Online learning resource uses underwear-clad models to teach Mandarin
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An online learning resource has made headlines for its use of topless models to teach Mandarin. Featuring a cast of busty Eastern models and a bespectacled cartoon professor, Mr. Fung, students of SexyMandarin.com are supplied a series of interactive videos that combine softcore girl on girl action with situation-based language learning. While it certainly caught our attention, we’re inclined to wonder how much learning is actually going on. The website is the brainchild of topless model Kaoru Kikuchi, 25, who runs the Hong Kong-based company with partner/director Michael Gleissner. Kikuchi graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2008 with a degree in architecture. She moved to the Netherlands to pursue a modelling career and has been featured in magazines such as FHM. Kikuchi’s unique approach to language learning is, quite unsurprisingly, going viral. As of July 3rd, her videos have drawn more than 450,000 views. She’s recently expanded her website to include Japanese language version of the service which is set to be just as popular. However, the website’s success rate in educating users on conversational Mandarin is still unknown. RazorTV, the televisual arm of the Singapore Press Holdings, interviewed Singaporeans for their thoughts on the series, and most said that they found it inappropriate more than educational. Others remarked that the use of scantily clad models is demeaning to women and the language itself. The videos themselves have attracted mixed press. A senior teacher from Beijing's Mandarin Connection School, called the initiative “attention-grabbing”. OddityCentral.com prefer “ingenious”. The Chicago Tribune went as far as to call it “an excellent primer in basic Mandarin” and a refreshing take on what can be a repetitive and onerous task.
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