1. What “version” of Mandarin are you teaching to adult learner?
I am teaching Standard Contemporary Chinese (现代标准汉语 Xiàndài biāozhǔn hànyǔ) also known as 普通话Pǔtōnghuà or Common Language in China. If you are residing in Singapore, I will also highlight the differences between 普通话 and Singapore Mandarin if there is a need.
2. I understand that the phonology of 普通话 is based on Beijing dialect. Shouldn’t I engage a native Beijinger to teach me Chinese?
I am trained in 普通话, please see my credentials here. As a foreigner, you should engage a teacher who is bilingual in both English and Chinese as he/she will understand your learning issues. There are issues such as code-mixing which a native Chinese speaker might not able to understand. Anyway, the Standard Contemporary Chinese is neutral and devoid of any accent (like those newsreaders you watch on China Central TV, CCTV), and it is not necessary to speak with the Beijing accent.
3. How many learning hours do I need for me to achieve a reasonable standard?
For grades of learning, I follow the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). I will share more during our free trial lesson.
4. Isn’t one-to-one teaching very expensive?
i) Standard classroom course is just too narrowly-focused, it is a one-size-fit-all solution. They start with common conversational topics, require you to memorise the vocabulary and you will soon lose interest in it. Ditto for those Internet learning platforms and self-help books. The problem with learning Mandarin is that it requires a lot of memory commitment and the only way is keep you interested and excited， and sustain your interest and excitement over a long run. A personal teacher will able to look at your learning needs and design a personalised solution to keep your learning flames burning.
ii) Unlike school students, adults are busy with work and family. The content is tailor-made to ensure that you are comfortable during your learning journey. With right-size teaching, you would end up paying less over time.
iii) I am using an e-learning platform (Learning Management System) which is easier to conduct e-teaching and the costs of such systems have come down tremendously. There are tools in LMS that allows for after-class exercises, and it has brought down the one-to-one teaching costs, so it is now becoming more affordable to engage a personal teacher. Also, lesson materials will not be charged.
5. How about learning from language exchange, facebook groups, mobile apps etc?
Such method is unstructured learning, it is like trying to learn driving yourself without proper coaching. They are good tools for you to practice, not when you need a tested and tried method from a teacher like me to help you understand the grammar and the vocabulary structures. You might want to learn the beginner package from me first, then use above tools to practice and once you are confident, we can proceed to intermediate package.