Some of you may know I am learning Mandarin Chinese. Since some of you may also be learning that language I wish to provide you a list of great Mandarin teachers and resources. I order these from “easiest” i.e. beginner to hardest. I then provide a detailed review: they are all excellent in different ways. First, a disclaimer: I have not been paid by any of these teachers nor have I been given any discounts on their works. Links to all these Mandarin teachers and other teachers who I enjoy follow this post.
Learn Chinese With Emma
Yang Yang / YoYo Chinese
New Concept Mandarin
Learn Chinese With Emma is really oriented toward young children, but is great. Emma teaches colors, numbers, and is really a great teacher, especially for the beginner or children.
Yang Yang / YoYo Chinese is a “celebrity teacher”. Most of her best work is Mandarin to English, i.e. ESL. She does do great CSL work. Much of her work for CSL is at HSK1 or HSK2. Some of it is more advanced. Her works are “free samples” for her subscription site, like most of the reviewed works here. Yang Yang is really interesting to study to learn teaching techniques. She really combines the best of Chinese and American teaching methodology and is a must see if you are a teacher, especially if you do ESL or CSL. She is also a great dancer and good singer.
Chinese Pod: Chinese pod is really accessible. The main teacher there is Fiona Tan, who is I guess Scottish+Chinese=Awesome. Some of her videos are with her sister Iona. She also teaches with Constance. I guess she is based in Taiwan: her more recent works use simplified and traditional characters. Her earlier works used only traditional characters. If you are new to Chinese do not worry about simplified versus traditional: they are so similar that you will usually not notice the difference. Much of Chinese pod’s works are about HSK2 or HSK3. Some, exceptionally, are about HSK4.
Emma, Yang Yang, and Fiona are all fun to watch and effective teachers. Not “scholarly” but that’s not really possible at HSK1/HSK2 anyway. If you are learning Chinese for a business trip use them and also New Concept Mandarin to get your polite self-introductions, food-ordering, and basic directions learned.
Chelsea Bedroom Chinese: Chelsea is silly and fun and really dramatic. Not scholarly but somewhat artistice. Her tellings of Chinese mythology are amazing! So is her acting style. Use Chelsea’s materials for a fun break from serious studying. She does teach grammar and vocabulary and is a great teacher. HSK2/HSK3.
New Concept Mandarin: NCM uses “flipped learning”. Their online works are good lessons at HSK1-HSK3 levels. To really benefit from them you should take their courses. Flipped learning is the idea that the student drives the teaching experience and that the teacher guides and incites their curiousity. In Flipped Learning the student does most of their studying outside of the classroom, the classroom experience is meant to confirm and if necessary correct the student’s learning. NCM explains this methodology in detail on one of their videos. Again, a must-see for teachers, especially for language teachers. It is a really interesting method of teaching and if you are near them you should sign up for their courses. They probably teach by skype too.
XM Mandarin: XM Mandarin is around HSK3-HSK4. Xiao Min has a great voice (so do all the other teachers here) and her materials are really good. What I really love about XM is they use songs to teach Mandarin, with extensive lyrics and explanations so you really understand what the song is singing. Xiao Min is really disciplined and puts a lot of thoughtful effort into teaching. She is not “shiny bells and whistles” but is dedicated and effective as a teacher. This is where it starts to get “scholarly” and even artistic! She’s amazing.
Angel Huang: she has a really great teaching name, and is kinda like an angel in that she does some really effective teaching. She offers 150 videos teaching the 1500 most common character/words in Chinese. It takes discipline because it is only in Chinese, with English subtitles but if you watch her over and over again (and like all the other people here she’s pretty) you WILL learn those characters. HSK3/HSK4
Xue Bai: Here it is really best for HSK 4 and up. Lots of reading, fairly scholarly, a great resource. HSK4 and up!
This one is awesome MC teaches HSK1-HSK5 and if you are preparing to take the HSK she is the best to use for learning and review. She defines the word, gives the English translation, and then uses it in a Chinese sentence. Twice. Very disciplined. Very pretty. Very effective.
All these teachers offer subscription only services. You should try their works and then if you like them by all means subscribe. They are all wonderful teachers and must be great people IRL. You can probably do one-on-one skype learning with them or their colleagues. I should not be biased but these are all really beautiful people in every way.