(This article, or something extremely like it, was first published during our ‘FREE Trial Online Italian Lesson’ offer back in February 2020. But what I wrote then is still true now, so here it is once more! Things will be back to normal next week.)
Time’s running out to book your free online Italian lesson via Skype or Zoom! This week’s offer ends on Sunday, February 14th 2021, so jump to it!
Around 130 people have already signed up for a free lesson, though if past performance is a guide, not all of them will get around to actually doing it.
We usually calculate that if we get 150 people to ‘buy’ the free lesson, people being people, only about two-thirds of them will actually end up taking it.
Assuming you have a reasonable Internet connection, and some time, why shouldn’t you be one of those?
To reply to a club member who wanted to take a free lesson but emailed the teacher with concerns:
I also have been thinking, following our discussion…. If you are being paid by the supplier for the lesson tomorrow then we should proceed. If you are doing the lesson for no charge, on the basis that if it is successful, then I would book further lessons, then I think it is fair that we cancel the lesson. Having looked at the cost (£20 / 30 minutes) I think I prefer to attend classes with multiple students which are a) more cost effective and b) more lively
1.) The teacher IS paid for trial lessons and the student is under no obligation to buy more. Right now we’re giving away free trials to people in Asia, South America, India and countries of the former Soviet Union, few of whom will become paying customers, as well as more frequently to students in Europe, North America, South Africa and Australasia (apologies if I’ve missed anyone!) It’s an opportunity for Lucia, our teaching manager, to ‘break in’ new teachers, plus a chance for us to give something back rather than just ‘wasting’ our marketing budget on Google advertising, as other online lesson providers do. I’m fine with that (and Google is rich enough in my opinion…)
2.) The cost of online lessons is only £20 if a student buys just one, which would be fairly pointless unless there was some urgent short-term need. They’re £180 if you buy 10, so £18.00 each, though that’s usually discounted even further – most regular students take advantage of the seasonal ‘save 20%’ offers and so pay £14.40 for their half-hour lessons, which works out at £28.80 an hour, including 20% British VAT unfortunately…
By comparison, a one-hour individual Italian lesson at a language school in the Italian city where I live costs around €40 (say £35). But a question: how much would you pay a trusted plumber, hair-stylist or car mechanic for their time? Just as much, I bet. More, probably.
3.) And yes, of course group classes are more cost-effective. But in a group you don’t get the teacher’s undivided attention and personalised feedback, or the chance to decide exactly how to spend the time, whether on just conversation (which is what I do in MY online language lessons), or to focus on something specific that you have issues with – a grammar point, preparation for an up-coming exam, or whatever.
Clearly, one-to-one online lessons are not suitable for anyone who has an extremely limited budget. But for those people, we provide masses of free material, so our conscience is clear! And for those, like me, who may not have the option to join an enjoyable, cheaper local class (there are no Swedish or Turkish classes in the city where I live), online lessons can be an effective alternative.
About cost – after work last night my wife and I stopped off for a quick drink on the way home (THIS WAS A YEAR AGO, REMEMBER, BEFORE THE PANDEMIC!), spending €9.50 for a pint (for me), a half (for her) and a bag of cheese and onion crisps. We were at the bus stop shortly afterwards, dinner having been delayed just fifteen minutes or so. This afternoon, by comparison, I’ll be spending what I hope will be an enjoyable and useful thirty minutes on Skype with a Spanish teacher based in Mexico, for not very much more money.
And while, ideally, beer and crisps would be cheaper, I certainly don’t think the lesson need be. Plenty of us think that this type of language-learning opportunity is well-worth the cost, and an essential supplement to self-study with materials from the club website, or from another source. For my Spanish, I’m currently doing Duolingo (free), reading El Pais (free for a limited number of articles each month) and listening to the radio (free), supplemented with an online conversation each week (affordable for me, personalised to my needs, and at a time that suits me.)
Priorities, people, priorities. They’re yours to determine. Hence the trial lesson offer – try one free of charge, to see if it’s the sort of thing that you would find useful. What’s to lose? The teacher gets significantly above the UK minimum wage for their time and, in any case, may not have other ways to pay their rent.
UPDATE: and this just came in from Sylvia (Nov. 5th 2020):
Can I just say this in case it helps: I never looked back! Just over 2 years ago I had my first online Italian lesson. On the day, I wondered why on earth I’d decided to put myself through this. I was so hesitant, you would have thought it was my first day with the language! 2 years later, I’ve had to say goodbye to my teacher as she’s moving on – and how I will miss those weekly chats! Anyhow, I’m taking the opportunity to try out my Spanish, and I feel just as stupid whey I open my mouth with my Spanish teacher as I did with Italian. The difference is, I KNOW it will make a difference. Thanks, Daniel, Lucia and co, for providing me with this service. I recommend it to everyone. Give it a go.
Here are the offer conditions again:
- This offer is good until Sunday, 14/02/2021;
- We’ve got the capacity for around a hundred and fifty club members to do a trial lesson
- This offer is for NEW STUDENTS ONLY
- If you booked a free trial last time but didn’t take it – do try again!
- But if you’ve already done a free trial (we have a list), this is not for you
- Once you’ve done your lesson, our teaching management assistant will send you a 15% discount coupon, to use should you wish to continue…
If you haven’t listened to Thursday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news yet, you’ll find it here.
It’s FREE, in part because kind people help us with donations, and in part because we reinvest a percentage of revenues from the sales of online lessons and ebooks.