It has been a year since I posted my last discussion about improving my chinese speaking. As an update my confidence has improved a little in speaking Chinese and I have many native Chinese language partners who need help with their english so they help me with my chinese in return. They are all nice people but I've helped them more with their english than they have with my chinese and with living in England they automatically switch to english whenever I have conversations with them or I speak to them in chinese and they reply in english! I know I need to be more assertive and ask them to speak only in chinese but I keep falling into the same bad habits as I'`m quite laidback about it. To put the icing on this cake, lol, I also seem to improve more when I'm relaxed than when I put pressure on myself to be disciplined! I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't!
I wondered if any westerners who are learning chinese have had similar experiences?
I think one reason for the use of English is the Chinese native speaker is far better in English than most learners are in Chinese so it tends to switch into English. I think chat partners are not so good for beginners unless you can organize reciprocal learning. If you do, I think you need some ground rules - 10 minutes for each language say.
The biggest problem I have had with chat partners is:
The ones who panic at the last minute and won't speak to me. I am a bit old fashioned and if we arrange a time. I expect the other person to be there.
The ones who have nothing to say - they have not thought of sending a page or a topic they want to discuss.
And of course - like Tamara, I have fallen back into English during a chat. My fault usually.
So far i have never found a chat partner that has worked and I usually pay for a tutor.