The first step is to build a strong foundation by learning pronunciation and basic sentence structures. Sentence structures are important because they can be entirely different from English. At HSK1, I prioritise familiarising students with pronunciation and structures over building the quantity of their vocabulary.
I explain a lot of these concepts in English, in order for students to comprehend the course content easier. Course content is aligned closely to real-life examples so students can immediately apply it in their daily life. After ~10 weeks, students can expect to engage in basic conversation. Students typically feel a sense of achievement given the progress made.
HSK2 is where I slowly introduce more vocabulary while the sentence structures remain largely the same as HSK1. Students will focus on expanding their vocabulary and incorporating them smoothly into sentences. They will be able to look at a word and know how is pronounced. Different and more complex conversational topics will also be introduced.
At HSK2, students will begin to use Pleco (recommended Chinese dictionary APP) to look up words and learn how to use them correctly in sentences. This is where students start developing an understanding of 汉字 (Hanzi-Chinese characters). Here, I will also introduce relevant aspects of each character. However, for this level, student's main goal is more to “observe”.
A tip I find effective is for students to type Chinese characters on their computer or phone. These exercises will help students consolidate their pinyin spelling and build up their Chinese characters' recognition ability. At the end of HSK2, students will be able to have much richer conversations and will feel a greater sense of achievement.
Once students reach HSK3, I’ll increase the difficulty of Chinese grammar. Students will participate in role-playing to develop their conversational skills. This will train them to listen to each other and extract key information from each other’s sentences/questions while figuring out how to respond. This is where we see conversational ability improving rapidly from level 3 onwards. Further, I introduce similar Chinese characters for comparison, demonstrating that Hanzi is not as complex nor difficult as it appears to be.
At HSK4, the form of conversation becomes less reliant on role-playing. Instead, in-class conversations will focus on the ability to express one’s views. I feel it is important for students to preserve their creative thinking abilities in the course of learning a second language. Rather than simply memorising fixed responses from textbooks, I much rather students have the freedom of thought to express their own responses...in Chinese.
For my advanced classes, self-expression and the ability to articulate becomes the main form of conversational practice. To train students to develop a clear and concise flow of logic, we build conjunctions into their sentences. When it comes to reading and comprehension, I teach students techniques to read fast within a limited time while maintaining comprehension. This way, students will be able to quickly absorb information from reading materials such as news, rather than getting caught up in trying to slowly figure out what is going on.
In these advanced classes, I will expand students’ vocabulary of current topical areas and help students achieve a higher level of fluency and natural expression. I also progressively introduce Chinese idioms. Students can use these idioms to broaden and increase the richness of their vocabulary.
We help you keep up with the coursework and learning by providing options to make up for missed lessons, for follow-up questions, practice and revision. Complimentary tutoring is available to all enrolled students, and we provide audio recordings for each lesson.
We have small class sizes where each student gets focused attention and is able to ask questions, express their views and share experiences.
Classes are taught based on the accredited syllabus produced and recognised by the Confucius Institute in China. Following the HSK curriculum, students can achieve their learning objectives systematically and effectively.
We can guarantee to achieve your learning objectives if you work closely with your teacher.