20 November 2011

Thoughts and Reflections

I finished my first year of Chinese learning at University last week. The final exam was not what I expected, however I will know how and what to learn for the next ones. I did not do as well as I had done on my assignments. I think I was quite anxious before the exam. I knew the vocabulary and grammar quite well. Yet I did not feel that I did my best. Despite the final exam I have had a really productive and enjoyable year of study.

As mentioned in my last post I am fortunate as I am able to go to Xian for three weeks of intensive study. Out of all the macro skills speaking is my poorest ability. Sometimes I feel I am learning in isolation. This is the downside of the distance education language learning course. I am able to teach myself to read, write and listen, but speaking is not possible. I can of coure listen and repeat to course texts and materials. However, in reality I do not feel able to hold a very simple conversation. I have no opportunity to speak with a native speaker. I live in what is a rural and remote area so my choices are very limited. Though I am not proficient in speaking, I am still looking forward to the three weeks of language classes and opportnities to speak.

Right now I am very relaxed about my language learning. I am listening to my Pimsleur Chinese course materials fairly regularly. I occasionally have a look at other resources. I am not pushing myself and I think I am getting better results than I did pre exam. I have an chance now to make some progress in a more relaxed learning environment. Shall keep this up for a few more weeks and see how it works out.  

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