I’ve always enjoyed learning a new language. I’ve tried classrooms, but I have found that for tonal languages such as Mandarin and Cantonese, it’s difficult to improve unless someone is listening to you speak. I’ve also enjoyed one one one tuition and this is where Italki shines.
- In Australia, tutoring one-on-one is relatively expensive and Italki offers reasonable prices for one one one.
- If you get a good tutor – it’s well worth the price and the time.
- Lessons are tailored to you in general.
- Booking is pretty easy, and you can work to your own timetable (as long as it coincides with the tutors)
- Good selection of languages, and many teachers to pick from.
- You can do it from anywhere, and at home.
- Internet dependent – if you don’t have a good Skype connection, I would give it a miss. Unreliable internet or unstable connections would ruin the lessons.
- Tutor dependent (well, this applies to everything) – I listed a few tips to help you find some good tutors.
- Time – although booking is easy – it also gives teachers flexibility which means they may not always be available on times that works well with you. Also other students will book the times as well – plan in advance if you can!
General Tips :
Always do the trial lesson first.
Always use a trial lesson on Italki
- A trial lesson will always help you determine if you like the tutors teaching style and it suits you. Most of the teachers will generally go through the lesson structures and what level they would be teaching you.
- Also helps figuring out if your internet connection is stable to them (I couldn’t connect to some of the teachers in China).
Good tutors I have found have a smaller student number and a higher Lesson & Review count.
- It means the students are happy with the tutor and sticking around.
- Reviews do matter, and you need to read earlier reviews to get an idea – as people start to review in the language they are learning.
Book Lessons in advance – check your tutors schedule.
- Tutors have their own schedules and it isn’t fixed – look ahead and always plan your lessons.
- The really good tutors have lessons booked fairly in advance.
Be Upfront with why you want to learn.
- The best lessons I have had are when I told the teacher my goals for learning. For example – when I learnt Mandarin, I didn’t want to learn reading – only speaking and my tutors based my teaching around that.
- If you only want survival – say so – so you don’t have to learn all the variations in fruits etc.
Be Consistent in Italki lessons.
- Surrounding yourself with someone who speaks the language and pushes you to learn it is best. If you only take lessons sporadically then it will take longer to learn. I’ve found that I prefer about 2 lessons per week, or 2 teachers for the same language once a week.