You’ve picked the language you’d like to be able to communicate in.
You start scouring the internet to find resources to help you with your language journey.
Maybe you even enroll in a local group class.
However, time has now passed and you’re not where you want to be and so now you’re stuck.
What do you do?
It’s time to hire a tutor.
To be honest, you could have incorporated a language tutor from the very beginning. But it’s okay, you’re not too late.
Of course, not all language tutors are suitable for your language learning journey and that’s also okay.
To save time and money, it’s best to find out a couple of things before you hire.
You may even want to hire a couple of language tutors.
Here are five things to ask your tutor when hiring.
1. Ask for a reference or a couple of references.
Usually, when someone is hiring someone else, they ask for references. This is totally normal to do when hiring a tutor. Speaking to other people can be valuable, as you can learn more about the language tutor’s style of teaching. It’s also important to find out if the tutor has helped the client reach his or her language learning goals, and find out if you both have the same goals: pass a test or achieve B1 level fluency? These are completely different types of classes. It can be an indicator of whether or not you will achieve similar goals.
2. Find out if the language tutor’s schedule will match yours long term
If you’re not able to get enough contact time with your tutor, your language acquisition goals may be delayed. If they only do face to face meetings and you want to do online only, then of course that will pose a problem. You’ll first need to find out when you’re free and find out whether or not they’ll be able to accommodate you for the length of time that’s necessary. If you’re trying to be fluent soon and they can only meet once a month for an hour, it’s best to find another tutor. Remember – you need hundreds of contact hours with a language to make great strides.
3. Ask the language tutor about his or her experience and qualifications
It’s important to know how long they’ve been tutoring. Of course, someone who has been tutoring for 10 years isn’t necessarily 3 times better than a tutor who has been working for 3 years. The goal is to find out if they have experience getting clients to their goals, and how. If you’re looking to reach B1 fluency, then ask about their strategies, materials, and activities to get you there, and how they got other clients there. IF your goal is to pass the TOEFL, then ask how many clients they’ve helped reach that goal. If they only teach tests, then maybe find a more conversational tutor. Or if you really need to pass a test, I would ensure I worked with someone who was an expert in that test.
4. Ask the tutor about teaching style
You need a creative tutor. Learning a language can be very difficult and if it’s too boring and feels too much like school, you may lose interest. Find out how they intend to tutor you. Are they going to recommend resources for you to use outside your contact time? During your classes, what will they be using to teach? How will they teach? They should be letting you speak a lot because that’s an important part of the learning process. Ask them if they’ll use storytelling and comprehensible input.
You’ll also need a personalized approach to your education. One size fits all are for high school classrooms and most of us don’t even remember what we learned in our high school language classes. Your tutor should be creating a personalized approach that will help you achieve your language goals. It needs to be interesting, fun and relevant to you.
5. Ask the tutor about trial classes
The tutor or tutors you pick may seem great on paper, but once you’ve started classes, you may realize you’re not meshing. There is nothing wrong with doing a trial class to get a feel of their teaching style, attitude, and vibe. The good news is, most companies like us, offer trial classes. Don’t underestimate how you feel in your sessions. If you don’t enjoy chatting with your tutor – find another one. Because you’ll be chatting with this person for dozens of hours.
As a bonus tip, make sure your tutor is correcting you. If you keep saying the incorrect thing over and over again, it’s going to take a bit more effort to unlearn it afterward.
According to an article in The Guardian, titled Private language lessons: how to get your money’s worth, “be bold when it comes to asking your tutor to correct your speaking. A good tutor should do this automatically, whether directly or by prompting self-correction. If you feel as if they are letting you prattle on with no regard for your mistakes, ask them if what you’re saying is correct. Error correction is a huge part of language learning, and should not be overlooked.”
If you’re looking for a tutor to help you with English, Portuguese, Mandarin, Russian, French, Japanese, or Spanish, consider our tutors. They’re professional, well experienced, and native speakers who can help you reach your language learning goals.