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A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Online Chinese Teachers

According to a recent report, over 100 million people worldwide are currently learning Chinese, a number that has doubled in the last decade alone. This burgeoning interest isn’t just a trend but a reflection of China’s growing influence in global economics and culture. The ability to speak and understand Chinese is rapidly becoming a valuable asset in international business, diplomacy, and cultural exchange.

This surge in interest has coincided with a revolution in how we learn languages. Gone are the days of solely relying on textbooks and classrooms. The evolution of language learning technology — from interactive apps to real-time video classes — has not only made learning more accessible but also more engaging and effective.

The Role of Online Chinese Teachers

Online Chinese teachers are at the forefront of a transformative era in language education, leveraging the power of digital platforms to enhance the learning experience of Mandarin. These educators employ innovative teaching techniques, making use of interactive software that facilitates engaging, real-time language practice. This approach often includes features like instant pronunciation feedback, gamified learning activities, and personalized learning paths that adapt to the progress of each student.

In addition to interactive software, they extensively utilize multimedia resources such as videos, audio clips, and animations to bring the language to life, often presenting it in practical, real-life scenarios. The use of advanced virtual classroom settings, equipped with tools like digital whiteboards, document sharing, and breakout rooms for group activities, mirrors the interactive environment of traditional classrooms.

Furthermore, the ability of these teachers to create customized lesson plans caters to the individual learning styles, interests, and progress of their students, marking a shift from the one-size-fits-all approach of conventional language education.

Disadvantages and Advantages of Choosing Online Chinese Teachers

Choosing online Chinese teachers, like any educational approach, comes with its own set of challenges alongside unique advantages. Understanding these can help learners make informed decisions and prepare for any obstacles they might encounter.


1. Time Zone Differences: One of the primary challenges is the time zone difference between the teacher and student. Especially, many Chinese teachers are based in China. This can make scheduling lessons difficult, especially if one party needs to attend classes at inconvenient hours.

2. Internet Connectivity Issues: Reliable internet access is crucial for online learning. Connectivity issues can disrupt classes, hinder communication, and impact the overall learning experience. This is particularly challenging in regions with unstable internet connections.

3. Lack of Physical Interaction: The absence of physical presence can sometimes limit the effectiveness of language learning. Non-verbal cues and body language, important aspects of communication, are harder to convey and interpret through a screen.

4. Cultural Barriers: While online teachers often serve as cultural bridges, nuances and deeper cultural contexts might be harder to grasp in an online setting compared to in-person interactions or immersion in a Chinese-speaking environment.

5. Self-Discipline Required: Online learning requires a higher degree of self-discipline and motivation from students. The absence of a physical classroom environment can lead to distractions and reduced focus.


1. Flexibility and Convenience: Online classes offer unparalleled flexibility. Students can learn from anywhere in the world, choosing times that fit their schedules. This convenience is particularly beneficial for busy professionals or students with tight schedules.

2. Access to a Global Pool of Teachers: Online learning opens up access to a vast pool of qualified teachers worldwide, allowing students to find instructors that best match their learning style, level, and interests.

3. Personalized Learning Experience: Many online Chinese teachers offer personalized lesson plans tailored to the individual needs and progress of each student. This contrasts with the one-size-fits-all approach often seen in traditional classroom settings.

4. Variety of Learning Resources: Online learning platforms often provide a wealth of resources, including interactive tools, multimedia content, and diverse learning materials that can cater to different learning styles.

5. Cultural Exchange from Home: Despite the potential for cultural barriers, online learning still offers significant cultural exchange opportunities. Students can learn about Chinese culture, customs, and social norms directly from native speakers, enriching their language learning experience.

6. Cost-Effective: Online classes can be more cost-effective than traditional language courses. They eliminate the need for commuting and often offer more competitive pricing structures.

How to Find The Best Online Teachers

1. Define Your Chinese Learning Goals

Finding the best online Chinese teacher starts with a clear understanding of your personal learning goals. These goals will guide you in selecting a teacher whose expertise aligns perfectly with your needs.

