6 Ways to Get the Best Online English Teacher
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As an advanced student, taking language lessons with a professional online English teacher is incredibly convenient, and it can help you finally move to the next level in your English.
It saves time and money and looking for a teacher online can be as easy as going to Verbling, a wonderful website dedicated to face to face, online video lessons with native speaking English teachers using their Verbling video system.
Mark and I have both used Verbling to teach over 1,200 hours with awesome students from all over the world, and Kat’s used Verbling to learn Spanish and French from awesome teachers with great reviews!
How Verbling works: So easy to use, you can schedule a trial with a teacher and in as little as 12 hours, you can be chatting face to face. Simply sign up through Facebook and Find a Teacher
Price: You can get a FREE trial through High Level Listening by clicking on this link here: Get free 30-minute English Trial
The average price is $15-21 USD for 60 minutes, but I’ve seen lots of teachers between $10 and $13
Kinds of Teachers: Lots of teachers with lots of different teaching styles. Are you looking for an IELTS Teacher? Are you looking for an English conversation teacher? Help with your writing skills? Do you need help with pronunciation? You’ll be able to find a great teacher.
The best part? Since you’re coming from High Level Listening, and you’ve never used Verbling before, you get a FREE 30-minute trial with an awesome teacher of your choice. Find a native English speaker to improve your speaking skills today!
Not a Typical Classroom
One of the best things about learning 1:1 is also the most obvious: it is not a classroom.
Most of us spent our childhoods learning a new language in a classroom with our classmates, repeating words together, learning very difficult grammar, and generally staying very quiet when we don’t understand something.
And when you do that for 10+ years, this is what we think:
Listen to the teacher, repeat, take a test and forget everything!
When do you get a chance to speak for yourself and learn from mistakes?
That’s the beauty of private lessons – you have an incredible opportunity to build the lesson around your own unique learning goals.
Getting the Best out of your Online Teacher
Now, you can choose a teacher and hope they’re perfect for you, but after teaching for almost 2 years, we realized that it takes a little work to make sure you’re getting the BEST lesson possible!
We sat down and thought of the best tips and information from our students about having a great experience with an online teacher.
With these tips, you can be sure you’re doing everything in your power to learn the best way you can, and you can feel confident in your decision to take more lessons with your tutor.
6 Ways to Get the Best Online English Teacher
1. Know how you like to learn.
Unfortunately, when people become teachers, they don’t gain the power to read minds. Whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours, unless you tell your teacher how you learn best, you probably won’t be getting the best out of your sessions together.
Think about this, when you see a new word – what do you need to make it stick? Do you need to repeat it 4 or 5 times? What about synonyms? Do you need to see some example sentences? Do you need to make your own example sentences? Personally, I can’t even spell some English words until I see them written down, so I will always ask my teacher to write down a new word or phrase to help me.
Then, during your lesson, see how you feel about their suggestions – do you understand their explanations? Do you think their examples sound helpful to you? Are you getting enough speaking/writing/reading practice to feel confident?
“In the future, I’d like to do more speaking practice.”
“Maybe for the next lesson, we can do more vocabulary and less grammar.”
“I really need help with this verb tense.”
Remember, you can also give your teacher some specific language points or materials you want to study, and it’s best to tell them before the class.
All this information is incredibly valuable for you and your teacher – the more your teacher knows about you, the better your lessons will be!
2. Ask questions.
Like above, this tip helps both your tutor and you. Even we make awesome English discoveries because of student questions! Using the right phrase in the right situation makes you sound more fluent. Try using some of these questions to get the exact answer you’re looking for:
“Could you explain __________?”
“When can I use that?” – “Where can I use that phrase?”
“Is ‘tend to’ the same as ‘normally’?”
“Can I use this word instead?”
These are all excellent questions for getting the most out of your language tutor, and you’ll discover fun and interesting pieces of the language faster than finding them by accident. Use your native speaker to find new language you won’t see in a textbook.
Remember, your teacher can’t answer questions that you don’t ask!
3. Get corrected.
None of us are perfect, and we’re all going to make mistakes!
How do you like to be told when you make a mistake?
Do you want to know straight away,or would you rather have your problems collected and presented to you at the end of an exercise or discussion?
Some students prefer to see their errors written down for later review or self-study, while others want to break their bad habits as soon as possible. There’s no wrong way to do it, but think about which solution is best for you. Here are some ways you can ask your tutor to correct you:
“Can you correct me right away, please?” (instantly / as soon as possible)
“Could you correct me after the exercise, please?” (later / after you have finished working)
“Can you write down my mistakes, please?” (self-study / end of class review)
It always sounds perfect in your head, doesn’t it?
Take advantage of a private tutor and get some pronunciation practice while you can! From our experience, we noticed that students who repeated full sentences and corrections in the lesson improved much faster. Don’t treat it like a quiet classroom, speak up! Take your time, repeat, listen to the teacher, then repeat again. This lesson is your time only, use it to practice correctly!
As we said in that last point, this is your time entirely. So why not try some new words or phrases that you’re curious about? When you’re writing or studying by yourself, no one can correct you or give you advice.Your online lesson is the best place to practice out some new language.
Don’t feel embarrassed by being wrong and don’t let errors stop you. In fact, the lesson is the perfect time to make mistakes. Ideally, prepare a list of words and phrases you want to try in the next lesson, and test them on your teacher.
“Can I say that?”
“How do you say this: ______?”
“Am I saying that right?”
“Do you have a word for that?”
Trust me, your tutor has spent the last 30 minutes thinking about your class too.
Speak – to learn to dance, you must dance!
Tell your teacher how you like to learn in as much detail as you can
Try new things – experiment, there’s no better time!
Be discouraged by mistakes
Expect your teacher to know how to teach you straight away, especially if you don’t explain how you like to learn.
Think you’re being selfish by asking the teacher to adapt to your needs.
If your new online teacher can make you feel confident in these categories, then congratulations, you’re all set! You’ll soon be on your way to learning a new language quicker than ever, and you might even make a friend for life along the way.
We can’t say it enough – there’s nothing selfish about asking to learn the way you want to learn – it’s your class, that’s why it’s such a fantastic opportunity.
We hope these tips give you confidence that you are doing all you can do improve your language skills, and get the most out of your language tutor – whether it’s your first upcoming lesson, or your hundredth!
Try out these new tips on Verbling or in your next private class, and you’ll be learning English faster than ever before! Good luck!
Are there any other tips or tricks you use with your language teachers? Tell us about them in the comments down below!
Thanks! Kat and Mark