Sunday, November 4, 2018


Sun, Nov 4, 2018 at 2:56 PM

Ok, Gang --

I just added 20 new blog entries to my blog, including all of the emails sent to both my Cantonese I and my Mandarin I class so far this fall, as well as a page for my tutoring services that I am about to start offering.

Going forward, for anyone in either class who has missed a lesson or who joins late or who simply wants to review what we have covered so far or during a given 3 week absence for business or whatever, all you need to do is go to my blog, click the menu item for your class (Cantonese I or Mandarin I) and everything for your class so far and for the rest of the academic year will be posted right there, in reverse chronological order, for you to review.

Many thanks to all of my students so far this year. I know that I can be a hard ass about this pronunciation stuff, but before thinking that I am a jerk or contemplating quitting my class, you might want to pause and ask yourself if 6 years of teaching hundreds of hours of ALESN classes as well as substituting for our other teachers and gauging the levels of competencies of their classes throughout the years might, just might, have fueled this idiot teacher Brendan with some actual concrete knowledge as to what works to make a good ALESN Cantonese or Mandarin student -- and what doesn't work and makes someone drop out of our program because they have decided that Chinese is "too hard." Whether I am nice or mean about the process, the same number of students seem to drop out each year because they can't make accurate sounds that would be understandable by a native speaker of Cantonese or Mandarin.

I am trying my best to help you all through a process of tough love. My teaching style is not for everyone, but I have had several students over the years stand up in front of a room of Chinese businesspeople and deliver an entire speech in Mandarin about deal that is being negotiated for their company. I have had other students marry Chinese husbands and wives and have the courage and accuracy of pronunciation allowing them to stand up at their weddings and deliver welcome speeches to guests in Cantonese or Mandarin. I have had many students over the years tell me about interesting and humorous encounters right here in NYC's various Chinatowns at stores, restaurants, on the street, etc. where they either succeeded or failed miserably while attempting to negotiate some type of everyday business or social interaction in Cantonese or Mandarin. The trick to their successes is that they took this very, very seriously -- the need to make proper sounds from day one -- AND they weren't afraid to make hundreds of mistakes along the way until they honed their pronunciation and tones to the point that each new memorized vocabulary item really could become part of their ability to communicate with people in Chinese.

I will share with both classes tomorrow a recent FAILURE of mine, culminating in a last minute save on my part after I calmed down, as I attempted to yell in Mandarin Chinese at a rude idiot on my street last week. The story I tell will hopefully show that I practice what I preach.

Best wishes and see everyone tomorrow night,

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