Chinese is spoken by over 1.3 billion people, making it the most spoken language by number of users even above English and Spanish. The Chinese language has countless dialects, but the most widely spoken is Mandarin.
With China's rapid economic expansion, many Nigerians are learning the language of Confucius because they are creating investment opportunities in the country, and their culture is seeping into the public mind.
If you are planning a trip to China, learning their language will come in very handy since the Chinese are not particularly English speakers, they speak their language on their turf.
As a student that is going over there either on scholarship or direct admission, you will be required to learn the Chinese language anyway. For the first year, you will take extensive Chinese language classes.
So if you have to learn Chinese why not consider learning with a professional Chinese tutor. It is by far the fastest way to learn Chinese.
Below we have put together a guide on how to find the best Chinese tutor in Nigeria.
What Qualities Should You Look Out For In A Chinese Tutor?
Private tutoring is not something that is regulated by the government or standardized by it, so anyone can masquerade as a tutor, even without any qualifications.
So in finding the best Chinese tutor for yourself or your child, you will need to vet them yourself. You will need to verify their qualifications first, are they what they say they are? And if so, can they deliver?
An undergraduate student teaching the Chinese language, whether from Nigeria or a native speaker that you met online, should be able to provide their high school certificate. So is a professional teacher teaching Chinese, they should be able to provide their teaching diplomas or equivalent certifications.
Superprof does the heavy-lifting for you, each tutor on the website is checked and verified. You will see their level of qualification and a brief explanation of what they are offering, they could be offering to teach Chinese for beginners or advanced level Chinese.
This simplifies things a lot, but we have not even gone into the qualities of good Chinese teachers, we haven’t talked about their experience, for how long have they been teaching Chinese?
Ask them about their previous students, how many have they taught, if any? The years they have spent mastering Chinese? It is all part of the teaching experience.
You should decide on whether you want a native speaker to teach you or if you are okay with a Nigerian who learned the Chinese language but one who has enough years of experience either from learning extensively here in Nigeria or from living in a Chinese or Taiwanese city.
Note that it is important to decide on this early on, and you should know native speakers with the right qualifications have everything it takes to teach you smoothly, they have been surrounded by the Chinese language and culture all their life, so their language development will be much better than their non-native competition.
Especially since it takes about five years to master the Chinese language. You should decide on that before you start taking Chinese lessons with a tutor.
Furthermore, you will have to look into their availability. Plan your schedule ahead of time and see if yours and theirs fit, or if they can adapt to your schedule. Most popular time for private lessons are during the weekends, some take it during holidays and any other time there is less busy stuff to do.
But this is the Chinese language we are talking about, you may as well take it every day if you can, it is that demanding.
The next step in your quest is to find out what type of Chinese the Chinese tutor is teaching, Mandarin is the most popular, it is recommended by everyone and it’s the official Chinese dialect spoken by most of China. The others include Pinyin and Cantonese.
Qualities Of A Good Teacher
A good Chinese lesson teacher must have patience, patience with their students, patience with questions they will get asked, and so on.
Adapt To Student's Needs
Part of the whole point of taking private lessons is so that you learn Chinese according to your personalized tastes and preferences.
If a Chinese teacher is impassive and doesn’t recognize your learning needs there is no point at all in the lessons. You will need someone who is flexible and that can adapt to the student's needs and wants.
Be Creative With Their Approach
A good Chinese teacher needs to know when their approach is not working with a student so that they can adjust it to help the student learn better.
Must Be Dedicated
Missing one too many scheduled Chinese classes is not ideal for you or your child. The right Chinese teacher will show up on time whether online or offline every time you have a lesson.
Where To Find Chinese Lessons In Nigeria
Despite the great interest of Nigerians to study Mandarin, there are not that many Chinese lesson teachers around to help out.
In other countries, it is possible to find a Chinese exchange student or Chinese student on scholarship in their local universities, but you will hardly find any here. And there are no Chinese learning courses in Nigerian universities.
The next best thing is to go online, you can easily find someone who is willing to teach you Chinese Mandarin, we imagine it is not going to be a difficult task considering the Chinese language's 1.3 billion speakers.
You can look up foreign language forums to find a partner you can learn and practice with. In exchange, you teach them English. Check out conversationexchange.com, it’s a good place to start.
Other online resources include websites and apps you can use to learn Chinese language. Note however that some of them may be limiting, they may only concentrate on teaching you the speaking aspect and ignore the reading and writing aspect.
In some cases, it is the opposite, the apps concentrate on teaching you the reading and writing aspect while ignoring the speaking aspect. Nevertheless, good apps you can use to learn Chinese exist and that is what matters.
Learning Chinese on your own still doesn’t compare to learning with a Chinese tutor, so how do you find one, cheap or otherwise?
If you can’t find one around your local university which is expected, you can reach out to your relatives or friends studying in China to help you out, as students, they should have someone among their peers that is willing to teach you Chinese Mandarin.
Another avenue for finding Chinese tutors in Nigeria is through social media. You can join Facebook groups filled with Chinese students dedicated to teaching and learning Chinese.
You can even find individual tutors offering Chinese lessons for anyone who cares to hire them for a fee. Browse through social media platforms for Chinese tutors, Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, and Weibo, and whichever comes to mind.
You can also try Superprof, search for Chinese tutors near me, you will be able to learn Chinese from tutors from all around the globe, which means you can get your hands on native Mandarin speakers.
Clicking on their profiles, you will be able to check their availability, the cost of lessons and if they offer online classes or in-person.
Organizations For Learning Chinese Language
If you want to learn in a classroom with other students and a standard curriculum, it is a good decision. Being in a classroom full of students challenges you to stay committed to learning because now there is a standard you can judge yourself with.
And there is no better place than the Chinese Institute located inside the University of Lagos, better known as UNILAG.
The Institute teaches Mandarin Chinese to all ages, from children to mature adults who want to learn the Chinese language. They have the best Chinese teachers anyone can ask for, and have churned out more Chinese students than any institution or school in the country.
The Different Types Of Chinese Tutors
A Chinese proverb reads;
Never fear that you are too slow, fear that you have stopped.
Put a great deal of effort when learning Chinese, even when it seems your progress is slow. To ensure it really isn’t slow though you will need a great Chinese teacher, one who gives you the best value for money for your Chinese lessons.
So far, we have discussed about Chinese teacher profiles, personalities and qualities, use this knowledge to make assessments and judgments of Chinese tutors before hiring them.
If you hop on Superprof you will notice there are four distinct teacher personalities:
- Native speakers
- Chinese students offering Chinese lessons
- Foreign nationals offering Chinese lessons
- Professional Chinese teachers who have studied Mandarin/Cantonese at the university.
And more. They make up the community of knowledge sharers of the Chinese language on Superprof, each with their unique advantages, you just have to pick the best fit for you.
A general guide to learning the Chinese language as a beginner is just a click away.