“Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself” – Chinese Proverb
With over 955 million native speakers, Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world. Spoken in China, Taiwan, and Singapore, Chinese is the language for those who want an international business career.
So why not get started today?
Private tutorials can help you learn to speak Chinese fluently. Keep in mind that for the purpose of simplicity, when we say Chinese, we mean Chinese Mandarin and not the other Chinese languages such as Cantonese or Wu, for example.
Learning Chinese isn’t very common. Most students learn French, Spanish, German, or Italian. That said, this was the first year where more students decided to learn Mandarin than German at A Level!
However, being able to speak Chinese is a huge advantage if you want a business career or just to travel and learn more about Chinese culture.
Notice boards are still a really useful way to find private tutors. (Source: Pexels)
Getting a private Chinese tutor who lives near you might be the perfect solution.
But how do you find one?
The tried-and-tested method is to have a look at the classified ads on notice boards in local businesses. While these have become less common in the internet age, they still exist.
You can find out a little bit about the lessons they offer (Mandarin for beginners, private tutorials, intensive courses, etc.) and get a contact telephone number for them.
Word of mouth also works really well when it comes to finding private tutors. Talk to a few friends and your family and you’ll soon find someone.
Going online and searching on social media is another great way to find people. This system is very effective because word spreads very quickly on the internet. You can also have a look for tutors by using search engines like Google.
You’ll come across platforms like Superprof. These platforms help students get in touch with suitable private Chinese tutors. You just need to have a look at their profiles and choose your favourites.
How can you be sure you’ve chosen the right tutor as soon as you start your Chinese lessons?
You need to get on well with them and be left wanting to learn more about Chinese and to progress.
Everyone’s had a teacher that’s helped them fall in love with a subject. This is essential when it comes to learning languages.
Learning Chinese is far less stressful with a private tutor! (Source: JESHOOTScom)
In order to find the perfect tutor, you need to spend some time thinking about exactly what you want so that you can find the profile that corresponds to your wants and needs. Your reasons for learning Chinese can be professional or personal (travelling to China, learning about the culture, etc.).
Would you like to learn a lot about Chinese culture or focus on the technical aspects of the Chinese language (Chinese grammar, pronouns, numbers, adjectives, tenses, etc.)?
You can learn how to introduce yourself, have a simple conversation, and ask for directions after just a few lessons with a private tutor.
There are plenty of different types of tutors when it comes to private tutorials. They might be students, retired teachers, or native Chinese speakers. The latter can be really useful if you need to focus on your pronunciation and accent.
In any case, make sure you talk to any potential tutor before getting lessons with them. A lot of the tutors on Superprof offer free tuition for the first hour so you can work out the details of your lessons and see whether you get along or not. Make the most of this!
There are plenty of advantages to getting private tutorials, regardless of what you’re learning. Academic support isn’t the only reason to get private tutorials. A lot of people use private tutorials to learn a new skill or do something enjoyable.
Your tutor can also help you see China in a different way. (Source: bartwrite)
Private Chinese tutorials allow you to progress at your own pace. You don’t need to worry about keeping up with the rest of the group or being held back by them. If you want to take your time going over something because you haven’t understood it, you can whenever you want. For example, if you’re interested in Chinese speaking tutorials, your language learning can focus on the conversational aspects and speaking Chinese rather than getting bogged down with really dry grammar rules.
Furthermore, you get to choose when and how often you have your private tutorials. If you’re really busy, you and your private Chinese tutor can work out a schedule that works for both of you.
You’ll also get tailored feedback with a private Chinese tutor. This can help you progress more quickly.
If you’re more interested in a certain topic, you and your tutor can focus on that. Whether it’s Chinese calligraphy, learning Pinyin, Chinese characters, speaking, translation, pronunciation, or listening, you can choose exactly what you want to learn.
The cost is going to be an important thing to consider when learning Mandarin with private tutorials.
Travelling to China can also help you learn Mandarin pretty quickly. (Source: Jing)
You’re going to have to invest in textbooks or pay a private tutor (or both). You need to know that your tutor also has to prepare your tutorials. This time will be factored into their hourly rate. As private tutors are self-employed, they also need to budget for any other expenditures involved in helping you learn Mandarin Chinese. The amount you pay doesn’t go directly into their pocket.
You need to know that the rates will change according to your tutor’s experience and qualifications. If you’re a beginner and just getting started with Chinese, you could opt for a student to help you learn the basics. Their rates will be lower than a retired Chinese lecturer or native speaker. Even though they’re also a learner, if they’re better at Chinese than you, they can teach you!
However, if you need to focus on Chinese pronunciation or a particular dialect, you’re going to need to invest in a native speaker or maybe even immersion!
You also need to consider the type of tutorial and where it takes place. On Superprof, the average cost of Chinese tutorials in London is £23 per hour. However, that means that there are tutors charging more and less than this figure.
Private Chinese tutorials might seem quite expensive at first glance. You need to consider whether you’ll progress more quickly with a private Chinese tutor or by attending Chinese classes in a private language school. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your tutorials.
Having a private tutor for learning Chinese is a great way to quickly advance. However, you have to be honest with your tutor. Don’t hesitate to talk to them if you’re having difficulties or have any doubts about the tones, certain phrases, or how to put together a sentence in your new language. Since you’re not in a group class, you can basically ask whatever you want. There are no stupid questions.
It’s pointless spending hours studying something you’re already good at. To get the most out of each hour of Chinese tuition, work on what you find difficult with your tutor and try to structure your course around this.
To make quick progress, you’ll need to work outside of your tutorials and study for your next session. Don’t wait until your next tutorial to do some work. Go back over your previous tutorial, look at the exercises you did in class, or ask your tutor for homework to be getting on with.
If you’re going to speak Chinese, you’re going to have to practise it.
But with whom?
Talk to your tutor, of course. Ask them if you can spend a certain part of the tutorial speaking in Chinese.
You can also find someone to practise speaking with at language exchanges.
Why not travel to China?
This is a great way to motivate yourself. Having a conversation in Chinese is a great way to improve your pronunciation over time.
To learn Chinese, you have to have fun. Watch Chinese films or read Chinese books. Music is also a great way to improve your listening skills.
It’s difficult to give a single answer to this question as it depends on the tutor and the student. There are a lot of criteria to consider when estimating how quickly a student will learn in private tutorials.
Firstly, it’ll depend on your motivation. Those who are more motivated will spend longer studying Chinese characters and watching films and series in Chinese. They’ll be passionate about doing it, too.
On the other hand, others may see Chinese as a new skill they have to learn without really wanting to become fluent in the languages. If you don’t study between tutorials, your progress will be slower.
You also need to consider how much free time you have and how you can juggle your profession, family life, studying Chinese characters and vocabulary, etc. Furthermore, some people are really gifted when it comes to learning foreign languages. These people will make quick progress. It all depends on the type of person and their motivation.
Don’t forget that if you can’t find any tutors near where you live, you can always learn Chinese online. Thanks to the internet and video conferencing, you can arrange tutorials over Skype, for example, and a tutor anywhere in the world can teach you how to speak and write Chinese phrases, for example, at any time of the day.
This is also a great option for those that work irregular hours or need to study at very specific times of the day as you can turn your study into a classroom for a few hours a week.