Firstly, consider the purpose of your Chinese learning. Are you learning Chinese for travel, business, cultural interest, or academic reasons? Each purpose requires a different teaching approach.

For travel, you’ll need a focus on conversational skills and common phrases, while business Chinese requires familiarity with formal vocabulary and etiquette. If your interest lies in culture, a teacher who integrates cultural elements into lessons is ideal. For academic learners, a teacher experienced in exam preparation and formal language structures is essential.

Equally important is identifying your current proficiency level in Chinese. This will help you find a teacher who specializes in teaching students at your stage of learning.

Beginners need a teacher skilled in foundational grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, with the patience to address initial challenges. If you’re at an intermediate level, your teacher should help expand your vocabulary and conversational skills, pushing you beyond the basics. Advanced learners require a teacher who can refine their proficiency with a focus on complex grammatical structures and idiomatic expressions.

Understanding your learning objectives and proficiency level ensures that the teacher’s expertise and teaching style align with what you aim to achieve, making your learning experience more targeted and effective.

2. Research and Select Learning Platforms

Begin by focusing on reputable platforms that have established a good track record in online language education. Platforms like iTalki, Preply, and Verbling are popular choices that host a diverse array of language teachers, including those specializing in Chinese.

Additionally, there are websites dedicated solely to teaching Chinese, which can offer more specialized and focused resources, such as Touch Chinese and so forth.

These platforms typically ensure a basic level of quality and reliability, as they vet their teachers and provide a structured teaching environment. It’s important to choose platforms that are well-known for their quality of service and have a robust infrastructure to support online learning. This includes reliable video conferencing tools, interactive learning materials, and a user-friendly interface.

Once you have a list of potential platforms, the next step is to look at the reviews and ratings of the teachers on these sites.

Ratings and reviews from previous students are invaluable in gauging the quality of teaching. High ratings generally indicate effective teaching methods, good communication skills, and a positive overall student experience.

Read through the reviews to get a sense of each teacher’s style, reliability, and ability to engage students. Pay attention to comments about how teachers handle various aspects of language learning, such as grammar, pronunciation, and cultural insights.

Remember, a teacher who worked well for one student may not necessarily be the right fit for you, so look for reviews that align with your specific learning goals and preferences. This research will help you narrow down your options to the teachers who are most likely to meet your individual learning needs and preferences.

Here’s a summary of comparison between e-learning platform and online Chinese school.

   PlatformOnline School
Course Consultant  X
Are tutors interviewed face-to-face before being taken on by the company?X
Do tutors need to provide references before being taken on by the company?X
Are tutors offered continual training?X
Price$7 – $25$15 – $50
Trial LessonFree – 50% regular cost Free
Native Chinese teacher
Minimum hours to buy 1 Usually starting 10
Weekly minimum classes No Minimum 0 – 5

3. Check Teacher Qualifications

Finding the best online Chinese teachers involves a thorough check of their qualifications, a key aspect that directly impacts the quality of education you receive.

Begin by looking for certifications that specifically pertain to teaching Chinese as a foreign language. One prominent certification to look for is TCSOL (Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages), which indicates that the teacher has received formal training in the methodologies and practices of teaching Chinese to non-native speakers.

Such certifications are a testament to the teacher’s commitment to their profession and their expertise in instructional strategies specifically designed for Chinese language education. Certified teachers are often more adept at handling the unique challenges of language teaching, such as explaining complex grammar structures and guiding pronunciation practice.

In addition to certifications, consider the teacher’s educational background. Teachers who hold a degree in Chinese language, linguistics, or education are often preferable. This formal education equips them with a deeper understanding of the Chinese language, its structure, and its cultural context.

Furthermore, a degree in education or a related field suggests that the teacher has a solid foundation in pedagogical principles, crucial for effective teaching. Teachers with this background are likely to be more skilled in creating comprehensive lesson plans, adapting their teaching methods to different learning styles, and providing a more holistic learning experience.

