A couple of months ago I took my first online lesson with a native-speaker teacher.
I was, I admit, apprehensive, having never had a conversation in Swedish before, even after studying the language for getting on for a year.
My fears went unrealised.
In fact, I enjoyed my lesson.
Since then, I’ve done around twenty hours of speaking practice, sometimes three or four lessons a week, enough to take me from ‘zero to hero’!
One thing I noticed early on, as a working teacher myself, was that my Swedish teachers often missed opportunities to push me to speak more.
They would, for example, ask me if I had any brothers or sisters, and perhaps follow that up by asking if my sister lived in the UK.
But that was it for sisters.
If it was me in charge, say teaching English to Italians, I’d have been, like:
Sister? Great! What’s her name? Is she older or younger than you? What does she do? Do you get on? Is she married? What does the husband do? Where do they live? What’s it like there? What’s their house like? Do they have kids? Are the schools good? Do you see them all often? Why not?
And so on, and so on.
The student speaks for the whole lesson, on a familiar theme, so without too much pressure.
It works like a dream, which is why companies pay our school handsomely for me to go out to their Head Office and chat in English to their staff.
Objective no. 1?
Boost everyone’s confidence.
All that said, my Swedish lessons are much cheaper. Which is, of course, good.
But the teachers, naturally, have less experience.
I’m getting to the age when few people have more experience than I do, and that’s not so good.
But it made me think…
Perhaps all we need is some good materials to get the conversation going?
Years back. I wrote a stack of stuff for some young tutors that we had hired at the school to do conversation practice with our students.
The material I prepared became my first ebook, with the whizzy title ‘Thirty Hot Conversation Lessons’.
It sold maybe three copies.
But anyway, this material was just sitting there on my desktop, unused.
So, I thought, hey, let’s get the (Swedish/Italian bilingual) wife to translate a few of the lessons, the easier ones, so I can use them right away with my online Swedish teachers.
And while she’s at it, she can translate the questions into Italian, too. That way I can share them on the club website.
So here we are, with the first two Italian conversation lessons!
The idea is to get you past the fear of interacting, in a language you know less well than your own, with a stranger who you know not at all.
Oh, I COULDN’T! What would I SAY???
Pick one of the two topics (we’ll be adding more soon), copy and paste the questions, look up any words you don’t know, prepare some answers if that makes you feel more secure, and you’re good to go.
If you have an Italian-speaking friend, buy them a beer, give them a print out of the questions, and say “I want to talk about these!”
They ask you, you ask them, easy-peasy!
Ditto if you go for a paid online lesson.
Any online teacher with half a brain would welcome a student who comes prepared with their own material and a clear idea of what they want from the lesson.
Maybe you could email the teacher the link to the topic you’ve chosen, as a courtesy?
I’ve added the ‘master’ page for this new material to the top menu of the club site, so it’ll be easy to find in the future.
It’s ‘Conversation‘, obviously.
January Sale: 20% Off Online Lessons and Ebooks!
Don’t forget that you can get 20% off online Italian lessons, and everything listed on the catalogue page of our new shop, with this coupon code:
Copy and paste it into the box in your shopping cart (AFTER you’ve made your selection) and your cart total will be reduced by twenty percent.
N.B. It’s not the item price that changes, it’s the cart total – you have to scroll down to see the reduction.
You can use the coupon code as often as you want while the sale is on (until Jan 7th…)
There’s no minimum or maximum spend.
So you could, for example, try one online lesson at 20% off. And then, if you enjoyed yourself, come back and buy a pack of five or ten, at a saving for quantity, and get the 20% off again!
Here’s that coupon code one more time:
And here are the links to our online shops: