I love learning languages solo, or at least I used to be. These days with my busy schedule, I find it harder and harder to find the time and the focus to concentrate on language learning on my own. This is why I have been hiring Portuguese and German online tutors to ease my
ADVANTAGES OF WORKING WITH AN ONLINE ITALIAN TEACHER
Time and cost-efficiency
The main reasons why hire only online language teachers or tutors is connected to cost and time efficiency.
You won’t need to commute to a different place or dress up, and that entails a more efficient use of your time and money. Learning with an online Italian teacher or coach will allow you to take your class from anywhere at nearly any time. Most importantly, it will give you the chance to work with a native Italian teacher based in the country where your target language is spoken.
Cultural and language immersion at home
Working with an online Italian teacher means that you will learn from her the real Italian.
No need to say that finding the right teacher has been quite an endeavor for me. Being an online teacher myself, I am quite picky, and I do expect the same standards that I deliver. Choosing an instructor is a matter of good match. An excellent tutor for me is somebody I can work together to push myself out of my comfort zone, for example.
Thankfully, there are plenty of online Italian tutors ready to help out there, so the question is,
How do I choose the best online teacher for me?
As for myself, when I decided to use online teachers, I have always asked myself a few questions:
How much time am I ready to spend working with my online teacher, and how much time on my own?
If you have little time to spare on Italian language learning, and you want to make the most out of your short time, make sure you hire an experienced professional Italian online teacher. A professional teacher will tailor your Italian classes to your needs, learning pace, and style.
If you have more time and are an experienced language learner and you have already crafted your learning strategies, you might also use conversational Italian classes. However, when looking for conversational classes, make sure your classes are not limiting to a casual conversation: this won’t help you to take your Italian to text level. Make sure your Italian online teacher is using different topics and authentic learning material. Casual conversation is often the gateway to a language learning plateau.
Am I an experienced language learner or is it the first time I am tackling language learning?
If you are an experienced Italian learner
Are you a polyglot and mastering a foreign language is a piece of cake for you? Do you have plenty of spare time to learn on your own and are very organized? Then hire an informal online tutor (somebody that provides just conversational practices) or work with an Italian language exchange partner. When looking for a language partner, make sure you exchange languages at the same level. Assuming Italian were your target language and you are a native English speaker with an intermediate Italian, you should look for somebody with an intermediate English level.
If you are not an experienced Italian learner
If you haven’t learned a foreign language since school, you might probably need an Italian language coach or again a professional Italian online teacher. A language coach is somebody that not only teaches you the language but teaches how to learn the language.
I wrote a whole article here on the differences between language coaching and teaching. Check it out if you are not familiar with it.
What skills do I want to improve?
If you are a master
If you want to bring your Italian to the next level, you should probably look for a professional Italian online teacher or coach. Based on my experience as a language learner, I found out that casual conversation does not pave the way to progress. One thing I know for sure is that you become more fluent and comfortable with your target language when stepping out of your comfort zone. Speaking ten times about your last vacation won’t make you a better Italian speaker. However, if you try to talk about politics, environmental issues and the likes, you won’t only learn new vocabulary. Still, you will train your brain to use language in different contexts.
If you are halfway through
If you want to brush up your Italian or tune-up your accent, then an Italian language partner or informal tutor would probably do the job. A language partner will help you to maintain your languages. However, if you want to reach native Italian fluency, you should again opt for a professional Italian instructor. Again, no pain – no gain.
If you are a beginner Italian learner
It would help if you considered to try out a few tutors before you commit to one. It would be best if you had somebody that understands you and put you at ease. And definitely, someone who will keep you motivated along the process.
What’s my motivation?
I am studying Italian for travel or business
If you are going on vacation to Italy in three months, I recommend joining a full immersion group course in your city. If you want to work with a private Italian instructor, choose one that offers Italian for traveling purposes. If you don’t want to limit yourself to learn in Italian greetings and asking the price for something, you should probably commit to a regular online Italian language course.
I am studying Italian for school
If you are studying or pursuing a Ph.D. in Italy or Switzerland, you probably need to focus on writing skills and terminology. You also need to look for an instructor with specialized training in that area. Many teachers have specializations micro languages (e.g., medicine, law, etc.)
I am studying Italian for life
Studies show that learning a new language transform the way we think, opens our mind and enhance us to embrace many new opportunities from work, traveling, and making new friends. Speaking a language doesn’t involve just learning conversational skills, but also listening and understanding native speakers of the language you are studying. If your goal is becoming a pro, you need to commit seriously. If you can afford it, you should get a couple of online classes with offline classes or use different tutors to get used to different accents and cultures.
I am studying Italian for Citizenship
Some students will need to reach an intermediate Italian level to pass a B1 exam to get their Italian citizenship. If you are one of those, you know that you’ll need to reach an intermediate level of Italian before preparing for the actual exam. You can use any teacher or any course to get to your B1 level. Instead, to prepare for the Italian Citizenship exam, I’d recommend taking a dedicated exam preparation Italian course or use one of the prep textbooks with samples of your exam (generally, Cils 1 or CELI 2).
For more info regarding the language exams for Italian citizenship, check out more blog posts below.
That being said, what are the best place to find an online Italian coach?
Private independent Italian teachers
Italki or other tutors’ marketplaces have many pros and many cons too. The high level of flexibility is a double-edged sword. If on one side, you can learn anytime you want, on the other, you will miss the structure, accountability, and overall the quality
Hiring an independent Italian teacher or coach is just like hiring a personal trainer at a gym. The level of instruction will be tailored to your learning style and pace.
A private Italian coach will also set objectives, regularly evaluate you, and fuel your motivation when your energy for learning is a little low.
An independent language coach will also go the extra mail, as it is her interest to retain the student long term.
Not to mention that many independent teachers do that full time for a living, while the teachers on the marketplace do it as a side job.
All in all, it all comes down to how fast you want to achieve your learning goal and what kind of learning experience you want to have.
Working with a private Italian instructor is a gift you give yourself. Remember that your time is precious. Choose an instructor that can help you make the most out of your learning time. Having in mind that quality is more important than quantity.
Italki is an online teacher marketplace where you can find and use experienced professional online teachers and informal tutors in nearly every possible language. The teachers can set their rates, which usually ranks from 10 $ to 40 $ per hour. What I like about Italki is the rating system: teachers, students, receive rates in the shapes of ‘stars’ together with written feedback. Reading the feedback from previous students will help you to figure out what to expect from the teacher. There is also a search function for finding completely free language exchanges with other learners (“language partners,” which is tucked under the menu “Community”), so you could use this site just for that and never spend a dime.