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Why the classroom may be holding you back
Aug.31.2007    Source: China Daily
There are roughly 30 million people in the world studying Chinese, and Fred Rao, founder and CEO of eChineseLearning, thinks many of them are learning it the wrong way – in a classroom.
“The traditional way of Chinese language instruction is insufficient. Students go to class for 1.5 hours a week, and then they forget everything they’ve learned,” says Rao, who once taught Mandarin through a Chinese culture center he founded in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Rao saw an opportunity. Eight months ago, he established eChineseLearning, a website that specializes in one-to-one, real-time instruction with experienced teachers in China via Instant Messaging software, such as MSN, Google Talk or Skype. Private lessons cost as little as $4.50, with topics ranging from Chinese culture to business etiquette.
The idea came to Rao after spending 10 years in the United States, where he attended Stanford University’s business school and later founded a social networking website.
So far, eChineseLearning has enrolled about 300 students from 25 countries. Most come from the United States, but other students come from as far way as Venezuela and Latvia. Students’ ages range from as young as 4 to more than 60.
(China Daily 08/31/2007 page17)

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