Case Study of Learning Chinese

(Key: Beginner, Practical Chinese, Survival Chinese l, Daily Conversation, Chinese Culture)

Today we are going to look at a case study about a student learning Chinese and his progression in the language. We will go over how his abilities were assessed and how his classes were designed. We will first introduce our student that we had a case study for.


James Walter was an engineer in US. He knew nothing about mandarin Chinese, but he was keen on traveling and eager to have a look at China. This is what he had to say about his experience with Chinese.
“I’m just a beginner with no experience in Chinese, but with an interest of traveling in China for Chinese New Year. I know nihao, nihaoma etc. I can take 4 lessons a week.”

James Walter firstly had a free trial lesson with one of our teachers. After the free trial lesson and deciding to learn with us, the teacher and course consultant made a course plan for him according to his goals and requirements. The whole course plan was about 6 months, which took 92 lessons in total before he went to China.

After the Chinese lessons, James had an impressive and wonderful 16 days journey in China. He made several Chinese friends in different cities with his Chinese level. After he went back to US, he decided to continue learning Chinese. The teacher also helped him prepare for the HSK2 test and passed it. Today he stills continuing to learn and his aiming to pass HSK 4.

The following is the analysis and course plan we made for him. We hope it helpful for you! Let us remind you that learning a language is an activity you need to persist in and keep practicing. (No pain, no gain!)

James’s Course Plan Details

Case Analysis

Study Objectives:

Survival Chinese, Chinese culture

Study Frequency:

4 lessons/week

Learning duration before coming to China:

6 months

Total Lessons:


Current Level:

total beginner

What language skills are required/optional? (R/O)
Listening: R James has an excellent grasp of basic Chinese and can communicate in simple and routine tasks. There are no obstacles when exchanging information. He still needs more practice in order to attain higher level of listening comprehension.
Speaking: R He has master fundamental Mandarin pronunciation system and can have simple daily conversation fluently with Chinese speakers
Vocabulary: R James has master more than 300 vocabulary and be familiar with daily topics vocabulary
Grammar: R He understands basic structure and construction of Chinese grammar. So James can easily make new sentences as he learning new grammar points.
Reading: O James can read simple conversation we`ve learnt.
Chinese Character: O He know basic characters like “男”“女” at bathroom and the general structure
Writing: O James believe that have the ability of typing simple Chinese characters is enough

Course Plan

The classes will be divided into three sections: pronunciation, daily conversation and Chinese culture. The teacher will adjust the classroom time according to each stage and assess how well the student comprehends the material. Now here is a graph of what will be a focus at each stage.


Stage 1: (≤ 10 lessons

At this stage, we will focus on the basics and pronunciation. It is vital to have the fundamentals of the pinyin and pronunciation to build on. Here are more details about the three sections at stage 1.


In the initial stage, we focus on laying pronunciation foundation. We want to make sure you can spell any random Pinyin syllable, which is essential for your fundamentals in learning Chinese. Then we work on mastering the tones and related rules that Chinese language will have.

Daily Conversation:

He will be able to master simple daily greetings and the student can have simple conversation in Chinese at the end of this stage.

Chinese Culture:

He will learn about general mandarin Chinese knowledge. James will be given a rough impression about each side of this language.

Stage 2:  ( 81 lessons)

At stage 2, we will focus on remembering the pronunciation and grammar rules. We will also work more in depth with the daily life topics. It will give James more practical grasp of the Chinese language. We will also learn more about Chinese cultural aspects according the topics examined.


Teacher will keep reminding the rules and correcting pronunciation of the vocabulary of the James.

Daily Conversation

James will start to learn practical daily Chinese topics, such as: self-introduction, counting numbers, basic expressions of telling the time, asking prices and bargaining when shopping, ordering food, asking for directions, asking for help, how to see a doctor in China, taking buses/taxi, talking about plans, expressions about invitation and so on.

Chinese Culture

Teacher will begin talking about the related culture background according to the topics being taught.

Stage 3:  ( 5 lessons)

At this last stage, we will focus on reviewing with the material in pronunciation and daily conversation taught in stage 2. We will continue to learn more about Chinese culture and will answer any questions that James may have for his trip to China.


Teacher will be correcting James’s pronunciation and review the whole Pinyin system with him.

Daily Conversation:

Teacher and James will have a general review and practice about the topics we learned from Stage 2.

Chinese Culture:

Teacher will answer all of James’s questions and discuss with him. The teacher will give key survival tips and suggestions when traveling in China, tell more traditional customs about Chinese New Year.

Teaching Materials

The teaching materials will include the Chinese Pinyin System materials including the text and audios. Then we will use an e-text book called, “Oral Communication in Chinese” (We will provide you related e-textbooks and audios).


For practice of Chinese course, we will practice with James in each lesson where we review old topics and practice new topic. Then we do the exercises together which in the textbook or of the teacher’s activities. Along with the exercises, we will have random dictation drills and tests. Also, there will be homework of written work, memorization, and completing exercises given to James.