Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Learning Mandarin

I just received an SMS report from Caitlin's Mandarin teacher:
She can read 9 cards of 'body parts', 8 cards of 'family members', now proceeding to 9 cards of 'action' words. Total learned: 26 words this month.

Caitlin just started Mandarin classes a month ago. The method used by her teacher is by way of flash cards, recognising and memorising whole Chinese characters. This method apparently, is better than the traditional one where one learns the strokes after which, the strokes are then combined to form the characters/words. The latter method is still being used by some and unfortunately, that is how Mandarin is taught at her kindergarten.

Compared to one year's learning at her kindy where she has learnt probably about 10 words so far, the flash card method appears far better, having taught her 26 words in just one month.

Anyone out there with comments on the flash card/memory method? Since I'm new to this (and not able to read more than 5 words of Mandarin!) do you think Caitlin's progress is good for starters?

I hope to be able to meet her teacher tomorrow to find out more. Her teacher is home-based with a language teaching franchise business. As such, her fees are lower compared to full-fledged children's language centres such as 'Bao Bei' or 'Skylace', which are more established and expensive. They however do have their plus points such as properly set up classrooms, more fun and entertaining programmes like singing, poetry and games to aid learning.

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