Capn's Blog

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Classroom study on hold

Even though I want to learn Chinese so much, after a lot of soul searching, I have decided that I won't continue studying Chinese at university this year.

While I'm comfortable with some aspects of learning Chinese (especially vocab), I feel that I am falling further and further behind in all the other areas. In particular, I feel very inadequate in the areas of speaking and listening, and the gap between me and my classmates is only increasing.

As a result of student feedback, this year's course has much more interaction than last year, and I think Jiang laoshi's instruction using only Chinese is very good. But I think that unless I can find a solution to this problem of really using Chinese, further classroom study will not help me.

I need to find a way to use Chinese every day, not just learn in a classroom. I need to start living what we are learning, not just keep studying as an academic exercise.

If I can develop some firm foundations, I will be ready for more classroom study. Otherwise, class will just become more and more painful.

There will be a few things I'll miss. In particular, Yao laoshi's teaching. Classes with him are always fun and rewarding. His willingness to answer questions made all the difference last year, and his responses are always thoughtful and easy to understand. That helped me greatly in knowing how to use words.

This is a very hard decision for me to make. I don't like to give up, and my desire to learn Chinese is as strong as ever. But I need to find a way that is effective for me.

I have no idea of what that way is, and I'm so depressed about the whole thing that I'm getting depressed about being depressed. If anyone has advice (apart from the banal "加油!" or "should watch movies"), I would gladly receive it.


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