Wednesday, September 27, 2017

ALESN Mandarin I Course Description for Brendan's 2017-2018 Academic year Thursday Night Class

Mandarin I  
Thursdays 6 - 7:30 pm 
Instructor: Brendan

This is an absolute beginner, from scratch, "This is Mandarin Chinese" intro language class. This will be my third year teaching this class for ALESN. I welcome new students as well as returning students, but I need any returning students to understand that I will be brutally hard on you this year and encourage you to quit my class immediately if you cannot already speak acceptable basic Mandarin as a result of taking whichever ALESN Mandarin classes you may have taken in the past.

This class will be fun, but difficult, and I am not going to hold anyone's hand this year. We have many new students to ALESN with a keen desire to learn Mandarin; I do not wish to waste time this year fixing major pronunciation problems for returning students. If you tried last year and for whatever reason were unable to speak convincing basic Mandarin at the end of the academic year, maybe Chinese is not for you. Please consider not signing up for my class this year before you take a spot away from a brand new student with a brand new desire to learn Chinese. Thanks in advance.

Unlike past years, my focus as a teacher this year will be accurate pronunciation and tones at the cost of all else. My single-minded goal for everything that I teach this year will be to have my students all eventually speak intelligible Mandarin, OR QUIT MY CLASS BECAUSE YOU DETERMINE THAT YOU CANNOT PUT IN ADEQUATE TIME OR EFFORT TO DO SO. By this, I mean that if you take this class and succeed in accomplishing this goal, you will be able to initiate and participate in brief conversations with native speakers who do not already know you, and you will be understood at a very basic level when saying hello, or introducing yourself, or asking for the time, or asking where the bathroom is located. If you put in the time and effort, you will also be able to understand a small portion of the Mandarin Chinese spoken back to you before and after you speak.

I intend to proceed at a slightly faster pace than last year. My goal is to cover the first 8 lessons of our 10 lesson textbook. Last year, I covered up to Lesson 7 Dialogue 2.

Our textbook this year will be the same for all ALESN Beginning Mandarin sections: 

Integrated Chinese Third Edition Textbook, Level 1 Part 1, your choice of Traditional or Simplified Characters.

 We are teaching from the THIRD EDITION TEXTBOOK -- not the second edition or the workbook or the character workbook or any of a number of other resources by the same publisher. If you don't know what this means, look it up.

This is a very popular college and university textbook and is quite expensive -- even used on Amazon. I have owned both the Simplified and Traditional Characters Versions over the years and I think used copies usually run between $25 and $40. I believe that a brand new copy at Barnes and Noble, which usually stocks or can order this for you, costs around $70. There are also multiple PDF versions of this book available online, though this is NOT a public domain textbook, so I will NOT be the one to provide my students with download links. 30 seconds on Google and half a brain can get you a free PDF copy of this book if you feel the need to go that route.

Once accepted to my class, please download or purchase this textbook or borrow and copy the intro pronunciation and tones lesson pages (the roman numeral pages prior to Lesson 1) and bring these pages to your first class; we will jump right into the material after brief introductions.

Thanks for your interest in my class, and I look forward to teaching you this year!

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