As a language learner, I am constantly looking for more efficient and fun ways to learn a language. There are several apps and websites to use in order to supplement your language learning. One goal of mine is to continue to take lessons in the language I’m learning. So, it was essential that I choose a language tutor who fits my needs and can help me reach my goals.
But it’s not so easy choosing a language tutor. Some aren’t that great and others are overpriced. It can seem daunting to choose a language tutor that’s right for you, but don’t give up. I’ll list my top tips on what to look for as you choose a language tutor that’s great for you.
Determine the right platform for you.
Personally, I use italki to find my tutor and then we go on Skype. Previously, I used Tandem to find a language tutor. Decide whether you’d like choose a language tutor who does classes through Skype, FaceTime, in person, over-the-phone or other options. Personally, I think as long as you’re speaking, you’re on the right track.
How do you want your lessons structured?
Are you interested in learning grammar? Vocabulary? Or are you primarily interested in conversation practice? A good language tutor will touch on all of these areas, but some may focus on one area in particular. As an intermediate/advanced Spanish student when I went to choose a language tutor, I wasn’t too focused on learning basic vocabulary or grammar. But imperfect tense and subjunctive? Yeah, I need all the help I can get.
Be honest about YOUR level in the target language.
This ties into the previous point. When you start to choose a language tutor to begin lessons with, be honest about how you can contribute to the lesson style the tutor offers. For instance, if a tutor primarily focuses on conversation but you just started studying the language last week, it may not be the best fit for you. Don’t get me wrong! I think even beginners should practice having conversations. Just be aware whether the tutor’s skill-set and comfort coincides with your level in your target language.
Take into account the dialect/accent of the language tutor.
Languages differ from country-to-country and within country. Ask yourself whether you’re more interested in learning English from an American, Canadian, Australian, etc. Additionally, the country the language tutor is from can effect the price for the lesson. I wanted to choose a language tutor from Spain in preparation for a trip and noticed those tutors tend to be a lot more expensive than those from Venezuela, Colombia, etc.
Also keep in mind whether you want your language tutor to speak your native language.
I’ve heard differing viewpoints on this one. Some people prefer having language tutors that don’t speak their mother tongue at all or very well. This challenges them to only speak their target language. I am on the other side. When I scroll through italki to choose a language tutor, I always end up going with someone who has at least an intermediate level in English. Yes, it’s a crutch but it’s one I like having. It makes things so much easier for me when I am just not getting a concept and need to ask a question/explain. During these lessons, Spanish is still spoken 95% of the time, if not more. But I do enjoy having the option if I need to.