The Scout Report recommended the Oxford Centre for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. So naturally I clicked on it with interest.
What a disaster. Oxford University should be ashamed of itself.
Apart from being a dreadfully designed website (most pages have no internal links – back to homepage or contact or whatever), its grammar based approach is a throwback to an era of bad language training.
Clicking on a sound actually downloads a tiny wave file of a single word (I kid you not). The page on writing radicals is clunky and doesn’t even show the direction of the strokes (I kid you not).
There is no evidence of minimal pairs. Trying to learning a foreign language, especially a tonal one, without these is just dumb. Here’s how to do it: set up two sounds that the learner can’t distinguish. Teacher says each sound at random and student points to what they hear. When student gets it consistently right, they then speak the sounds and the teacher points to what they hear.