Our innovative teaching method, specially adapted for Western students, separates spoken Mandarin and character recognition, which has been proven to advance the pace of your language learning. We teach Chinese in small groups (with an average of 4 to 5 students), allowing our teachers to give each student individual attention. 

 

How will you learn Chinese?

The author of the teaching materials used at Hutong School is Prof. Zhang Pengpeng (张朋朋). He is an associate professor at Beijing Language and Culture University and has taught Chinese to non-native speakers since 1975 in Beijing as well as at universities in France, Switzerland and Germany.

Based on his experiences, Prof. Zhang developed his own method separating spoken Chinese on the one hand and character recognition/writing on the other hand.

Rather than requiring students to be able to pronounce, read and write every single character from every dialogue, Prof. Zhang pays more attention to explaining the form and structure of characters and the radical-phonetic system.

This way, students can progress quicker in spoken Chinese and at the same time lay a good foundation for character memorization at a later stage because they have a more thorough understanding of the characters. In addition, Prof. Zhang focuses more on character recognition in the beginning and incorporates writing characters only at a later phase.

The course books for the Beginner and Intermediate levels are the following three books of the “New Approaches to Learning Chinese” by Prof. Zhang Pengpeng:

  • 口语速成 (Intensive Spoken Chinese), for the Speaking class. The students will learn how to introduce themselves in Chinese, greet people, order food and drinks, buy things, talk about their families, etc… The focus will be on basic Chinese vocabulary which can be immediately used in common daily situations.
     
  • 集中识字 (Rapid Literacy in Chinese), for the Reading and Writing class. For absolute beginners, the focus will mostly be on reading and recognizing the most commonly used 300 characters.
     
  • 常用汉字部首 (The Most Common Chinese Radicals), will be used mostly as a reference book for students to improve their understanding of Chinese characters and the radical-phonetic system.

Also used are the following two books:

  • 汉语口语速成: 'Short-term Spoken Chinese'
  • 张老师教汉字: 'Professor Zhang Teaches Characters'

All teaching materials are included in the program fee.

Month Internship Program Intensive Chinese Program
1st month Phonetics, numbers, money, self-introduction

Lesson 1 : Phonetics, Hello
Lesson 2 : Phonetics, Thank you
Lesson 3 : Phonetics, Numerals
Lesson 4 : Surname, First Name

Lesson 5 : Country, Native Place
Lesson 6 : City, Native Place
Lesson 7 : Year, Month, Date, Day
Lesson 8 : Birthday, Age

Lesson 9 : Time, Daily Schedule
Lesson 10 : Public Places

5 hours of classes focusing on Chinese characters, with special attention to the most common Chinese radicals. After 1 month, students should master 50 common characters. Phonetics, numbers, money, self-introduction, shopping, ordering food

Lesson 1 : Phonetics, Hello
Lesson 2 : Phonetics, Thank you
Lesson 3 : Phonetics, Numerals
Lesson 4 : Surname, First Name

Lesson 5 : Country, Native Place
Lesson 6 : City, Native Place
Lesson 7 : Year, Month, Date, Day
Lesson 8 : Birthday, Age

Lesson 9 : Time, Daily Schedule
Lesson 10 : Public Places
Lesson 11: Daily Necessities, Fruits
Lesson 12 : Buy things, Prices

Lesson 13 : Wines, Drinks
Lesson 14 : Coffee Bar, Tea House
Lesson 15 : Menu, Foods

40 hours of classes focusing on Chinese characters, with special attention to the most common Chinese radicals. After 1 month, students should master 200 common characters.

2nd month Shopping, ordering food, talk about family members and language learning

Lesson 11: Daily Necessities, Fruits
Lesson 12 : Buy things, Prices
Lesson 13 : Wines, Drinks
Lesson 14 : Coffee Bar, Tea House

Lesson 15 : Menu, Foods
Lesson 16 : At the Restaurant
Lesson 17 : Eating Habits
Lesson 18 : Family / Profession

Lesson 19 : Languages, Learning
Lesson 20 : Address, Telephone

5 hours of classes focusing on Chinese characters, with special attention to the most common Chinese radicals. After 2 months, students should master 100 common characters.

Lesson 16 : At the Restaurant
Lesson 17 : Eating Habits
Lesson 18 : Family / Profession
Lesson 19 : Languages, Learning

Lesson 20 : Address, Telephone
Lesson 21 : Doing Something
Lesson 22 : Duration of Time
Lesson 23 : Result, Possibility

Lesson 24 : Means of Transportation
Lesson 25 : Direction and Position;
Lesson 26 : Asking the way
Lesson 27 : Climate, Weather

Lesson 28 : Sports Activities
Lesson 29 : Comparison
Lesson 30 : At the Hospital

40 hours of classes focusing on Chinese characters, with special attention to the most common Chinese radicals. After 2 months, students should master 400 common characters.
3rd month

Asking the way, talk about weather and sports, going to hospital

Lesson 21 : Doing Something
Lesson 22 : Duration of Time
Lesson 23 : Result, Possibility
Lesson 24 : Means of Transportation

Lesson 25 : Direction and Position
Lesson 26 : Asking the way
Lesson 27 : Climate, Weather
Lesson 28 : Sports Activities

Lesson 29 : Comparison
Lesson 30 : At the Hospital

5 hours of classes focusing on Chinese characters, with special attention to the most common Chinese radicals. After 3 months, students should master 150 common characters. Changing money, room decorations, booking tickets

Lesson 31: Changing Money
Lesson 32 : Color, Clothes
Lesson 33 : Room Decorations
Lesson 34 : Recreations and hobbies

Lesson 35 : At the Post Office
Lesson 36 : Repairing a Bicycle
Lesson 37 : Formalities of a Hotel
Lesson 38 : At the Train Station

Lesson 39 : Booking a Plane Ticket
Lesson 40: The Internet Age

40 hours of classes focusing on Chinese characters, with special attention to the most common Chinese radicals. After 3 months, students should master 600 common characters.Review of all topics of oral Chinese.
4th month

Changing money, room decorations, at the post office

Lesson 31: Changing Money
Lesson 32 : Color, Clothes
Lesson 33 : Room Decorations
Lesson 34 : Recreations and hobbies

Lesson 35 : At the Post Office
Lesson 36 : Repairing a Bicycle
Lesson 37 : Formalities of a Hotel
Lesson 38 : At the Train Station

Lesson 39 : Booking a Plane Ticket
Lesson 40: The Internet Age

5 hours of classes focusing on Chinese characters, with special attention to the most common Chinese radicals. After 4 months, students should master 200 common characters.
Tailor-made lessons
5th month

More focus on Chinese characters with the aim of mastering 400 characters by the end of the month. (200 additional characters to be learned)

Review of lessons 1-20 of oral Chinese and additional exercises.

Tailor-made lessons
6th month

More focus on Chinese characters with the aim of mastering 600 characters by the end of the month. (200 additional characters to be learned)

Review of lessons 21-40 of oral Chinese and additional exercises.

Tailor-made lessons

This curriculum is a guide only and may vary.