a year out - will find your pricing attractive?

How many? I’m not sure how many. But right now I have a capacity of 10 students. In fact I really don’t want to get too much larger. Maybe in the future but not for quite some time. I think too many students too quickly, and I can lose focus or the service level may drop. And that is unacceptable to me. You see this is as much a passion as it is a job for me. (I could earn much more money at a typical job, and this involves considerable risk)

I wish you the best of luck with this, and I'm in agreement with a lot of what you say about current methodology in China. I'm not yet convinced that your course structure is wise though.

Thank you for the well wishing and the validation of some of my thoughts, (I've been feeling a little beat up by the board as of late :mrgreen: )

You are right, the course structure may not be the wisest and it may be my undoing. When making business decisions it is hard not to let the emotion creep in, but this is something I feel passionate about it. So it is something that I want to do right, although it is not the best way to make the most money. But I’m not just doing this for the money. I hope I can affect change in the industry, while making a decent living, doing something that I love.

PS Oh, and as said, get rid of the sound effect. Pet hate.

PPS To clarify: IUP doesn't take entry-level students, so you're not a direct competitor.

  1. You guys are so right! I hate that sound but I don't know how to remove it. I obviously didn't create that (part of open template). Does anyone know where I can find a good piece of flash hopefully for free/open use or modestly priced? Or does anyone know how to disable the sound?
  2. Never fear: This board is for sharing information, and competition can only lead to improved services for the customer. (And besides, I don't have very many direct competitors anyway)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fair enough - I'm not saying you are unjustifiably expensive, because I don't know exactly what you've put into it. However, people are going to look at the price and go 'ouch', and in that kind of situation a breakdown into component parts, showing how much is spent on what, can make it a lot more digestible. Perhaps some kind of 'this is what it would cost to do it all by yourself vs buy the package from us for $XXXX' thing.

You've probably thought of this already, but are you looking at publishing / retailing the materials you are producing? There'd be a market there, I'm sure. I'd also be interested in knowing specifically which software you are purchasing for your students.

Are you working towards any accreditation for your teachers? The main CSL exam in China is run by the 汉办, but I think you'll probably find it teaches a lot of what you are trying to avoid. However, if you can support your teachers through it it's another reason for them to stay with you. There is also this bunch, who as I understand it are closely associated with the Ministry of Education and have recently started CSL teacher training. (汉办, I think, are directly under the State Council, which if my experience with the State Bureau of Foreign Experts is anything to go by, is a license to charge fees for bits of paper which you insist people must have before you'll talk to them. I could have that totally wrong though)

Roddy

PS I'm not going near your website again till that sound goes away

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now, even assuming you can match IUP on education, where's that $3000 difference coming from?
Another way to justify this is to assume that his teaching program would be twice as effective as that from IUP, which would turn out to be still $1000 cheaper. It is, after all, 12 times more effective than programs in US universities (as claimed on the website), how could one even doubt that it wouldn't be twice better than the one from IUP ?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps from an eastern perspective we could say: "Well here we go again, stereotypes galore but yet another impatient American who complains about time is money, is not really interested in Chinese language and culture, just want's to "get down Chinese quickly" so he can communicate his wheeling and dealing dollar business over here."

Fair? No not really, but there you have the other side of the coin.

You don't get it. If you are thinking in term of West vs. East, or business vs. culture, you're way off. It's what works vs. what doesn't.

On the website, yes, the music must go. Just get rid of the flash.

The martial arts component is really out of place. If I'm really serious about learning quickly, want a focused program, and will pay up for it, the fact there is a martial arts offering cheapens the methodology, in my opinion. Also, I don't like the tours. Seems like a waste of time.

I like the Modified Immersion. That's sounds good. Chinese is not really a language one picks up, therefore "full immersion" is a poor approach.

However, congrats on getting it up and going. Looks like a great start!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You don't get it. If you are thinking in term of West vs. East, or business vs. culture, you're way off. It's what works vs. what doesn't.

Agreed. Updating pedagogy to ensure faster, more useful learning of Chinese doesn't mean 'show me the money', it means equipping people with the skills to live and learn here independently - if you like, to live in hutongs rather than understand CCTV documentaries about them. Whether they choose to use the language skills to make money or research mid-Tang dynasty flower-arranging is entirely up to them. Concentrating on language skills rather than cultural knowledge doesn't mean a lack of respect for the culture - it's a matter of priorities. If you have the time for a year long course you can probably afford the time to do both. Many don't though.

