After learning Chinese for a year or so, you’ll likely to become bored with the continuous flow of boring and indistinguishable textbooks. It’s at this point that you have to make a choice – either become so bored that you give up learning Chinese, or find some new content to study!
Depending on where you are learning Chinese, your access to learning materials might be limited, or not very varied. A good tip is to start looking outside of the standard learning material, and start reading content that is meant for native speakers. Who said you have to stick to books written specifically for foreign learners of Chinese? If you like computers and the Internet, then start reading Chinese language computer magazines and related websites. Likewise if you’re into business and economics, there are more than enough books available in Chinese to keep you busy.
When choosing a Chinese language school to attend, then look for schools that offer a variation of courses and that don’t stick rigidly to a textbook-based syllabus. You might find courses in news reading, business language, computing, Chinese culture and many other topics. The best courses are the ones were the teacher chooses material that is up-to-date and relevant, and selected to meet the specific needs of the class.
The main point to remember here is that you’re not automatically locked into to one textbook or textbook series – if you’re bored then find another. Don’t think that you have to stick with a series just because you’ve started it, it may just be that it’s not suited to your learning style or interests.
Do you prefer to stay on track with a strict textbook syllabus, or do you prefer the freedom of self-study or a custom syllabus?