There was a wise businessman or economist who's name escapes me now...but he said something along the lines of, " big businesses fail because at one point they stagnate due to their comfortable location a the top." I think he was referring to large monopolistic companies being gradually overtaken by smaller upstarts once they had forgotten how to evolve and innovate. I have a feeling something similar contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. Anyhow,,,,
When I first started using Chinesepod I was at the elementary/newbie level. Today I can listen to the advanced lessons, understand a lot, and yet still remain challenged. Although I'm tooting my own horn here--there is a point coming up.
After using Chinesepod for over a year I think I have a good grasp on what your strengths and weaknesses are. I also believe that I am in a good position to offer advice because I spent a lot of time climbing the rungs.
As I often like to do--I'm going to offer some unsolicited advice. I won't mention your many virtues because they have been mentioned by countless others before and I'm not big on ass kissing unless I have some kind of ulterior motive.
So I'll jump ahead to one large flaw that I feel needs fixing. That large flaw, in my humble opinion, is the lack of a giant unifying element that binds all the lessons together and makes for a smoother transition between all the levels. Think of it as "The One Ring to rule them all" or something 'Lord of the Ringsy' like that. I tried to come up with a less geeky metaphor but that's all I got. I'm still not sure it applies here...
So what is this arrogant punk suggesting we do? I'm glad you asked. I think you guys need to unify the lessons with 1 type of lesson that has 2 specific problem solving components. Specifically, you guys need a type of lesson at each level above Newbie in which the hosts speak a lot more Chinese.
At the lower levels you could start with a baby-ish level of conversation the likes of which I often see on Children's TV shows here in Taiwan. As the levels progress you can complicate the vocabulary accordingly. The second aspect that I would integrate into these lessons would be explanations of grammar points and sentence patterns in a manner similar to Qing Wen--but on a much more frequent basis.
So, to sum it all up again; more grammar explanations and more natural Chinese conversations starting at the lower levels. I think that will be a recipe for a great leap forward.
Hugs and Kisses,
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