From our archive, and a reminder about the 2021 January Sale, which ends on Tuesday night.
The dos and don’ts of taking online Italian lessons
Written from personal experience, as I use this method to learn languages (I’m also an online teacher, so see things from both perspectives…)
- Don’t put off starting. OK, this could seem self-serving, given our January Sale, but veramente, I put off lessons, cioè actually interacting with a real person, for maybe a year after starting to learn Swedish. First I thought I’d teach myself, then I got addicted to Duolingo, so it wasn’t until months later that I realised I still couldn’t speak a word of the language… Once I’d done a lesson or two, I was kicking myself for all the time I’d wasted.
- Don’t panic. Mild anxiety is acceptable. Remember though, it’s in the teacher’s interest too that things go well. She wants you to be comfortable and happy – it’s how she earns a living. In the event that you do NOT feel comfortable and happy after taking a lesson or two, get right on to Lucia, our teaching manager, and ask her for help/advice. Likely she’ll know what to do.
- Do listen to the teacher. Some people, it must be said, have really dumb ideas about how they should be learning. Over the decades, I must have heard it all. For example, “I’d like you (the teacher) to help me translate this (massively-long, difficult, boring) text, which I have to read for (whatever unconnected objective).” In a thirty-minute lesson, we might get through a sentence or two, and only then by doing the whole thing in English. Most people would instead benefit from spending the time practising SPEAKING and getting feedback from the teacher regarding problems with pronunciation, grammar, etc. A pro teacher should point that out. And it’s doubly true for students who would otherwise never speak at all… The moral? Listen to the teacher. Maybe she knows best. At least in this case.
- Do insist. All that said, teachers are not infallible. “We don’t need no education”, indeed, and certainly not another pointless explanation of the congiuntivo, which we could read online instead of wasting valuable speaking time on. The teacher may not know what’s best for you – if you don’t either, then you’ll have to take your chances. But if you DO have a clear idea what would most benefit you (speaking!! feedback on mistakes!! help with pronunciation!!), then insist. Do. For any issues you can’t resolve with the teacher, there’s Lucia.
- Do make lessons part of your routine. Thursday a.m. Swedish, Friday a.m. Turkish – I don’t always feel like taking the lessons beforehand, but afterwards I’m invariably glad I did (n.b. in 2020 I added French and Spanish…) And as months pass, the effect on my ability to communicate in the languages I’m learning is ‘impressionante’, as Italians would say. So try to make taking a weekly online language lesson part of your language-learning routine, in the same way as you might attend an evening class or do homework. Create the habit, reap the reward!
That’s more or less it.
Our default video calling system is Skype, which is free to download and isn’t hard to use. Though like anything new, it might take some fiddling around. If you’re unsure, ask a child or a teenager to help you.
(If you ARE a child or teenager, just press buttons randomly until something interesting happens.)
And no, we don’t do lessons via FaceTime instead of Skype. Why not? Because not everyone can afford overpriced Apple products, and certainly not everyone in our team of teachers.
Skype is ubiquitous and usable on both the latest Apple monstrosity as well as on the humblest Chinese smartphone.
But these days, there’s also Zoom, which unfortunately many of us became all too familiar with during 2020… If you’d prefer Zoom to Skype, just ask!
Beh, that’s about it for today. If you are on the verge of buying some online Italian lessons, but have doubts, or need more information, leave a comment on this article with your question (that way, everyone can read it, not just me.)
P.S. Last couple of days of the 2021 January Sale
Don’t forget the 2021 January Sale ends on Tuesday, which means there are just three days left (or less, depending on which time zone you live in) to save 20% on ebooks and online lessons.
Everything in our shop is a fifth cheaper for fewer than 72 more hours, assuming you remember to use the special coupon code – see below.
Act promptly and you could be getting ten one-to-one lessons for the price of eight – so two extra lessons of speaking practice, on us!
Or you could add 5 ebooks to your shopping cart (reading and listening practice is SO useful) while only having to pay for four of them.
This is the coupon code you need to save £££ on your order:
Next go to your shopping cart and apply coupon code January-Sale-2021 to reduce the cart total by 20%.
Remember, the coupon code is good until midnight on Tuesday 5th January 2021.
Use it as often as you wish until then, with no minimum or maximum spend.