We’ve all seen the promises of language learning sites claiming that you can get fluent for free just by listening to podcasts. However, no app or online course will ever replace the benefits of an experienced, professional teacher. But the question on everybody’s lips is: where and how do I find a good online language teacher?
While individual classes can be expensive, they’ll save you money in the long run. You’ll get a customized curriculum to push you to achieve your goals and acquire usable language skills faster.
When deciding where and how to take your language classes, it’s important to find a teacher that meets your specific needs. But there are thousands of teachers to choose from. This can make it difficult to find one that’s right for your personality, schedule, and budget. That’s why at Learn&Co we give students in depth initial consultations with our tutors. This way, you can feel confident you’re making the right choice. At the end of the day, you want to find a teacher you can relate to and get along with. One that helps you feel excited and motivated to keep learning.
The last thing anybody would want is to have to cancel your language lessons a few months down the line because you have come to the realisation that it is just not working. Maybe you are not connecting with your tutor. Or you find that not enough time is being committed to your course. Or something else might crop up during the process that makes you feel as if you regret even taking the course in the first place. This can all be avoided by considering certain important questions and requirements before you settle for a teacher. Let me break them down for you:
- Know Which Language You Want To Learn
- Tutor’s Language History And Knowledge
- Availability On Both Sides
- What Is Your Budget?
- What Do You Look For In A Teacher?
Know Which Language You Want To Learn
It may seem obvious, but it has to be stated that the first step that goes towards finding the right language teacher for you is to actually know the language you intend to learn. It is a possibility that you may be unsure of this. This could make the process longer. You would have to refine the teacher options through other means, without specifically relating your search to the language you wish to learn. In the end, you might decide on a language. But not because it’s the one you want to learn the most, but it is the one that remains after filtering out the possible other options.
Also, it is important to ask yourself some crucial questions. What are you looking for? Are you hoping to reach a specific milestone like being able to watch an entire movie in the language without subtitles? Is it maybe a qualification you are going for? Or do you just like learning as a casual hobby? Knowing the answer to what you are looking for can help you to determine what it is you’d like to spend your time learning. Especially because you know what you would like your end goal to be.
Having as much information as possible will make for a more seamless process in being matched to the right language teacher for you. When you know what language you want to learn and what you intend to get from said language, you can gauge which tutor would be greatest for you in making it to this level. Speaking of levels, you should also be able to determine what level you are currently at. Are you at the Beginner stage? Conversational? Advanced? What level do you intend to get to? This can determine the ways in which you will be taught. Of course, different teachers have different approaches. But hearing from different tutors the way they intend to teach you based on what level you are at and plan to get to, can really steer you in the direction of your perfect teacher.
Tutor’s Language History And Knowledge
The beauty of language teachers is that they are all different. Even down to two tutors who speak the same language. Something important to know and bear in mind whilst embarking on the mission of choosing a teacher is that there may be something specific one may know. You may find this to be the deciding factor for you. For example, when thinking about a language, you might decide that you want to learn a particular dialect. Like wanting to learn Spanish but specifically Andalusian Spanish. Because of this, you would need a tutor that specialises in this dialect. One who knows the history of it enough to teach you with confidence.
Though, regardless of whether you have narrowed down the dialect you are interested in being taught, you might still think it is crucial to have a tutor who has a certain level of knowledge on the language, country and culture. For this reason, you may seek someone who is from the actual country behind the language. For example, there are several types of Arabic. If you choose to learn Egyptian Arabic, you may prefer somebody who is actually from Egypt. Perhaps will feel more comfortable in their knowledge. Furthermore, it might be important to you that your teacher knows a lot about the country associated with the language, as well as the culture. They can incorporate this into their teaching. This can potentially lead to you feeling more connected to the language.
In addition to this, a particular criteria for you could potentially be having a common language with the language teacher you decide on. This does not necessarily have to be English. However, having a language that the both of you speak or are very familiar with can have an impact on how you are taught. It can affect how much you understand the tutor. It can also give you common ground to know how to evoke comfort in your sessions on both ends.
