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Any suggestions after having finished ATWTI?

Tomorrow I will finish the ATWTI series. My routine over the last few weeks has been watching 1 ATWTI video every morning, then listening to one of the Newbie audio lessons listed in the Practice tab of the ATWTI video, doing the exercises etc and using the mp3 for both during the day while commuting or exercising.

I would like to continue with a similar pattern combining video and audio lessons. Video is an important psychological boost for my learning. I would love to continue watching videos with Fiona.

Any suggestions?

Thanks a lot in advance

Hi MayHaNN,

If you’ve gone through the ATWTI series, then you should be able to move freely anywhere in the Newbie level. How many Newbie lessons have you finished? Do you mark them “Studied” after you’re done? If so, on your dashboard you can see the number by hovering your cursor over the blue “Newbie” column in the “Progress” box. ChinesePod recommends doing 50 Newbie lessons before moving up to Elementary, but that was unrealistic for me. How many you need to do depends on a lot of factors. (Living in a Chinese-speaking country? In Chinese school? Under 25 years old?)

Apart from ATWTI, not many Newbie video lessons were done. If you really want to push yourself, you could jump up to Elementary and exposure yourself to higher-level Chinese, then jump back down to a Newbie audio lesson. Actually, I think that kind of variety of difficulty could be really good for you.

My first undergrad degree was in video, so I do understand the desire for a visual element. One of the most valuable lessons for me early on in my Chinese learning was being weaned from all visual aids when I was doing Pimsleur lessons 1 through 60. It was quite painful initially, but learning the skill of depending only on my ears has proven extremely valuable.

As far as choosing lessons, honestly, what I do is pick a time frame when the lessons that were coming out were a lot of fun, and bookmark a bunch of them. Most of my favorite Newbie lessons came out between 2008 and 2010.

Go to the Dashboard, on the left side click “More,” then “Library List.” filter by “Newbie” and “Date Ascending.” For me, 2008 starts around page 10 or 12. Just start bookmarking ones that might be interesting!

Here are just a few not to miss:

Turn on the Light
Do you have…?
Hot Soup

Hi Ewilc773, and thanks a lot for the very useful suggestions.

It is a bit paradoxical that I feel uncomfortable with the lack of a pathway, since in other cases, when I did have one, I was always being rebellious about it and doing things my own way. I guess what bothers me is that I want to have a very clear idea in the morning when I study with CP of what I am going to do, and wasting time trying to decide (besides, as we discussed in other posts, wasting time with the dowloading and organizing) makes me a bit restless.

Anyhow, today I decided to watch my first video in the intermediate category (a qing wen one) and it was not too bad. Too difficult though to listen to it in my mp3 without a text aid; for that, I will continue using audio lessons from the newbie set, starting with the oldest ones as you suggest.

:joy: We are rather paradoxical, aren’t we!

What I did at the Newbie through Intermediate levels was spend some time on a Saturday morning and plan out a month or two of lessons by bookmarking. So, when it was time to do a new lesson, I’d go to “My Self Study,” then go to the last lesson on the last page, and do that one.

My study planning has gradually become more elaborate over the years, and I’m now fully scheduled out more than two years in advance! So it will be 2020 before I start seriously looking at anything coming out this week.

I enjoyed the planning process, and found that it kept me more motivated to follow the plan. When someone else hands me a plan, I may or may not actually do it. But when I spend some of my own time working it out, then I feel like I just can’t waste that effort by not following through.

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Hi ewilc773, Thanks for your contributions on this topic. I’m finding your suggestions really helpful. I would like to ask a few further questions: How do you study a lesson? What to you means that you have “studied” a lesson? How do you move into using the material that you have studied in conversation with a native speaker? It would be great if other CPoders were to share as well!
I am asking because my progress has been very scattered. I have not felt confident at all when trying to speak with native speakers. Although they say my pronunciation is clear, I can’t just speak out and feel I need some framework to structure conversations. I am at an elementary moving into intermediate level.

Ewilc, I liked your idea of setting aside some time for planning and so tonight I have spent a little time in deciding a strategy for the next few weeks. I post it here in case it might help someone:

Each day I will watch one of the Elementary Qing Wen videos, starting by the older ones because I enjoy very much the way Fiona and G explain things. Then I will click on the tab which I find more relevant for that lesson, and choose a couple of newbie audio lessons to study from those that appear in the search.

