Measuring Progress

How to Study
Good LL Teach
Strategies 1
Strategies 2
Some Good LL
Styles 1
Styles 2
Styles 3
Styles 4
Barriers 1
Barriers 2
Motivation 1
Motivation 2
Where to Aim
High Achievers

What Level in Chinese Am I Aiming For?
Right at the start of your Chinese studies you need to decide on your language goals, i.e. what level in Chinese are you hoping to obtain? This means that you need first to look at your work needs, i.e. for the kind of work you have come to China to do, what level of proficiency in Chinese will you need in order to be able to function adequately? Then having decided on the level you wish to obtain, be determined to press on until you have reached your goal. What, then, are these different levels?

LEVEL 1: Survival
Level 1 will enable you to carry out minimal activities of daily living. You should be able to handle routine shopping, order a simple meal, ask and give directions, deal with travel requirements, tell the time, and be able to introduce yourself.

LEVEL 2: Conversational
Level 2 will enable you to interact with people in routine social situations and for limited work requirements. You should be able to engage in superficial discussions on current events, talk about yourself, your family and your work. You can handle limited work requirements such as giving simple instructions or simple explanations and descriptions. At Level 1 most of the things you could say had been specifically prepared. By Level 2 you can speak extemporaneously (although in a limited way) about many topics.

LEVEL 3: Minimum Professional
Level 3 will enable you to speak Chinese with sufficient structural accuracy and vocabulary to satisfy normal social and work requirements. You can handle professional discussions within a specialized field. You can participate effectively in all general conversations, and you can discuss topics of interest with reasonable ease. Your vocabulary is broad enough so that you rarely have to grope for a word and you use the language well enough to establish close friendships.

LEVEL 4: Full Professional
Level 4 will enable you to use the language fluently and accurately with vocabulary that is always extensive and precise enough to enable you to convey your exact meaning. You can understand and participate in any conversation with a high degree of fluency and precision of vocabulary. Your speech is as effortless as your mother tongue, and you are always easy to listen to.

LEVEL 5: Native
Level 5 will mean that native speakers react to you as they do to each other. Your speaking proficiency is equivalent in every way to that of an educated native speaker.

Having read through these five levels of proficiency, now look again at the work you have come to China to do and decide on which level you must aim for in order for you to be able function effectively.

How Am I Doing?
"That's all very fine," you may be saying, "but how do I know how I'm getting on? Right from the very first sentence I blurted out, my Chinese friends told me 'Your Chinese is spoken very well'. And six months later they're still saying the same thing! Then those tests on my school work which my teachers give me -- I find that they seem to give little indication as to how I'm really getting on in Chinese."

The self-rating checklist of speaking proficiency set out on the next page should help you to know how you are progressing. It is very simple but very effective. Read each statement carefully and then ask yourself honestly whether or not you are able to perform that task in Chinese to a reasonable degree. If your answer is 'Yes', then check (tick) it off. Work through the statements one at a time until you are unable to check off any more. This will then indicate at which level you are at present. Approximately three months later, get it out again and start from where you left off last time, seeing how many more tasks you are able to perform compared to before. If you feel that your progress has plateaued off, get the chart out and remind yourself just how far you have come in Chinese -- this ought to be an encouragement to you that you are progressing even though you don't feel so!

Learning Styles


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