Availability On Both Sides
Learning a new language requires time, commitment, dedication, and consistency. It is advisable to be honest with yourself and examine just how much time you can put into it. Naturally, everybody is different with their own priorities and schedules in their daily lives. So it is understandable if one person can commit to four lessons a week. Another person may be able to dedicate only one day of the week to having a session with their tutor. However, this also applies to teachers as well. You have to ensure that the way your schedule works is aligned with the way your potential tutor’s schedule works as well.
It should also be noted that to really excel in the education you are receiving, you must dedicate some time to it outside of your lessons. This includes doing homework; reading and researching more; and/or partaking in activities. This thought process should also be able to make things easier for you when picking your preferred teacher. You may come across a tutor whose schedule appears to be different to yours in the first instance. Then, factoring in the outside work you have to do on top of that, it would not be a wise decision to compromise. The lessons are just as important as the work you do outside of them. So, if you find that this may be difficult due to conflicting schedules, then the right teacher still awaits you.
What Is Your Budget?
Another very essential aspect to be certain of before deciding on a teacher is your budget. Whilst learning the language matters, the amount you are paying arguably matters the most to you specifically because it will only have an effect on you. We at Learn&Co do not want you to take on more than you can when it comes to pricing, because you feel as if there is only one option available for you. There are different options to consider, and it is important that you think about it carefully. This way, you can really enjoy your lessons whilst thinking that you are getting your money’s worth. But leaving the potentiality of worry at the door because you are paying what your budget accounts for.
Different people have different circumstances. So after deciding how much you are able to put towards this language learning, you should still navigate through all the teacher options you have. You may find it easier to explain to them your circumstances, including how much you can pay, how often you can pay, and when you plan to pay. It is a very good idea to ensure you do not go over your budget, and there is a very good chance that you will find the tutor most suitable for yourself and your budget.
With that said, there are two useful things to remember. Firstly, this experience can be a lengthy one. So, think honestly and carefully about how much you are willing to put into it. Secondly, Learn&Co courses are delivered online, which saves up some money that potentially would have been spent on travel. It is completely up to you, but you could possibly include that money for travel into your spending as well.
What Do You Look For In A Teacher?
For some people, it’s very important that their teacher is someone they can have fun with. All teachers should be enthusiastic about each lesson they go into, but some display it in different ways. You might prefer teachers that overtly display their enthusiasm, because it can help you to remain excited for the entire lesson. They could do this by including some fun interactive features that will still allow you to learn. This way, you could feel as if your teacher is somewhat of a friend that just wants to help you to reach your goals.
Others prefer someone who is more goal-oriented and will help them avoid distractions. They may not find it necessary to make your lessons ‘fun’. Instead, they could show their enthusiasm through consistently motivating you, making you realise how important your learning is, and being honest with you if you need to be corrected on something. They could have rigid lesson plans and teaching methods that will allow you to focus heavily on the work.
This also very much links to learning methods as well. Teachers can be multifaceted and can adapt their teaching style in accordance with what the student prefers. However, some teachers may prefer to teach in specific ways. If you find this matches with your preferred learning method, then you might want to consider them. Familiarise yourself with the different learning styles, and decipher which one works best for you:
- Visual learning: A learning style that revolves around students seeing things to learn, such as images, colours, and maps.
- Auditory learning: Students prefer to learn through listening and hearing. This can be done through reading aloud, listening to recorded lectures, and more.
- Kinesthetic learning: Students are more comfortable learning through movement and doing. This includes playing games and partaking in outside activities.
- Reading/writing learning: A learning style focused on reading and writing. It involves actions like writing and rewriting information, using lists, headings, and more.
And that sums it all up! Learn&Co tutors know the art and science of learning a new language. Our speciality is to match you with the right language tutor. Once we do this, they will be ready to help walk you through the process. They are more than capable of working with your needs to ensure you get the best teaching possible. You just have to outline your expectations, do a trial session, and know your answers to the questions listed in this article. Then, you can truly be sure of whether they are the teacher you would work well with.