When a teacher combines professional qualifications with a strong educational background, it significantly enhances the likelihood of a high-quality learning experience for their students.

4. Experience Matters

A key to finding the best online Chinese teachers is to assess their experience, as it often correlates with the effectiveness of their teaching methods and their ability to cater to diverse student needs.

Experienced teachers, having spent considerable time in the field, are likely to have honed their teaching methods, developed effective strategies for language instruction, and acquired a deeper understanding of the challenges learners face at different stages. They bring a wealth of practical knowledge to their teaching, which can be invaluable in helping students overcome common hurdles in language learning.

Moreover, seasoned teachers often have a repertoire of teaching styles and techniques at their disposal, allowing them to adapt their approach to suit individual learning preferences and needs.

When considering a teacher’s experience, it’s also important to look at their experience with specific demographics or learning requirements that align with your own goals.

For instance, if you are learning Chinese for business purposes, a teacher who has experience teaching business Chinese would be ideal. They would be familiar with the specific vocabulary, formal language structures, and cultural nuances relevant to the corporate world.

Similarly, if you’re seeking Chinese lessons for children, a teacher experienced in early language education would be preferable, as they would understand how to engage young learners and make learning enjoyable and effective for them.

Teachers who have specialized experience are more likely to provide lessons that are not just linguistically accurate but also contextually relevant, enhancing the overall learning experience.

5. Trial Lessons

Don’t miss the advantage of trial lessons, a feature many online learning platforms offer.

These trial classes are a valuable opportunity to directly assess various aspects of a teacher’s approach before committing to a regular schedule.

During these sessions, you can evaluate the teacher’s teaching style, communication skills, and compatibility with your learning preferences.

Observe how they present the material: Is it engaging and well-structured? Does the teacher use interactive tools and methods that resonate with your learning style? This initial interaction is crucial to determine whether the teacher’s approach aligns with how you learn best.

Equally important is to pay attention to the teacher’s interaction style during these trial lessons.

A good language teacher should not only be knowledgeable but also patient, encouraging, and adept at creating a supportive learning environment.

Notice how they handle corrections and mistakes; an effective teacher will correct errors constructively, ensuring that you understand and learn from them. Their ability to provide feedback in a positive, encouraging manner can significantly impact your motivation and confidence in learning the language.

These trial classes give you a glimpse into what your future learning experience will be like, helping you make an informed decision about whether or not to continue with that particular teacher.

6. Teaching Style and Materials

A key attribute of a great teacher is their ability to adapt their teaching methods to match the student’s individual learning style and pace.

This adaptability ensures that the learning process is tailored to your specific needs, making it more efficient and enjoyable.

Pay attention to how the teacher adjusts their approach based on your feedback, questions, and performance in class. Do they offer different strategies to explain difficult concepts? Are they responsive to your learning preferences, whether you are a visual learner, an auditory learner, or someone who learns best through practice and repetition?

An adaptable teacher can significantly enhance your learning experience by making complex concepts more accessible and the learning process more aligned with your personal learning rhythm.

In addition to teaching style, the quality of learning materials and resources provided by the teacher is crucial. High-quality materials contribute significantly to your understanding and retention of the language.

Check whether the teacher uses comprehensive and up-to-date resources, including textbooks, workbooks, multimedia content, and practical exercises.

These materials should not only cover the linguistic aspects of the language but also incorporate cultural elements, providing a well-rounded learning experience. Well-structured and engaging materials can make the learning process more effective and enjoyable.

A teacher who invests in providing quality resources shows a commitment to their students’ learning progress and success.

7. Flexibility and Availability

The ability to align schedules, especially when dealing with potential time zone differences, is essential for a smooth and stress-free learning experience.

Before committing to a teacher, make sure their available hours match your preferred learning times. This compatibility is vital to maintain a consistent learning routine, which is key for effective language acquisition.

