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Thursday, September 15, 2005

How Fast Can You Learn?

" I want to learn fast and be able to talk to Chinese people when I travel around China." This is what most people's wish when they start their first lesson. I have kept a record of how fast a person can learn, let's say from zero or near zero till finish Intro Level A. There are people who have taken lessons before they came to MSL, but I put them into Intro Level A. The reason is that after initial level assessment, I found out that their knowledge is all scaterred quite randomly and couldn't build up a decent small talk, and therefore, they couldn't start higher.

Now let me get back to the record. Most people finish Intro Level A in 28 hours. Some people think it's just right, some people think they need a bit more time, and some people think they can finish in 24 hours. Then this year April, Wantanee and Tim started their Intro Level A, then they finished Intro Level A in 12 hours. It's not like going through the motion of knowing the meaning of different words, it is that they can talk quite decently in Mandarin and can use what they know quite well. The most amazing part is that they are very busy people, they travelled around and had many trips. So these the lessons were all conducted quite randomly and they can still retain what they had and used it very well. They came back from a trip in Sichuan and Yunnan in China last week, and when they were in China they spoke nothing but Mandarin.

But last month came Paul. He set this record in a new height. He did a wonderful part on studying before the lesson and spent hours and hours in doing assignment. So the record is he finished his Intro Level A in 8 hours! The last 2 hours of these 8 hours were reviewing and checking and making sure he got everything right. And he did. He is so dedicated and determined and fast.

So next time, if you are going to ask "how fast can I learn?" , you know the answer now is 8 hours to complete Intro Level A. I seriously doubt if anybody can do any faster. But I never know.

MSL Learning Center