There are a lot of language courses available, and it can be difficult to find the information you need to choose. Of course, they all claim to be the best, and without knowing someone who has already attended, there’s no real way to know what to expect. Even knowing someone who has taken the course you’re considering doesn’t guarantee that it will be the right one for you.
There are many options, depending on your goals for study, how you learn best, and how far you want to go. If you don’t know these things, any course will do. Practically speaking, however, the only way to know whether a course will suit you is to try it. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a course:
1. Level of learning - It’s important to know whether the course fits with what you want to learn. How intensive is the course? If you are serious about learning Chinese and really hope to become fluent as quickly as you can, you may be frustrated taking a class with people who simply want to learn a few phrases or just study a couple evenings a week.
2. Contact hours - You can find courses that are really cheap and offer large classes a couple of times a week, while others offer individualized lessons with a tutor. You get what you pay for, but if you are planning a trip to China, you can get extra tutoring yourself, usually for much less than a school is going to charge. Some tutors even work online via Skype, even if you aren’t in China.
3. Student/teacher ratio - Classes with more students are certainly less expensive, but fewer students means you will get more and better feedback from the instructor. Classes that have no more than five students are best; six to nine students is manageable. More than that, and you may not get the instruction you need to learn the language as well as you’d like, and you might find yourself hiring a tutor to fill in gaps.
4. Difficulty - It can be hard to tell how hard the course and the learning material will be before you get started. Taking more difficult courses will speed your learning, but only if you have the time to devote to it. Otherwise, you may find yourself frustrated. If you get started and you feel like you can handle more, see if it is possible to move up. If you do, you will likely struggle to keep up with your classmates, but you will learn the language so much faster than you would staying in an easier class.
5. Preferences - As important as these other factors are, don’t discount your own personal preferences. A program that is a perfect fit in all the previous factors may still not be the best match for you. Ask around, talk to people who have taken courses you are considering and get their input. Ultimately, only you can decide which course is right for you. If you aren’t absolutely sure about a course, find out whether and how much of your tuition is refundable if you don’t like it.
A post by : Learn Mandarin Now