Roddy

PS Personally, I think hutongs are overrated. And you should definitely scratch the tour to Sanlitun, what on earth did your students do to deserve that?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there,

I looked at the website and apart from that god awful music it looks nice, although I do agree with much of what Roddy says and that the MA part makes it look more like a non business related audience is being targeted... Definitely cheapens it with gimmicky stuff...

The whole thing for me comes down to price and what my particular tastes are while getting what I am looking for and if your prices are in USD then basically, when I am looking for 4-5 weeks of intensive chinese study (due to time constraints,) you have effectively priced me way out. But then I dont think I am your target here... I do believe in progress and that teaching methods should reflect the best way to teach or help the student learn however I am also a bit traditional in that I believe it takes alot more than reading and speaking skill (in the particular case of foreign langs especially) to communicate... especially in the case of using something like pinyin where by there may be 11 words with the same tone that can only be differentiated with characters and technology may not always be to hand... too many rely absolutely on tech stuff these days and (as has been proved in my wife's work (shes a international investment banker)) when the power fails the younger or more modern people fail too...

TBH you really lost me on the flat screens on the ceiling and the hutong tour after railing against that part of your learning... (but thats something I guess only those who have read your comments would know)... I just cant help feeling that dropping character writing is the lazy way out... you know the quick fix... but for those who only want conversational Mandarin I guess thats not such a bad thing... welcome to the MTV generation part II...

That being said I wish you luck in your endeavour and all the best for the future...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No wonder we don't have more course providers on here. People just queue up to say stuff is too expensive, and don't you know you could get a private tutor for 15Y an hour :mrgreen:

I think it's going to come down to marketing now. If you only have a capacity of 10 students, then the law of averages ensures that the worlds 6 billion people will produces the kind of students you need. It's just a matter of reaching them and persuading them that you are the right choice. To do this, I recommend you spend large amounts of advertising dollars with websites run by people whose names begin with R. It's the only way forward . . .

I don't think dropping character writing is necessarily lazy. It probably was when I did it, because I did have the time to learn how to write, I just never did. However, if you don't have the time, it's a part of the language which can be effectively sidelined or skipped without a major impact on the rest of your skills. It's about priorities, focus, and probably lots of other things I don't have.

Roddy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I don't think dropping character writing is necessarily lazy. It probably was when I did it, because I did have the time to learn how to write, I just never did. However, if you don't have the time, it's a part of the language which can be effectively sidelined or skipped without a major impact on the rest of your skills. It's about priorities, focus, and probably lots of other things I don't have."

Youre probably right about the time constraints thing... like I said I am a bit old fashioned and if you going to to a job then... Its just that I have found characters so much better for understanding the spoken than pinyin... (and this is getting better with the more characters I know and can write)...

Know what you mean about fo.. is that a butterfly... cus and priorities (poor as at the moment I am supposed to be studying for an exam in 2 weeks... doh!!) :mrgreen:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think dropping character writing is necessarily lazy... However, if you don't have the time, it's a part of the language which can be effectively sidelined or skipped without a major impact on the rest of your skills.
I agree with this, Roddy. Dropping character writing was what I myself did too (but I didn't have to pay for doing so :mrgreen: ). However, the scheme in question involves more problems than just that, and on careful inspection, it appears more like a scam feeding on people with money but without the least notion of what it really takes to learn Chinese.

What kind of standard can be guaranteed to be achievable by the average student after 1 month on the course? And is this guarantee based on any empirical or tested results? (Yes, it would sound more reasonable to compare a two-month intensive program within China to a one-year program outside, but one-month is just about enough for some students to recover from jet-lag :mrgreen: )

Of course, as you said it, the law of averages ensures that some will fall into the net. Is this what the scheme really banking on? :mrgreen:

(PS: Just in case someone feels that I'm being a bit too negative. I'm just speaking both as an experienced teacher and student of languages, and I haven't seen any magic formula within the program to enable me to say otherwise).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Self-taughtMBA, you didn't answer any of my points, probably because they were directly opposite to yours and so there was no point. Can I say this: we live in a world of mission statements where companies try to pretend there is a passion that motivates them beyond making money. I can accept your business as an attempt to fleece those with enough money and little knowledge of China or Chinese. From that point of view, I could say: if you can do it, do it, there is one born every minute and so why not try? But then you try to truss it up as an impassioned and deeply felt contribution to humanity, and I must reject that out of hand. It is true there are managerial types who may have earned large sums who may be prepared to spend $1000 a week to learn Chinese from you. And it might even be worth it if you are the best in your field and will definitely fulfil your stated aim of teaching one year of Chinese in a month. You said:

I kind of believe in the Jack Welch approach: either be number one or two in your industry or get out of the industry.