Dorothy, although I am only a beginner and your question was addressed to Ewilc, here is what I mean by “study” in case it might help:

I listen to the lesson a first time, using the cursor to highlight the new words as they speak and trying to devise mnemos for them which I write down. I then listen to the audio review and try to speak out loud each word before the speaker. Then, I go to the expansion, listen to each sentence three times, one with English and pinyin, one without pinyin and one with just characters, and try to translate. I then do the exercises twice, one with pinyin and one with characters. This takes me about 20 minutes.

I put 1 copy of the show, and 3 copies each of the dialogue and the vocabulary review in my mp3 player, and listen to them a couple of days later, while exercising or commuting. A couple of weeks lated I go back to the same lesson in this way. This is a very important element of my learning process, since I find that spaced repetition really helps consolidate learning, and in my case, combining it with movement is very effective.

Hi Dorothy,

I’ve been thinking a lot about your questions, and I have some short answers and some long answers.

When have I “studied” a lesson? Short answer: I push the “Studied” button after I finish the Exercises tab. Longer answer: I’ve been working on a series of screencasts (one for each level) on “How I Use ChinesePod.” I’ll try to get back on the ball and get these out! I’ll try to remember to post them here as I finish them.

As for scattered progress and lack of framework in conversations - that does sound a lot like elementary moving into intermediate.

Do you ever watch Doctor Who? There’s an episode called “Heaven Sent” where the Doctor breaks through an impenetrable wall by punching it over and over and over for billions of years. I feel like that’s pretty much the approach I take when making progress conversing with native speakers.

The frustrations you’ve described reflect, not only elementary moving into intermediate, but what I’ve often felt from the beginning up until today. I’ve found that the biggest factor controlling the frustration level is the skill of the person I’m talking to. Sometimes I find native speakers who know how to draw out non-native learners and create a constructive learning situation, and sometimes I find native speakers who have no clue.

In what situation do you talk to native speakers? Class? Tutors? Random strangers on the street?

Something I’ve been doing the lately since I don’t live in a Chinese-speaking country any more is work with tutors online. I rotate through them on a regular basis, giving myself lots of opportunities to work through the communication frustrations with lots of new teachers. I’ve worked with nearly 30 tutors this year, and I’ve only kept one of them long-term.

I’ll give some more thought to this and try to write more later.

Also, like I said above, my scheduling has become more and more elaborate over the years. Here is my completely ridiculous tutor study schedule for December. I do 2 new lessons a week, each lesson 4 times.

For example, on November 28, I studied 理财 for the first time with Jane. Then I studied it again with Mercedes on December 3rd. Then I’ll study it again with James on January 1st. Then I’ll study it again on April 29 with Selina. Depending on my level in the future, my intention is to then go through these lessons again two years from now.

That’s far more than I would do with lower-level lessons, because the Advanced lessons are just so packed with so much stuff.

Here’s my routine with Selina (4th time with a lesson):

  • I first read the text to her, and ask questions. I often ask the same questions I asked of previous teachers, and I get different reactions.
  • Second, she quizzes me over the vocabulary (just like the “Vocabulary Review” on ChinesePod). We’ll talk about any words that give me trouble. I’ll often ask her to tell me which words she thinks are commonly used, and in what kinds of situations.
  • Third, I read the Expansion Sentences to her, and ask questions.
  • Finally, as we’re going through the Expansion Sentences, I also work at making my own sentences with those key words.

Advanced lessons are packed with so many words that there’s no way we can cover them in 30 minutes, so really the focus is on those words used in the Expansion Sentences, plus any words my tutor wants to emphasize. I see the rest of the words as there more for exposure rather than use.

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Thanks to ewilc773 and MayHaNN for sharing what you do to learn from CP. Your organisational skills, ewilc773, are certainly impressive! What I need is to make a constructive plan and to carry it out. Both of you have given me some great ideas. I’ll get started in a small way and build from there.

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Hi again ewilc773,

How do you get the colour-code system on your calendar? Do you use the normal Apple calendar or is it another app?

I did it with the normal Apple calendar. Here’s a video.

Many thanks, Elijah!