Where can I learn to speak Mandarin - A Guy Tai responds

Learn Chinese, Shanghai, China

A couple years ago, I took two (@CNY11K) every-weekday-for-12-week courses from Miracle Mandarin (the Fuxing Lu / Shaanxi Lu facility in Puxi and loved it.

Each day was an hour of each of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. They moved fast and forced you to learn/use it quickly. It was "modular" in that you could choose to do either the read/write, or the listen/speak, or both (the two were taught by different teachers). Classes were "up to 9 students," although most of the time it was actually 6-7, which seemed like "just about right"--everyone expected to participate a lot, but with time to think/absorb while others are called upon. The first two weeks were pinyin and then it moved on to hanzi. Most of the learners were really students--recent university grads from mature-economy countries using the MM-provided student visa to search for a job. MM is one of at least a half-dozen private providers of such courses--Mandarin Center, ACLS, Red Carpet Mandarin, etc.

I know some folks who've taken analogous courses from one of the local universities (many offer them--Fudan, Donghua, Jiaotong, etc.) and said they were larger (up to 25 students), thus had less personal attention, and cost a bit less. I found (paradoxically) that the class made you learn faster than individual instruction (because you couldn't dawdle).

Among the tutor-offering companies, Mandarin House seems to specialise in the "tell us what you need, where you need it, when you need it, and we'll provide it for a fee."


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