This is the point: there is no evidence you can be the Jack Welch of Chinese langauge learning. You have simply arrived on an MBA and thought, how can I make money out of the Chinese language? The gagedtry doesn't impress me - although it may impress others - but when it comes down to it, you have provided no evidence at all that you are capable of providing the student with one year's worth of Chinese for the price indicated. I did one year of Chinese before arriving in China the first time many years ago, and I believe that one year's worth of Chinese in America may leave the learner with 1000 characters but little communication ability. The moment those students step into China, however, all they have learned is activated in the first two weeks in China and it all falls into place. Those students have therefore learned much more than they could ever do from you in a month.

HashiriKata wrote:

However, the scheme in question involves more problems than just that, and on careful inspection, it appears more like a scam feeding on people with money but without the least notion of what it really takes to learn Chinese.

Yes, I agree. This is capitalism, though, and so if it works, good luck. But let's not pretend there is a high minded mission to improve Chinese-language teaching.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will reply in due time (I hope). There are a lot of people I need to reply to. Furthermore, your posts have an angry tone or inflammatory language in them. Why are you so angry?

I can accept your business as an attempt to fleece those with enough money and little knowledge of China or Chinese.

There are plenty of companies out there that are over charging for things, or are outright scams. You saw me give a brief comparison versus a company that recruits hundreds of students every year. (there’s only a $500 difference between us but look at the difference in specialization, purpose and services provided)

Why the attack on me? You don’t see the owners of other companies out here soliciting feedback do you? Now, I know I asked for at least a little bit because I wanted feedback. But there’s feedback and then there’s just people that seem to want to attack me, and I really don’t feel like getting into a flame-war.

where companies try to pretend there is a passion that motivates them beyond making money

That’s why I write 10 page along rants, because I’m not passionate about it right? With that much time, I could spend it doing real advertising with no criticisms:mrgreen: . I never intended for this thread to turn into an evaluation of my school, but I had to give an update to provide disclosure regardless. I can start another thread in which I will be more than happy to defend my business and allow for even more attacks to come. Or maybe Roddy can split this thread into 2--one for the original purpose and one for the subsequent thread that I intended to start about my school anyway?

You proclaimed to use a $300 piece of software-Wenlin, which I will presume that you purchased. Are you also ranting at them for its high cost? What about some of the other fine products out there like Pleco, (I believe even one of these owners posts to the board)? Please don't tell me you still are one of the ones that says "This CD/book only costs 50 cents to make. Why is it so expensive!?" There's a lot that goes into producing something--as I'm sure you are aware, if you have purchased a piece of software with only a limited (but very specialized and excellent) purpose for $300 .

If a school included programs such as these in the cost of the tuition, are you saying you’re not willing to pay for it?

Anyway, I will try to the address some of your points later but as you can see I have many replies and I’m extremely busy. Cordial replies get my attention first even if they are in disagreement. But I did address some things in the other replies. I may not have quoted you, but I say "Some have said . . ." like in my reply to Roddy.

Oh, yes, and what are you going to do to ensure that all your students have mastered the four tones and have a good pronunciation within one month?

While, I think I’m almost done giving away operational details in a public place because I’m beginning to get suspicious, and it is not good sense, but I will answer this one:

  • 1) Recording and playback of the students practice versus the appropriate pronunciation
  • 2) Some standard listening/repeating exercises (yes some of traditional methodology does work sometimes)
  • 3) Two hours personal, one-on-one tutor everyday (these costs are coming from legitimate reasons)
  • 4) An assistant software program that isolates the finals, initials etc. ..

It will be a struggle, but that is why I’m investing in 2 HOURS of the personal tutor in addition to class, plus additional tutoring available from a teacher if need be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, yes, and what are you going to do to ensure that all your students have mastered the four tones and have a good pronunciation within one month? A good accent in Chinese seems to be something that money cannot buy...

What does learning the four tones have to do with communicating? Actually, I would say the primary reason students speak poorly is because they are drilled the four tones. Think about that.

It is true there are managerial types who may have earned large sums who may be prepared to spend $1000 a week to learn Chinese from you.

I'd pay $10,000 a week if it really worked. Heck, I would pay $1 million if someone could get me to native-level fluency in short amount of time.

I don't know if this is a scam or not, but it doesn't seem that way to me. The real scam is the so-called Chinese language training that all the universities in China dole out. If this guy can do it better, then he deserves to make money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...