If you are in a different time zone than the teacher, verify that they can accommodate lessons at times that are convenient for you.

Additionally, understanding a teacher’s cancellation and rescheduling policies is crucial.

Life is unpredictable, and there may be times when you need to cancel or reschedule a lesson.

Check the teacher’s policies on this matter to avoid any misunderstandings or inconveniences in the future. Are their policies flexible enough to accommodate last-minute changes? What are the conditions or penalties, if any, for cancellations or rescheduling?

A teacher with a fair and understanding approach to rescheduling shows a level of professionalism and respect for your time and commitments.

8. Cost

It’s important to compare prices across various teachers and platforms to find an option that fits within your budget.

However, it’s crucial to remember that the most expensive option isn’t necessarily the best. High fees don’t always guarantee superior teaching quality, just as extremely low prices might be indicative of inexperienced or less qualified teachers.

The key is to find a middle ground where the cost reflects the teacher’s qualifications, experience, and the quality of instruction you will receive.

In addition to the cost of lessons, it’s important to understand the payment terms set by the teacher or the platform.

Are the terms clear, straightforward, and reasonable? Check for details regarding payment frequency – whether it’s per lesson, monthly, or in a package format. Also, be aware of any additional costs, such as materials or subscription fees, which might not be included in the lesson price.

By carefully considering both the cost and the payment terms, you can ensure that your investment in learning Chinese is both sensible and sustainable.

9. Continuous Assessment on Your Chinese Learning Progress

A proficient teacher should not only impart knowledge but also provide regular, constructive feedback on your progress.

This feedback is essential for understanding your strengths and areas that need improvement. It should be specific, actionable, and encouraging, aimed at guiding your learning journey rather than just evaluating your performance. Regular feedback helps in maintaining your motivation and focus, ensuring that you are on the right track towards achieving your language learning goals.

Equally important is the teacher’s ability to track your progress over time. This involves monitoring your development in various aspects of the language, such as vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and conversational skills.

A good teacher will use this information to adapt future lessons to your evolving needs, ensuring that the instruction remains relevant and challenging as you advance.

This adaptability is key to a personalized learning experience, where lessons are tailored to address your specific weaknesses and build on your strengths.

Bonus Tip: Actively Engage with Online Chinese Language Communities

These communities can be found on various platforms, including language learning forums, social media groups, and dedicated websites for Chinese learners.

Members of these communities often share their experiences with different teachers and platforms, providing insights that you might not find through simple online searches. These personal recommendations can guide you towards teachers who have proven effective for other learners with similar goals and learning styles as yours.

Furthermore, these online communities can be a rich source of additional learning materials, tips, and strategies for learning Chinese.

Additionally, being part of such a community keeps you connected and motivated in your language learning journey. It’s a space where you can share your own progress and challenges, receiving support and encouragement from those who understand the nuances of learning Chinese.

DigMandarin is also one of the places that you can learn and share simultaneously.


Finding the best online Chinese teachers involves a series of thoughtful steps that, when followed diligently, can lead to a rewarding and effective language learning experience.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you can explore the vast landscape of online Chinese learning with confidence, ensuring that you find a teacher who not only meets your linguistic needs but also enriches your understanding of Chinese culture.

Remember, the right teacher can transform your language learning experience, opening doors to new opportunities and deeper cultural connections. It is as much about connecting with a guide who understands your learning style as it is about their expertise in the Chinese language.

As you start this exciting journey, embrace the diversity and possibilities that online learning offers. Happy learning!


Benjamin is a language and culture enthusiast. He has been learning Mandarin Chinese more than 6 years. He lived in Shanghai, HongKong and Singapore.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I’m an intermediate student who is abled to sit for hsk3 and with one month serious training I can sit for hsk4. But my only frailty is lack of access to communicate with those who had skills in particular aspect of Chinese. I’m very pleased to come across this note. Thanks alot

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