Learning Mandarin Chinese Strategies


Introduction

There are different strategies to learn Chinese language for different kind of learners. With the correct strategies, students who are learning Mandarin Chinese will benefit greatly during the learning process.

Visual Learner

Students who are visual learners often have an artistic side and enjoy activities involving graphic arts and design. In general visual learners learn best when information is presented as an image or graphic form.

Visual Learner strategies to learn Chinese:

Make use of "color coding" when introducing new vocabulary. For example, students can use five colors to represent each tone pronounced in Chinese and keep the color coding system consistent throughout class .

Highlight different characters and their pinyin in textbooks, handouts, and worksheets with a pen in contrasting colors.

Write out sentences and phrases that summarize key information obtained from textbooks and lectures.

Make flashcards of vocabulary words to be memorized. Use different colors of highlighter pens to reinforce tones. Limit the amount of information per card so students can take a mental "picture" of the information. Provide at least one sample sentence illustrating how the word can be used.

Make use of computer software and watch how computers write each character stroke by stroke on the monitor. Also, make use of a computer word processor. Copy key information from notes and textbooks into a computer. Use the print-outs for visual review.

Before an exam, students may make visual reminders of information that must be memorized. Use self-adhesive notes containing key words and concepts and place them in highly visible places, such as on the mirror, notebook, car dashboard, etc.

When introducing new Chinese characters, students can draw symbols or pictures and make a story about them on the notes.

Auditory Learners

Auditory learners learn best when information is presented in an oral language format. They can often hear the information in their mind after it is presented. Auditory learners learn most effectively while interacting in listening/speaking exchanges. An immersion program or study abroad program would probably benefit auditory learners the most.

Auditory Learner strategies to learn Chinese:

When studying, students should speak aloud to aid recall.

Students should record the lectures and review audio recordings outside the classroom.

Use audio recordings of the textbook to aid recall. Students can also create their own audio recordings by reading notes and textbook information into an audio recorder.

Kinesthetic Learners

The kinesthetic learners learn best when physically engaged in a hands-on activity. In the classroom, students can follow a teacher’s writing on the board with their own hands. They benefit from instructors who encourage in-class demonstrations and "hands-on" learning experiences.

Kinesthetic Learner strategies to learn Chinese:

Sit near the front of the room to help stay focused on class lecture and take notes throughout the class period.

Use their hands to gesture the tones in the air. For example, for first tone, move flat across in the air like “ — ” , second tone as “ / ” , third tone as “√” and fourth tone as “ \ ” .

Use their hands to write Chinese characters in the air. Then they copy the new vocabulary several times onto paper to remember the motion for writing Chinese characters.

Make flashcards to learn a sequence of steps. Arrange the cards on a table top to represent the correct sequence. Put Chinese characters, pinyin, or pictures on the flashcards -- anything that students may find helpful to remember the information.

Copy key points onto a chalkboard, white board, or other large writing surface when reviewing new information.

Learn Chinese calligraphy with brushes to practice the strokes.

Find out more about learning Mandarin Chinese, please visit Learn Chinese

Central Academy of Fine Arts
The Sino-British College Shanghai