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Zhe W, who teaches Mandarin, has some interesting techniques she uses in lessons to help her students learn. Today, she shares a few with us.

‘Tips from our teachers’ is a regular series we run on our blog where we ask our teachers to shares tips and advice on improving their language skills

Label things in your house and learn some new vocabulary

This is a quick and cheap way of improving your knowledge of the vocabulary of everyday items in your home. Listening to music and trying to map the different words used is another great idea. Finally, if you really want a challenge, change the language setting on Facebook or your smartphone and try to live with it.

Talk to a native speaker, or even talk to yourself

The trick here is to learn to think in Mandarin, not to translate from your native language to Mandarin. It’s also a good idea to use an online dictionary, as they often have audio examples so you can check your pronunciation. Download one on your smartphone and practice whenever you get a spare moment.

Find your favourite TV show and act it out

This is a great way to practice pronunciation because you only need to concentrate on making sure your spoken language sounds great and don’t need to worry about sentence structure or grammar. Learning to sing songs is also an effective way to focus on the pronunciation of words and the rhythm and flow of the language.

Observe native speaker’s facial movements and body language

And learn to mimic what you see – arm and shoulder movements are intimately related to the persona that you’re developing in your target language. Also pay attention to their voices when they interact, especially at key social moments, such as introductions or meeting friends.


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