Get the Best From Your Online Language Tutor
Make sure you have a tutor who has the imagination, the
wherewithal, the resourcefulness to keep the conversation going.
Hi there, Steve Kaufmann here, today I want to talk about how to get the
most out of your online language tutor.
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So in an earlier video, I said that I'm gonna work harder on my output.
I'm gonna, you know, work deliberately with my Persian tutor
uh, twice a week, we're gonna have deliberate subjects of conversation.
I'm gonna prepare for them and we're gonna see how that goes
over the next three months.
I'm particularly looking at how to effectively use LingQ and the content
at LingQ and the functionality at LingQ to integrate that with
working with an online tutor.
So this got me to thinking about how to get the most out of a tutor online tutor.
Remember there are more and more online tutors.
There are online tutors for every language.
You can find them at sites like italkie or verbling, you can find
them independent, uh, online tutors.
There are lots.
so it's becoming, if not the mainstream compared to say language
schools, more and more common as a way of learning a language.
So how do we benefit the most?
Obviously we want an online tutor primarily to have someone to speak
to, uh, remember that, that the...
and possibly to explain the grammar.
But to me that's not so important.
I can find lots of explanations of grammar.
I don't need the teacher to walk me through the grammar.
Um, I'm also somewhat skeptical, skeptical as to how much
benefit there is in corrections.
It can help, but it's not necessary.
We do need the tutor for speaking because eventually to speak well you have to
speak a lot, but I mean, unless you get five hours a day with a tutor or even
three hours a day with a tutor every day, which can get quite expensive, you know?
In fact, you have to have a strategy where you're mixing the tutor in
with your other activities in order to come up with something that is
cost efficient and time efficient.
Now, I always get back to this idea that to speak well you have to speak a lot,
obviously if you're in the country, if you have friends, if you go out with
friends or you're working in an office where everybody speaks the target
language, that's an ideal scenario and you're gonna learn to speak more quickly.
And this was my situation in Japan where I did a lot of speaking in Japanese,
but I still did a lot of input.
And so I think the secret in terms of working with a tutor is to
mix in the input with the hours that you spend with the tutor.
Quickly some thoughts on, on what I expect of a tutor, I expect the
tutor to lead the conversation.
I don't want...
and I have had tutors where if there's a lull in the conversation,
my tutor, most often a female, she's waiting for me to say something.
I struggle to speak the language.
I'm not gonna say anything.
The tutor has to keep the conversation going.
So that's number one, make sure you have a tutor who has the imagination,
the wherewithal, the resourcefulness to keep the conversation going when
there's a love, lull she comes up with a new subject, a new question,
something to keep the conversation going.
So I think that's number one.
Number two, make sure you have a tutor who is encouraging.
Uh, I have had tutors who make a face when I make a mistake.
That's not very good.
You have to wanna get together with your tutor.
You wanna feel encouraged when you interact with your tutor, even if
you haven't improved that much.
If the tutor tells you you have improved, that's encouraging.
So you wanna make sure you have a tutor who encourages you and
you enjoy being with that tutor.
Very, very important.
Another thing is I always insist that my tutor gives me a report with 10 or 15
words or phrases that I struggled with.
And ideally that...
and they put this in, say, a word document and ideally, and without any
English, you know, just the target language and then they record this.
So that then creates a lesson for me in LingQ, a lesson that I
can go back to six months later.
All of these conversation reports become part of a course, which I can
go back to regularly and review the words that were important to me at
a certain stage, which I wanted to use and maybe didn't use correctly.
Another thing that we're now starting to do with my tutor twice a week, which
is, you know, economical because twice a week, that's, you know, it costs
money per hour to be with a tutor.
But she has me focused on specific topics.
So we are staying with economics.
I wanted to move to another subject and she said, no, we
wanna stay with economics.
We're gonna stay with one subject for a while so that you
get used to that vocabulary.
And she then sends me links to articles in Persian, uh, where I
come across this kind of vocabulary.
And so I become familiar with it.
So here again she is kind of directing me and keeping me focused from my side.
Because I have two sessions a week with her, I am motivated to improve.
Uh, most of my learning at LingQ is, is by myself.
So I I'm motivated, but when I know that I'm gonna be discussing economics again
for the third time in a row with my tutor, I wanna do better than the last.
So that is quite motivating.
So the tutor not only is an opportunity for me to, to try to use what I've been,
you know, inputting into my brain, but I'm also motivated I want to do better.
And if I'm lucky, she'll tell me I did better, even if it isn't true,
but all of that contributes to keeping me going, sending me back with more
enthusiasm to my input activities.
Now, obviously in the final, final analysis to be a, you know, very
proficient speaker of Persian let's say I would, I would have to
spend a lot of time speaking with Iranians in, in Persian, in Farsi.
Uh, but in this way that I work with, with my tutor, I am building
up my potential, my capability.
And I notice now that I understand more than I did before, and
if I understand more, I will eventually be able to speak better.
I won't be able to remember all the words, but I will gradually
be able to speak better.
I have had this experience in preparation for a trip to the Czech
Republic, uh, Romania, Greece.
I always step up by interaction with my tutors to two or three times
a week before going over there.
And in fact, I sometimes try to arrange for tutors, uh, as I did
again with Ukrainian, interaction with people while I'm over there, because
it's sometimes difficult to, uh, interact meaningfully with the locals.
But I, in any case you have to prepare for it.
And that's why I think, depending on your goals, it's worthwhile having a
deliberate strategy in how you wanna work with your online tutor, because
it's a tremendous opportunity that we have today, which didn't exist
20 years ago to find people from the country where the language is spoken.
People who have different personalities, so you can have more than one tutor,
and all of that helps keep your, you know, largely in my case, input based
language, earning moving forward.
So just some suggestions on how to work with a tutor.
And I'll leave you with a couple of videos that I did on a similar
subject, uh, a while back, just to see if my views have changed.
Thank you for listening.
By for now.