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Moving from B2 to C2

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
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Cavesa
Triglot
Senior Member
Czech Republic
Joined 3177 days ago

3277 posts - 6778 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 
 Message 9 of 177
16 February 2015 at 5:02am | IP Logged 
1. Get lots of input. Lots because you are bound to progress more slowly now that
you've covered the basics and the things that you see around all the time. Books of
various genres, tv series, movies and so on. Be sure to leave your comfort zone often.

2. get practice. Find someone to speak with or at least chat in writing, or speak to
yourself. These activities won't be the same as speaking with someone else but they
are a good way to prepare yourself and activate your skill much faster when you have
the opportunity.

3.Work on your weak points, remove the basic and intermediate mistakes you might still
be making in grammar and vocabulary. Many people that struggle with speaking can blame
their gaps and insecurities in grammar. And advanced learners are not being forgiven
as much as the intermediates.

4. I agree you need to diferenciate between getting a C exam and getting the skills.
Those two are not the same goal. For the exam, get a preparatory course with example
papers to get to know what lies ahead of you. Do not pay for a preparatory class. A
few days ago, I met several more people who found them useless and waste of money on
the day they took their exam.

5. tutors and teachers are a trouble unless you get a great one. Most are in general
bad and some of the not bad are just bad with advanced students. If you want to get a
tutor/teacher, try to get references and don't hesitate to tell them your requirements
and plans. When you are paying, you should get an individualized service, not a one
for everyone plan used in classrooms.

6.Or just don't take a tutor until the moment you need to get speaking. Get a solid
base from all the rest of the activities and prepare yourself so that you need fewer
hours to pay for before travelling, exam or whatever.

7. Writing. Fan fiction or writing groups are perfect. Or forums or anything you
enjoy. A diary will serve well too, to get you writing more automatically and you will
see lots of your own mistakes if you just leave your text alone and check it a few
days later.
5 persons have voted this message useful



s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3598 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 10 of 177
16 February 2015 at 5:08am | IP Logged 
robarb wrote:
s_allard wrote:
The one thing I would add, especially for exam preparation, is a
good tutor. For some strange
reasons, not everybody likes tutors.


What do you suggest an advanced student do with a professional language tutor? Let's assume you're
already
getting lots of input, so listening and reading skill are progressing fine without needing a tutor.

In my opinion, for speaking fluency, the most important thing is to speak more for communication,
including in
daily life or with a conversation buddy.

For speaking accuracy, the effectiveness of targeted instruction is hotly debated. Maybe a tutor could
help, but
what specifically should one do with them, and why should we believe it works?

For writing, if writing instruction is available that specifically targets the kind of essays that will be
required for
the exam, then great. Otherwise, you would probably want a native speaker with good writing skills to
correct
your writing. Is that the kind of thing you mean? I guess you would need a professional for that if you
don't have
any highly educated native speaker friends.

To sum up the value of working with a professional tutor, I would use two words: personalized
attention.

Let's say you want to work on your pronunciation. Your tutor will identify your specific problems and
work with you to correct them. Since you have the tutor all to yourself, you can go into great depth
and spend hours working on little details.   

Let's say that you write a couple of pages every week. With your tutor you go over your texts word by
word and correct the text. You correct mistakes and discuss nuances and subtleties of usage. Maybe
there are some questions of regional differences, as happens often in Spanish.

For reading comprehension, you read an article out loud, discuss points of vocabulary and grammar
and then you talk about the contents.

For listening comprehension, you could listen to a recording with the tutor and make sure you
understand everything. I find that with Spanish, it's amazing how often I have to ask my tutor to help
me decipher what was really said. Maybe there are questions about cultural or historical references.

For speaking, this is where a tutor shines. A tutor does not replace talking with native speakers. A tutor
is there and is paid to help you improve your language skills. So, obviously, the first order of business
is to correct mistakes. Bad pronunciation, grammar mistakes, bad vocabulary, And then, the tutor can
work with you on developing fluency so that the language flows with fewer and fewer hesitations.

A good tutor shows you how to up your game. Better ways of saying what you want to say. How to use
idiomatic expressions that are the hallmark of a great speaker.

You observe and model the tutor's speech. You have debates and discussions. You prepare a
presentation on a topic and the tutor gives you feedback.

You can repeat things as many times as necessary for you to get them right. Maybe you have an
interview coming up in your target language. Your tutor can drill you.

Now, if you can do all that with friends for free, you don't need a tutor.
3 persons have voted this message useful



robarb
Nonaglot
Senior Member
United States
languagenpluson
Joined 3227 days ago

361 posts - 921 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese, English*, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, French
Studies: Mandarin, Danish, Russian, Norwegian, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Greek, Latin, Nepali, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 11 of 177
16 February 2015 at 7:08am | IP Logged 
OK, a tutor who is able to provide all these things would definitely be of some value.

I'm open to the idea that explicit accent instruction works, but have not seen any research demonstrating it, nor
heard many successful language learners recommending it.

Going over writing in detail definitely sounds useful for the specific case where you need to learn to write an
essay.

