Inspiring teenager excels in learning Mandarin

Charlie, age 14 from Yorkshire, studied at the Confucius Institute for three years and has made great progress.

Charlie reading a bookThe demand for 1-2-1 language tuition has seen a steady growth over the years. Perhaps this is due to the flexibility it brings; you can book the sessions at times that suit you, the content is tailored to your needs and you have the option to study from home, too.

Charlie first got the taste of learning the language in Year 2 of primary school. He attended Gleddings Preparatory School in Halifax, which is one of four Confucius classrooms that Manchester Confucius Institute supports. Learning with Fiona Chen, the Mandarin teacher at Gleddings clearly made an impact on him.

When Charlie moved on to secondary school he wanted to continue learning Mandarin, as he found the language and the culture fascinating. With him being under 18, and living over an hour from Manchester, it became clear that his only option was to start online 1-2-1 lessons. During the three years of studying with Manchester CI, Shuyuan was his favourite teacher and they even celebrated Christmas Day 2018 together!

Shuyuan remembers that time well: "Charlie was my 1-2-1 student in 2018/2019 when I was working at Manchester CI. His strong determination and self-discipline to learn Chinese definitely stood out - he even used his lunchtime to study and then rush to his afternoon classes! I really enjoyed the time with Charlie and his family at Christmas in 2018. I saw how supportive his parents are toward his Mandarin progress. Having some connection with China in their own workplace, they regard Mandarin as a very useful language and hope that Charlie can visit China at some point soon."

His current teacher Elis adds: "I am so impressed by Charlie's mature and disciplined attitude, especially as a teenager. He is always on time for our class, finishes his homework on time and focusses during the class. And most importantly, I have seen his confidence grow immensely when speaking Mandarin."

We are pleased to see his hard work paying off as he passed HSK1 in May 2019 with an outstanding 80% and is hoping to complete the HSK2 this autumn. He also aims to do our summer school in Beijing during sixth form.

Accompanying Charlie on his journey showed us that learning a language is not just something to be added to your CV, it also builds confidence. The current circumstances may be affecting your self-esteem, but focussing on something productive and striving towards a goal can help build confidence, allow you to make better decisions and keeps your mind in good shape, too. Learning a language takes complete concentration, so it’s the perfect way to distract yourself from all that’s going on. For that 60 minute lesson, you can set aside any other worries and focus on boosting your language skills instead. Your success in learning is also sure to provide a great sense of accomplishment.

Manchester Confucius Institute successfully adapted to online teaching at the beginning of lockdown and will continue to offer group classes and 1-2-1 tuition in the autumn with teachers based in Manchester and China. Language learners also have the opportunity to take part in free conversational chat groups in our Mandarin Corner sessions and can utilise video tutorials the institute has produced during these times of great change.

Charlie is proof of what can be accomplished. His focus and desire to learn has allowed him to successfully progress in his Mandarin studies whilst inspiring each of his teachers along the way.

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