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Hanbridge Mandarin: Stepping Stones to Fluency
Hanbridge Opens the Door
My children have been working with a private Mandarin tutor for many years, each beginning when they were just five years old. Working with a native speaker is critical to learning a tonal language like Chinese, especially living in a rural area of the United States and not having the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the culture.
I was recently contacted by a Hanbridge Mandarin representative through my blog and asked if I would be interested in reviewing their course material. They provided us with two trial lessons (one for myself as a beginner and one for my daughter) as well as monetary compensation for my time in writing this review. I was not required to provide a positive review.
Our First Class
I communicated with the representative via email our schedule availability and a time was set for our lesson. Hanbridge headquarters are located in Shenzhen, China so they are 15 hours ahead of us in the western region of the United States. We thereby selected a time that was convenient for both the instructor and us - 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time (10:00 a.m. in China).
Just prior to our scheduled lesson, I logged into the virtual classroom and we were underway. The virtual classroom is very similar to Skype - providing both video and text chat capabilities. An added bonus, however, was an additional screen with which the instructor was able to share photos and other visual aides. I loved that she was able to write on this screen much like a teacher may have done in a real classroom on the overhead project or more modern smart board.
A book holds a house of gold.
shū zhōng zì yǒu huángjīn wū 。
Many Courses to Choose From
I love the variety of courses that Hanbridge Mandarin offers language learners. Whether you are interested in improving your conversational skills, working on tones, developing your ability to read Chinese characters, or simply learning about the Chinese culture, you will undoubtedly find a course suited to your interests and skill level.
Chinese Culture Courses
Practice Builds Fluency
How Long Have You Been Studying Mandarin?
Courses for Beginners
While I know a few key phrases and even a couple of slang terms, I am most assuredly a beginner. I also know that I do not have the time nor the desire to learn all the characters. I am, however, very interested in learning to communicate in Mandarin.
I would love to be able to speak coherently with my children and to understand what others say. The language and culture fascinate me.
I thereby requested a beginners class focusing primarily on conversational skills. Sasha was eager to accommodate me and I was delighted to learn several new phrases, including good evening (Wǎnshàng hǎo 晚上好).
Courses for Advanced Learners
My daughter has been studying Mandarin since she was just five years old. We have been working with the same tutor for the past five years and she has made remarkable growth in her her reading, writing, and conversational skills. More importantly, she has developed confidence and is now comfortable speaking with native speakers in social situations.
In preparation for her lesson with Sasha, we requested to cover a topic in more depth. Our instructor suggested food which I thought was a great way to begin getting to know one another.
Sasha was impressed with her vocabulary - many of the words she planned to teach she already knew. They thereby spent the class time discussing their favorites and using the vocabulary in conversation.
It was clear that Sasha loves teaching and has a passion for working with language learners.
What Students Are Saying
All Hanbridge Mandarin instructors are accredited language teachers, native speakers of their instructors are committed to and enthusiastic about teaching and have a passion to help people learn to speak Mandarin and learn about Chinese culture.
I was very impressed with our Sasha's ability to adapt her lesson to suit my prior knowledge. I had requested a lesson for beginners with an emphasis on conversational skills. As our lesson got underway, Sasha was able to quickly make modifications to her original lesson plan after discovering what vocabulary I already knew. She was also able to recognize areas I needed to work on (my tones) and take time to address those needs.