Don’t try out online tutors/language exchanges…then you won’t have to talk to anyone!

A bit of reverse psychology for you! Did it work?

I think of myself as a social introvert. I like lots of indoor hobbies (reading books, writing, watching tv shows/movies, listening to music/podcasts, the internet, etc), I’m a quieter person, and I’m rather independent. But I have lots of wonderful friends, I’m able to be social when I need to, and I like going to events with people too! I just need to recharge on my own afterwards 🙂

That said, when you learn a language, all components are important to learn. Like speaking. Sometimes I fall into the trap of just reading, listening, and writing. It can be easy to learn using passive methods, but you miss out on having well-rounded language skills and getting into the creative side of things.

I recently tried out a well-known online language tutor website (*cough* italki *cough*) and I highly recommend finding a language speaking partner. Whether you find a tutor/teacher that you pay for, or you do a free language exchange with someone online (ex. 30min of your language then 30min of their language as an exchange). Having an actual conversation in the language you’re learning can make a difference. I know, I was surprised too!

I have a few friends that I practice my languages with (shout out à mes amis!), but it can be hard to find partners for language learning practice. I live in a mainly monolingual country. It can also be hard to keep in touch with international friends- whether because of time zones, forgetting to e-mail back, or everyday life getting in the way.

Some tips on how to choose a tutor:

Do they teach lessons at a time that’s convenient for you? Do they teach students at your level? Do they mention other interests that you have in common? If they have an intro video, do they seem like someone you’d get along with?

When you first chat, tell them what your goals are, and what you’d like to get out of your speaking lessons. Then as you take lessons, give them feedback when you need to, so that you’re making your lessons work for you.

Some tips on the lessons themselves:

Do your best to stay speaking in the language you’re learning- but also give yourself some slack. I don’t beat myself up if I accidentally say something in English. Or if I absolutely can’t express it in Italian and I have to say a word/phrase in English during my Italian lesson.

Take notes! I’m not into recording my lessons, but I know some other language learners who like to record and then go back and rewatch. I like to take little notes during my lesson, and then afterwards I make notes about things that I learned & things that I know I need to work on.

Be on time, be awake, and be engaged! If it’s an early skype chat, make sure to get good sleep & have your breakfast/coffee beforehand. Don’t check your phone or facebook while you’re trying to have a conversation either.

It’s worth it to make sure that you’re learning your language in a well-rounded way and that you’re not neglecting any of the language components.

Ciao e baci xx

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