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Being a good tutor

  Tags: Tutor
 Language Learning Forum : Languages & Work Post Reply
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3758 days ago

739 posts - 1312 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 Message 1 of 2
06 July 2012 at 4:18pm | IP Logged 
When I return home I'll be looking into tutoring my L2 in my community (maybe even ESL
as well as I've done a bit of that here). I figure most interest would come from high
school students taking French and maybe some parents who want their children to learn
French and some adults whose lifelong dream has been to learn French.

My teaching philosophy is basically to teach students to learn how to teach themselves.
This comes from my experience in music where private lessons are essentially geared to
teach someone how to practice effectively by teaching how to structure a practice
session, what should be covered, and how to identify and how to solve problems.
Obviously I'd teach actual content and use the session to work on speaking especially
but I'd also focus on finding good resources, how to use DVDs/audio/books/etc to learn
language, how to use tools like Anki, and most importantly how to stay disciplined.

So my question is to all who have tutored or who have used a tutor in language
learning: what can a tutor do to be really effective? And the flipside to that
question: what sorts of things do tutors do that are complete wastes of time/money?
1 person has voted this message useful

United States
Joined 3899 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 2 of 2
06 July 2012 at 9:52pm | IP Logged 
A tutor who teaches people how to learn on their own? What a good idea!

I recently spent several months working with an excellent French tutor. She was also a
polyglot—I think she spoke 4 or 5 languages and was planning on more. Our lessons were
conducted entirely in French.

What I liked best:

1. She pushed me to improve. Sometimes this meant having DELF B2-style debates. At
other times, it might be something as simple as expecting me to fix my R. (I tend to
tap the trailing Rs in notre and attendre.) But that constant gentle
pushing helped.

2. She corrected unobtrusively, without breaking the flow of conversation. In her case,
this meant typing in Skype.

3. She was very good at soaking up frustration. This is probably the trickiest part of
being a good tutor: You need to let other people's frustration just roll off your back
while remaining encouraging.

Things that were mostly useless:

1. Correcting writing exercises. Lang-8 is great for this.

Edited by emk on 06 July 2012 at 9:53pm

3 persons have voted this message useful

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