Lesson Topic Suggestions

June 18, 2009, 09:16 AM posted in General Discussion

Dear All,

If you have an idea for a lesson or want some tricky grammar question aswered on Qingwen, please fill in this google form. If the form doesn't work for you, feel free to add your comments below. 



-The ChinesePod Team

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June 18, 2009, 09:27 AM

LEVEL: Advanced

TOPIC: Dinosaurs

NOTE: Crucial if you have kids!


LEVEL: UI or Advanced

TOPIC: Star Trek

NOTE: To be able to follow some of Changye's most interesting insights!


LEVEL: UI or Advanced

TOPIC Enterprise Systems

NOTE: ERP, BI, CRM, SCM - and the particular issues of those in Chinese enterprises


LEVEL: Advanced

TOPIC: The political system in China

NOTE: Surprisingly, this hasn't been covered yet. Boring, I admit, but it usually fills up the upper screen of Sina...



TOPIC: A series on the dynasties

NOTE: This is presupposed in many discussions.


LEVEL: Intermediate

TOPIC: Chinese Grammar

NOTE: Discussing grammar in Chinese (beyond the QW "Podcast language part 3")


LEVEL: Intermediate

TOPIC: Body parts, anatomy, illnesses and injuries

NOTE: A neverending source of conversation topics


LEVEL: Intermediate

TOPIC: At the hospital

NOTE: If you need it, you need it

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June 19, 2009, 09:56 AM

Hi Guys,

I use my GPS here in Los Angeles all the time speaking to me in Mandarin. While I enjoy it and have picked up most of what its saying (if only having heard it many times in English) I'd like to see a lesson that goes into the specifics of things you might hear your GPS saying.

For instance mine will tell me in 1Km stay to the right, then exit Interstate 5 etc. Even though I know what it says in English, I still have a hard time matching up what I hear sometimes. :/

At Newb or Elementary Level would be nice, but Even Intermediate might work too :)

BTW, I get strange looks all the time when listening to ChinesePod on my iPod at the gym if people can hear it. This would only be in a quiet place like the locker room or sauna (co-ed) and the people that are the most surprised are older Asian women :) 

I think that's kinda cool!



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June 18, 2009, 10:21 AM

(If Henning says it doesn't exist--it doesn't exist on CPod!)

LEVEL:  Upper Inter
TOPIC:  Stretching (for starters, I'd like to know how to say stretching) and physical conditioning--would be willing even to write a draft of a dialogue containing the stuff I'm interested in.
NOTES:  I'm sure this topic may bore many people but I think about it all the time and actually find it quite distressing not to be able to discuss it in Mandarin.

Okay, my selfish suggestion out of the way.

Reviewing how to say "In ~" "On ~".
NOTES:  How to say for instance, "the author discusses this point extensively in this paragraph". Can't seem to think of any other examples now. I'm not sure when 里 / 上 / 当中 etc. are most appropriate, when 在 is/isn't needed and such. Hope my meaning is clear.

LEVEL:  Upper Inter (it might help more poddies who most want to hear this in Intermediate, but then the content would have to be scaled back)
TOPIC:  Interviews with non-native CPod personalities--How I Studied Mandarin.
  There's always a lot of helpful advice given throughout the discussion boards of course, but I think it would be interesting if Jenny or other native speaker teachers got John, Pete and Matt to talk about specific difficulties and how they worked to "master" those areas, in a proper interview format. Advice also for those of us who are not necessarily able now to go to China or live in an immersion environment.

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June 18, 2009, 10:35 AM


TOPIC: Buying pearls (in Suzhou)

NOTE: Personal interest :-)

Level: IM / UI

TOPIC: Lazy expat wives (series?)

Note: :-P

Slightly off topic: Out of curiosity I would like to know what is the status on the Cpod Uservoice? Four ideas have been implemented and 25 accepted: what will be next?

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June 18, 2009, 10:54 AM

LEVEL: Intermediate

TOPIC: Marriage - traditions, preparations, actual event, registration, games, wine drinking

NOTE: euh... personal interest - but I guess, I'm not the only one ;-)


TOPIC: Cars, car parts, bike, bike parts

NOTE: I think some mobility should be included, not only taxis ;P

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June 18, 2009, 11:02 AM


TOPIC: moving to china [visa, plane ticket (e.g. for inner china), buying/renting a flat, renovating a flat, buying stuff to put inside the flat, asking for the next super market/shop/ikea, ordering telephone, (digital-,satellite-)tv subscription, getting to know the neighbors (customs, gestures, presents, talk topics), finding a kindergarten/school for the kids]

NOTE: hmmm, I guess that could serve quite some lessons

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June 18, 2009, 11:05 AM


TOPIC: finding a club/association

NOTE: For me the most important item to get in touch and start to network with the Chinese community. If something like this exists :)


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June 18, 2009, 11:39 AM


TOPIC:The complicated chinese family tree

NOTE: scenario could be sitting with a Chinese friend and looking at their family photos, explaining who is who and how X is related to Y.


Level: UI

Topic: Museum vocab (pottery, artifacts, anthropological terms)

Level: UI

Topic: Farming - crop rotation, seeding/harvest, germination, soil qualities, irrigation

Level: Any

Topic: Organic food


And I second the dynasty lesson, though there are many other easy ways to learn this information. Its importance to the Chinese mind set is something westerners don't often appreciate.

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June 18, 2009, 12:09 PM

LEVEL: elementary / intermediate

TOPIC: politics

NOTE: voting, elections, premiers, presidents, etc.

LEVEL: elementary / intermediate

TOPIC: traditional literature, legends

NOTE: extensive background notes are appreciated.

LEVEL: elementary / intermediate


NOTE:both ancient and more recent.Opium wars, Long March, Hong Kong's return, status of Taiwan, Boxer rebellion.

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June 18, 2009, 12:10 PM

LEVEL: newbie

TOPIC: mice and mouse traps



LEVEL: newbie

TOPIC: hamsters

NOTE: we've covered cats and dogs, but have a lot more potential pets to inspire new lessons

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June 18, 2009, 09:47 AM

LEVEL: elementary

TOPIC: theatre

NOTE: suggesting to go to the theatre, buying tickets etc.

LEVEL: elementary / intermediate

TOPIC: music

NOTE: talking about music, pop, rock'n'roll, punk, hardcore, electronic

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June 18, 2009, 02:04 PM

A long post, but I'm in a brainstorming mood.  I've sent lists of lesson ideas before, and I've noticed that most of them have turned into actual lessons.  Thanks!

Level: INT/UI

Topic: series on Chinese cities/provinces/tourist attractions

Note: I've really enjoyed the 'world cities' series.  Why not do the same for China?  Seems useful for tourists and expats living here.

Level: UI/ADV

Topic: Series on Chinese celebrities, important historical figures, etc.  Some big ones that come to mind are: Deng Xiaoping, Yao Ming, Zhang Yimou, Guo Jingjing (diver), Jay Zhou. 

Note:  I really enjoyed the previous ADV lessons on Zhang Ziyi and Gong Li.  This series could also be complemented by more lessons on famous non-Chinese

Level: UI/ADV


  • vegetarianism
  • buying a car
  • AIDS
  • amusement parks / Disneyland
  • 'opening and reform policy' 改革开放
  • a TV game show
  • talking about research; scenario could be explaining an interesting experiment and its results
  • terrorism
  • Chinese opera
  • Chinese traditional music
  • Lenovo (perhaps a few more lessons on some big Chinese companies)
  • corruption (one of the social issues that seem slightly less 'sensitive' than others)

Level INT/UI

  • hockey
  • darts
  • dealing with a bad haircut
  • Chinese chess / international chess
  • ballet
  • getting a massage
  • talking about a TV show
  • learning to play a musical instrument
  • talking about a rock show
  • talking about a film festival
  • visit to the doctor

Also, I second the idea on more Chinese stories and legends.  Maybe a story series?

I love the new advanced series (the eunuch and adventure).  You have some great writers at Chinesepod.

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June 19, 2009, 01:45 AM


TOPIC:  Shanghai Subway Expansion Project L8

NOTES: One of my engineering friends is the project manager for this job. It could make for an interesting series.


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June 19, 2009, 02:48 AM


@matthiask@sushan@christian@kimiik@foleadu Thank you guys, for your great ideas! We'll consider them seriously! Oh really interesting!

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June 19, 2009, 04:06 AM

I would like more lessons on history and popular culture phenomena. e.g. 芙蓉姐姐 and 三国时代

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June 19, 2009, 04:27 AM

@CPOD please delete my post (above)

I would do it myself, but there doesn't seem to be a utility to allow users to delete their own posts.

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June 19, 2009, 04:48 AM

pchenery, I'm not seeing why you wish to delete your post but it is good we're not able to delete our own words later on. So many more thoughtless comments (from myself included) would appear up here if we could.

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June 19, 2009, 04:54 AM

LEVEL upper-intermediate - advanced
TOPIC rock band
NOTES I used to be in a band, and I want to know how to describe it.  I hope it is more from a Western perspective, so I can express my ideas about rock.  What I mean is, I have heard plenty about/of Chinese pop/rock music.  (No offense to Chinese music fans, but I rarely enjoy Chinese KTV rock.)  Even though my music tastes are quite diverse, I think a good starting point would be hard rock.  I think if I could describe an AC/DC concert, I would be in good shape.  Come to think about a series would be great.  The alternative music show, the hip-hop show, the house-party show, and so on.  Anyway, I hope for details.  I'm afraid this would be given elementary status, and I would be introduced to "play guitar" or "music is energetic" when I really want to know, "wailed on his guitar" and "got high off of the crowd's energy" and so on.

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June 19, 2009, 09:53 AM

First, I'd like to second henning's Star Trek suggestion! Could be a great lesson! It should include some discussion of the cultural significance (if any) of such a phenomenon. (@henning, when I read your post and saw the next suggestion was "Enterprise Systems" I was really excited! Turbolifts, warp coils, and inertial dampers, all in Chinese! Cool!)

Second I'd like to say that I would really like to see more lessons that at least try to tell stories, (well thought out if possible), in a series if necessary, perhaps something like the Jizhou series. So many Intermediate and Upper-Intermediate lessons are just one-off 'frames' for the language and vocab featured. Nothing wrong with that, most of them are great, but if we could have more drama, more characters, more conversations that seem like they're part of a real, meaningful narrative, I for one would really enjoy it. Perhaps you could retell some of the classic Chinese myths and folk-tales this way.

I'd like to see a lesson or two that focus on popular Chinese songs in an interesting way. For example you could do a lesson (similar to the Lei Feng one) where a student is learning a song, the teacher or friend is talking about the meaning, the history, the cultural significance, etc.

And finally I'd like to see a lesson (UI preferably) that looks at the language nuances relating to love and seduction, (but done sensitively and with as little corniness as possible.) How to chat people up, (from the points of view of both sexes,) how to express deeper feelings, how to inspire trust.

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June 18, 2009, 01:30 PM


TOPIC: Being quarantined after a possible virus infection

NOTE: Could be useful