Mandarin tutors or schools in Taipei
March 9, 2020 6:21 PM   Subscribe

we're looking for an enthusiastic, engaging Mandarin teacher or school in Taipei for beginners. Any recommendations?

We're hoping to find private lessons with a teacher or at a small school where they have a flexible, engaging approach to language learning, and encourage playing with the language and adapting to our interests instead of rigidly going through a textbook chapter by chapter. Around Da'an/ CKS memorial/Guting etc, or quickly accessible by MRT. We are beginners.

We've tried out private lessons at a well-known language school, but they are very regimented and textbook-oriented, with little use of other resources and a lot of repeating sentences in a chorus. Even the teachers are expected to be interchangeable as they are all supposed to use the same (poor quality) textbook and work through its exercises rather than taking a more organic approach.

Maybe that's just how Mandarin is taught to English-speakers but it's not terribly engaging, nor does it feel like value for money to take private lessons. I much preferred the more playful, conversational and responsive approach that my Spanish teachers in Latin America used so I'd like to explore alternatives for Mandarin if any exist here in Taipei.
posted by tavegyl to Writing & Language (2 answers total)
Best answer: Hi fellow Taiwan expat! I'm curious if the well-known language school was the Mandarin Training Center at NTNU? If not, I'd recommend you look into taking classes there. My husband has been a full-time student at the Chinese Language Center at a different university, but all of his textbooks are pubulished by the MTC. I've read them over myself sometimes, because they offer a lot of interesting cultural context (in English) about Taiwan.

I haven't taken classes myself, and the MTC is likely different from his program, but according to my husband, his beginner level classes used a textbook but didn't rely on it too heavily. They did a lot of conversation exercises, games, and some field trips (like going to a tea shop to learn how to order) and teachers used realia (eating and learning about traditional breakfast foods). He got a lot out of regular classes, as opposed to private lessons, because he was able to practice his Mandarin with his classmates socially (most of his classmates don't speak English; that's probably less likely in Taipei). As a full-time student, he's able to take elective courses that are topical and not based on textbooks. He says some classmates only took core classes 10 hours a week and did not take electives. It looks like the MTC offers short-term options as well, so you could do a 3-week course to start with. The MTC is on the Da'An campus.

The other thing I'd recommend is looking for Taipei language exchange groups on Facebook. There are tons of people who want to practice English and who will help you with Mandarin. Also, if you want to get a head start on learning to read Chinese, consider learning Zhuyin, or bopomofo. A lot of people here use it to input text on phones and keyboards, and I find it much easier to use than pinyin.
posted by LakeLimner at 11:18 PM on March 9, 2020

Response by poster: Thanks, LakeLimner. That is very helpful.

It's not the Mandarin Training Centre, so I'll take a look at their course offering, What you are describing sounds much more interesting than what we're currently experiencing. Thank you!
posted by tavegyl at 1:58 AM on March 11, 2020

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