Studying Mandarin Via Your Objectives

20 May

To learn Mandarin is no walk in the park, but there is a key to making the journey faster and more fun.

The decision to learn Mandarin is full of different options. There are many reasons to study Mandarin, and many ways to do it, there are also many schools in China where you can study the language. I work with Mandarin language courses and in my mind there is only one correct option; to study Mandarin with a school that allows you to study the language in a way that is directly focused on your own personal reasons for wanting to study the language in the first place. I learned Mandarin to work with web design initially, my girlfriend learned it to work in the growing Chinese movie industry, my friend Ralph studied Mandarin so that he could learn Chinese massage. Whatever your reasons are for learning Mandarin there is one way to do it that is easier, faster and more fun than any other.

That way is focus on the section of the language that matter most to you, to focus on the stuff you need personally. I wrote before that I was going to explain something, which makes learning Mandarin easy, fast and more fun. The key to all this is relevance, which is one of the key properties of rapid knowledge acquisition in any field of study, but I think more so in languages. Most fields of learning deal with tools that is used to analyze and understand the world; economics allows us to describe how people make choices relating to resources, cinematography allows us to understand the tools involved in making a film and medicine is the knowledge bank pertaining to health. Languages on the other hand serve no purpose on their own, and we can therefore not be interested in them in the same way, they are rather than being a tool in their own right, a tool to describe other facets of society.

A person chooses to learn about economics because they want to work with finance, a person learns about cinematography to create films and a medicine student is interested in becoming a doctor. A language learner is not necessarily specifically interested in most of the stuff they are learning, unless they find a place to study Mandarin where the content that matters most to them is actually provided.

The reason that relevant language content matters so much is that our brains are super sensitive to the purpose of learning. If our brains are interested in a certain piece of information our mind will latch on to anything that has to do with that golden nugget. Our brain is simply too complicated for us to know why that is, but it is undisputable that teaching and learning something that matters to the student is very easy compared to trying to hammer in knowledge they don’t care all that much about. This makes learning Mandarin through focusing on words that deal with the reason that a student has opted to learn a new language in the first place a gold mine in terms of teaching potential.

But not only does it allow a student to progress quicker, it also allows them to progress in the exact direction of their target. Furthermore, a general curriculum, as opposed to the personal style curriculum we have been talking about here is not nearly as fun. I told you that I learned Mandarin with the very specific goal in mind of working with web design in China. As I felt I was getting closer to that goal everyday the effort that I put into studying really did not feel like effort at all. Learning Mandarin by personal content is simply just a whole lot more interesting and fun.

I spoke before about the nature of language studies compared to other studies such as economics or medicine. A language is ultimately a tool that is used to work with other tools. We should treat it as such when we try to learn a new language.

Rui Ming works for a Mandarin Language School in China that is a great option for those that want to study mandarin, the lingua franca of the growing economic powerhouse. See the program overview page for more information about studying Mandarin in China.

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