Boost Your Chinese Learning: 4 Effective Ways to Remember Corrections and Improve Language Retention

Mastering Mandarin: Practical Techniques To Retain Corrections


Mischa Wilmers is a fluent Chinese speaker and educator from the UK who runs the blog and podcast I’m Learning Mandarin. He is also the co-founder of Mandarin Retreat an organisation that run immersive weekend trips and extended five day extended camps for Chinese learners based in Europe. In this series of blogs he offers his best insights and tips into how to improve your Chinese learning efficiency.

Making mistakes is a natural part of the language learning process, and learners are often advised to embrace these mistakes as valuable opportunities for improvement.

The real challenge though lies in remembering and internalising the corrections we receive.

Without a systematic approach, corrections can easily slip from our memory, hindering our progress and causing us to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

In this blog, I’ll explore four effective methods to help you remember corrections. By deploying these techniques, you can reinforce your knowledge and build confidence in your spoken Chinese.

Method 1: Systematically Record your Tutor’s Corrections

Method 2: Involve Your Language Learning Friends

Method 3: Spaced Repetition with Anki

Method 4: Practice Correct Sentences Regularly

Proof is in the pudding! Listen to Mischa explaining why he learned Chinese- in Chinese!

Method 1: Systematically Record your Tutor’s Corrections

Each time you make a mistake during your conversations, ask your tutor to jot down the correct form of the sentence.

Be warned, for cultural reasons many Chinese tutors are very polite and unwilling to be strict with their corrections as they fear that doing so might be discouraging.

If you want to progress quickly it can pay to find a tutor who is willing to be strict.

Ask them to tell you how a particular sentence would be expressed by a native speaker. They can then send you a list of these corrections in written form.

Additionally you can ask your tutor to record themselves reading out sentences and send you an audio file to listen to.

Establish a habit of listening to the recordings regularly, preferably on repeat. Repetition is a powerful tool for memory retention and will enable you to internalise the natural sentence patterns over time.

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Method 2: Involve Your Language Learning Friends

Learning with friends can be a fun and collaborative experience.

When engaging in conversations with your language learning buddies, encourage them to provide corrections whenever you make mistakes.

To keep a record of these corrections, use messaging platforms like WeChat or WhatsApp and get them to send you the corrected sentences.

To practice Chinese conversation everyday with other learners, don’t forget to join the LTL Discord Channel!

You can then revise and review these corrections later at your convenience.

This way, you can learn to say all the ideas you regularly want to say in social situations but aren’t quite sure how native speakers express them.

Want some insider tips on learning Chinese?

Method 3: Spaced Repetition with Anki

Anki is a powerful spaced repetition system that can significantly aid your memorisation and language learning efforts.

Create whole sentence flashcards for each correction you receive from your teacher or friends. On one side of the card, write the sentence with a few key words or grammar structures omitted. On the other side, include the full sentence with the correct form.

Psst… Did you know LTL has put together FREE Anki decks for you to download and use?

Set aside a dedicated time each day, around 20 minutes, to review and revise these flashcards.

The spaced repetition algorithm of Anki will ensure that you encounter the flashcards at optimal intervals, maximising your retention of the corrections. The more you revise your decks, you’ll notice your recall and application of these corrections become more natural.

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Method 4: Practice Correct Sentences Regularly

👉 The key to making corrections stick is consistent practice.

Actively incorporate the correct sentences into your everyday language usage. Practice using them in your Chinese classes, during language exchange meet-ups, or with native speaker friends.

The more you integrate these corrected sentences into your conversations, the more they will become a natural part of your Chinese communication.

By using the correct sentences repeatedly, you reinforce what you’ve learned and minimise the chances of repeating the same mistakes.

Remembering corrections is a crucial aspect of learning Chinese. Embrace the process of making mistakes as an opportunity for growth, but don’t let the corrections slip away from your memory.

Instead, you can employ the four methods outlined in this blog to make corrections an integral part of your language learning success.

Do you have any tips for memorising corrections? Let us know in the comments!

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FAQs

How can tutors help me remember corrections?

Tutors can write down your mistakes, which you can keep track of in a flashcard or notes app. They can also send you voice recordings, which you can listen to on repeat.

Alternatively, you can ask them how they would word a sentence or express a certain opinion and pay attention to their answer.

It’s also important to communicate to your tutor that you would like to be corrected– some may be hesitant to be strict with adult learners.

Which apps can help me correct my Chinese?

Flashcard apps, especially those that use spaced repetition like Anki, can be incredible useful in helping you retain information.

The spaced repetition algorithm of Anki will ensure that you encounter the flashcards at optimal intervals, maximising your retention of the corrections. The more you use these apps, the more you’ll remember!

How can I practice using new words and sentences with others?

Actively incorporate the correct sentences into your everyday language usage. Practice using them in your Chinese classes, during language exchange meet-ups, or with native speaker friends.

Where can I find Chinese language resources online?

For all the grammar lessons you could dream of, check out the LTL Chinese Grammar Bank. Alternatively, here’s a list of Binge-Worthy Chinese TV Shows and Chinese Language Podcasts for every level.

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