For people without any Chinese background, learning Chinese is NOT easy. Do not believe any anybody (mainly publishers, textbook writers, and sometimes Chinese language teachers) who claims otherwise.
April Zhang will deliver this paper in full length at The Third International Conference on Chinese Heritage Education: Cornerstone to US Global Collaboration 中文傳承教育: 立足全美、放眼世界, Newark, CA, USA, Aug 12-13, 2017. Come and connect if you are around.
For young adults or adults, non-Chinese speakers often come to learn Chinese for some practical reasons, for example, to travel around China and to learn Chinese culture. Chinese textbooks are the necessary means to fulfill this need.
Unfortunately, Chinese culture is often introduced in a way that alienates students from Chinese culture. For example, chapters on what Chinese people usually do during Chinese New Year, textual analysis often shows a clear boundary between Chinese culture and the students' culture.
A call for all Chinese teachers and Chinese educators: an exciting event is just around the corner now! Organized by Asia Society and College Board, the tenth annual National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC) will be held in Houston, April 6 – 8, 2017. Representing Mandarin as a Second Language Master (MSL Master), Ms April Zhang is scheduled to present to the conference on April 8, at 9:45am-10:45am. The topic is Class Activities that Benefit both Students and Teachers.
Student's post, by Adam C.
I began taking Mandarin lessons with MSL Master / April Zhang in June 2015, starting essentially from scratch. Shortly before studying with April, I had short-lived experiments with two other Mandarin tutors, but I left both of those tutors fairly quickly without picking up much of use -- it was too frustrating to be taught by someone who was unenthusiastic about teaching, and was simply reading straight from a textbook with which they were barely familiar.