1) Teaching. After we arrived back from Beijing I started to teach a Sunday school class every Sunday. This has been a great opportunity for me to really start using what I have studied over the past year and a half. I teach around 30 minutes.
2) Characters. Also, after returning from Beijing I started working through a new work book of “Spoken Chinese” to learn Characters. Though that may sound weird, it has really been beneficial. The book is full of text that start with a basic set of Characters, adding characters in each lesson, thus building on what you can read. Since it is a book made for spoken Chinese, there is no writing necessary and thus we can move through it quick focusing on reading the character while correcting tones, pronunciation, and grammar.
3) Translating. I have translated in class as well. Listening to a sermon in English and then translating it to my teacher. This has been challenging and helpful. I translated for the first time in a “live” setting this past Sunday.
4) My Level. I seem to have a functional grasp on grammar, tones, and pronunciation. I am ready to move from the “survival” stage to the “make an impact” stage.
5) Vocabulary and Listening. These are still the weakest areas but hopefully it is something that will improve in time since vocabulary will affect my listening.