Communication based Chinese textbooks
Mandarin Express series revolves around communications, and the word "express" in the title represents this purpose and the underlined methodologies.
The first meaning of "express" is "to express": to say something in Mandarin. Mandarin is a language. Learning Mandarin is to learn a new way of expressions, expressions of who we are and what we want to say to the world. Many Chinese textbooks start the first lesson with greetings, teaching students how to say "hello" in Chinese. But in Mandarin Express Intro Level A, students start the first lesson to express their identities. "To express" also has a built-in quality of clarity. Not only do students express themselves, but do it clearly. Moreover, the range of expressions go way beyond daily life, reaching a wide range of world issues, histories, and philosophies.
The second meaning of "express" is an extension of the first meaning, "to communicate". One major reason for students to express something is that others can understand them. "To express" implies the existence of an interlocutor, who is listening to these expressions and possibly responds. Thus, there is an exchange between the person who is expressing and the person who is listening. The flows are quite possible coming from both ends. The person who is expressing will also listen, and the person who is listening will also express. Therefore, Mandarin Express series was designed on exchanging ideas. People learn to express themselves, and also learn to listen. Listening is not an easy task. This is the reason that all Work Books are full of different, and quite often difficult, listening exercises. There are appropriate challenges for students at different levels. Lower level students go through extensive controlled listening exercises, which contain close to zero new words. And high level students train their exceptional listening abilities using authentic materials.
The third meaning of "express" is to send something through a special route, such as an express train. For Mandarin Express series, this special route is to take students from beginner to Chinese language proficiency and cultural literacy. This journey is carefully divided into many stops. Each stop takes students a little bit further and calls forth the next stop. Students' Chinese language ability and communication skills increase gradually from stop to stop. There is no short cut in this route. Stops are sequenced in a particular way to maximise the best outcome. Learning Chinese is a long and difficult journey. But, for students who are persistent enough, this "express" route will promise them a fantastic and rewarding experience.
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