Having a tutor there to help you understand audio would be nice, but you can do much the same thing with L-R
or transcription plus dictionary, so I don't really think it would be worth the money to do this with a human too
much.

Regarding correcting your speech, I remember reading some research saying that it didn't have a beneficial
effect. But maybe it would if the learner is confident enough not to be discouraged?

All in all, there are certainly some areas where a tutor beats the Internet, and other areas where a tutor beats
interacting casually with a native-speaker friend or conversation partner. There are also things that a tutor can
uniquely do, the effectiveness of which is up for debate.

Institutions like the FSI do employ one-on-one tutors, but the effect is hardly dramatic compared to other types
of instruction or self-study. So I'll mostly agree with you that tutoring is a good idea, with the caveat that many
tutors are both expensive and not good at all the things you describe.
3 persons have voted this message useful



smallwhite
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 3476 days ago

537 posts - 1045 votes 
Speaks: Cantonese*, English, Mandarin, French, Spanish

 
 Message 12 of 177
16 February 2015 at 8:09am | IP Logged 
Some people are good at and prefer self-teaching. Some people need to be taught. Some people don't understand even when taught one-on-one.

I believe the first group don't need tutors to reach C1. The second group will reach C1 faster with a tutor, and may or may not reach C1 without a tutor. The third group will never reach C1.

The cream of the crop from the first group may be so good that they become tutors themselves after self-teaching themselves.

Simply put, I think everyone's different.
3 persons have voted this message useful



s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3598 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 13 of 177
16 February 2015 at 8:15am | IP Logged 
The main objection - and in my book the only serious objection - for not using a good professional
tutor is the cost. Not all tutors are good, obviously, but everybody appreciates individual attention.
Let's change the word tutor for coach, and all of a sudden you notice that many people in many fields
have coaches.

Let's forget about the listening, the reading and even writing for the time being. We'll concentrate only
on the speaking. You can do all sorts of great learning activities but once a week you have a Skype
session with a tutor where you get to work in a detailed fashion on your speaking skills. Maybe work
on some dialogues or making a speech, whatever. And the key thing is that you are getting corrected.
All those little things that you were never made aware of are taken care of.

For example, my tutor pointed out that in Spanish I was systematically and incorrectly adding an
s to words like dijiste, escribiste, tuviste, etc. I never realized that I was doing this and I think I know
why I was making this mistake. It has since been corrected.

The thing I love about working with a good tutor is the great feeling that I'm improving. I write a one
page e-mail that I think is pretty good. But when I go through it with my tutor, I discover a number of
things that I missed or got wrong. And we know that many things can go wrong. But at the end, the e-
mail is perfect and I can send it off in full confidence that it's good. Unlike those situations where I
reread an e-mail that I sent off a few days earlier and discover that I made a few mistakes. Had I had
that e-mail checked, I would have saved myself that embarrassment.

The point of all this is that a good tutor can be a great resource. But if you feel you don't need it, don't
use it.

Edited by s_allard on 16 February 2015 at 8:17am

1 person has voted this message useful



Gomorritis
Tetraglot
Groupie
Netherlands
Joined 2446 days ago

91 posts - 157 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, English, Catalan, French
Studies: Greek, German, Dutch

 
 Message 14 of 177
16 February 2015 at 9:55am | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
For example, my tutor pointed out that in Spanish I was systematically and incorrectly adding an s to words like dijiste, escribiste, tuviste, etc. I never realized that I was doing this and I think I know why I was making this mistake. It has since been corrected.


Did you know it's a very common mistake among natives too? That could be a reason.
1 person has voted this message useful



smallwhite
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 3476 days ago

537 posts - 1045 votes 
Speaks: Cantonese*, English, Mandarin, French, Spanish

 
 Message 15 of 177
16 February 2015 at 10:17am | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
Let's change the word tutor for coach, and all of a sudden you notice that many people in many fields
have coaches.


You mean, for example, if I point out to a friend that "example" should be spelt with an "a" in the middle, I would fall under your definition of "tutor", too?

s_allard wrote:
For example, my tutor pointed out that in Spanish I was systematically and incorrectly...


I do agree that some people could use tutors more than others.


-

Edited by smallwhite on 16 February 2015 at 10:18am

3 persons have voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4765 days ago

9753 posts - 15776 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 16 of 177
16 February 2015 at 1:39pm | IP Logged 
Tutors are customized, not personalized. They generally work for the money (or for an opportunity to get tuition themselves like on italki) and they don't truly care and don't know you. Even if they become your friends, there will still always be an unusual power dynamic about it.

(One exception would be if they want to revive their endangered language. I guess that's my equivalent of a common erotic fantasy about being the only man who remains on Earth :D)

Also, as an aspiring polyglot I find it much more useful to get comments from those who know or learn several languages I'm learning, like iguanamon, Medulin, 1e4e6. A Spanish tutor who doesn't also speak Portuguese and/or Italian can hardly compare to them for me. And if we limit the choice to multilingual tutors, again only a percentage can do the wonderful things you mentioned. (many of which are pointless for me like debates, discussions, drilling)

And I never mentioned just random friends, but fellow language geeks.


2 persons have voted this message useful



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