Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett (a.k.a. “Miss Panda”) is an intercultural language consultant and trainer, the author of Let’s Learn Mandarin Chinese with Miss Panda! and First Mandarin Sounds: an Awesome Chinese Word Book, and the host of the Playful Chinese podcast. I love her approach to language learning, especially her emphasis on play and having fun. As she puts it eloquently:

“Playing is learning. Learning is playing.”

Topics Discussed

In the interview, we discuss:

  • How Amanda first got interested in foreign languages.
  • Her journey to learn English in Taiwan.
  • The critical role of interest and passion in mastering a language.
  • The limitations of classroom-based learning.
  • The role of an effective language teacher.
  • The differences between child and adult language acquisition.
  • The problem of focusing too much on the result, and not enough on the process.
  • The power of using music in language learning.
  • The most common mistakes Chinese language learners make.
  • How to learn Chinese characters using story-based mnemonics instead of rote memory.
  • The dangers of perfectionism and resource overwhelm in language learning.
  • The many ways in which Mandarin Chinese is easy.
  • The power of play in language learning, especially for children.
  • When to start speaking and how to start communicating with few words.
  • Finding a balance point between growth and trauma in learning.
  • The importance of using your “Chinese brain.”

Concepts, People & Resources Mentioned

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