Ahh, private language lessons - where do you stand when thinking about them? For learners who struggle to speak in the tough environment of a busy class, 1-to-1 structures are the peaceful and safe space they need to start talking. For busy people, online lessons can be the one way to fit learning into their schedule. And for every single one of us, a personal lesson means a personal commitment to concentrating with an expert helping you out for an hour.
But for many people, private language lessons are a mysterious and expensive waste of energy. You are convinced that you can learn this language all by yourself, that you don't need help and hiring an expert is for wimps. Well, read on, and I hope I'll be able to show you just how hiring the right language teacher/tutor/coach (never sure about job titles) can make your life so much easier.
You see, the time has been too long that people took language lessons in the same way they did at school. If you took your last language lessons back at school, you may think that this is the only way to work together. But I believe that you would be wrong to buy into this myth! Language lessons in adult education can be made much more about partnership. Recently, we discussed the 9 important issues to discuss with your tutor. Today I want to explain how just one email can boost what you get out of this expert by a lot!
Setting the Scene at Fluent: Bespoke Courses
When I started out offering private lessons in my languages, I wasn't sure where and what would be the best thing to offer people. But now, after nearly 2 years of teaching amazing people, I think my brand is undergoing a bit of a shift - I'm focusing on language learning skills, specific goals and tailored programmes more than just "lessons" with no goal.
This is why I am so excited about offering more bespoke coaching sessions and language support than ever. I've learnt that many of my students face barriers to learning that are internal demons, worse and more fierce than even the German word order. This week a student asked me to work with her in a specific way, outlining her goals and worries. This allowed me to send a much more specific proposal, and outline how we will work because I know what she wants and how we'll get there. The working methods are different from the run-of-the-mill video lessons that I would have offered her if I didn't know so much about what is required.
How To Write An Email of Awesome
When I know more about what my students want, I am able to provide it more easily. This goes for any learner working in partnership too. The one email you can send to improve your language lessons dramatically in just a few days is the one where you tell them what you need. What is the most frustrating thing about language learning? What are the things you really want to work on and improve? Are you confused about why or how to set a goal? Do you find that your family is a barrier to getting more language practice? No matter what it is, put it into words. Taking a method I've adapted from a time management course I took recently, you should:
- Clear your mind - write down all ideas, hopes, worries, frustrations, thoughts and beliefs about your own language study. The idea is to really document whatever comes to mind, without judging. Focus on your ambitions for a fixed time scale that you are planning to work with your coach or tutor on - months, weeks, years? This whole process can easily take 10 minutes.
- Convert your notes into three lists: Goals (the measurable stuff), Dreams (the visions that motivate you) and Beliefs (the ideas you should analyze and discuss with your support).
- Prioritize the points on your list using the letters A, B and C. The "C" priorities are the nice-to-haves that you don't really need right now. The "A" priorities are those that are both essential to your success and required to be achieved by your deadline.
- Start the email to your tutor - outline what you're learning for at the moment, where you are hoping to be and what drives you. You don't need to write a long essay. The core information must be about what you're hoping to achieve, when you want to do it by and what kind of work you want them to do for you.
- Sit on that email for a day, read through it again and see if you would like to add or delete any passages. Add one question more than you thought you needed.
- Hit Send. Exciting, right?
Some of the things a tutor/coach (what is the title here?!) like me can do for you after receiving this truly valuable information is to think differently about how they work with you. When I write specific proposals or make clear plans for my students, I am very happy because I can work together on solving their problem. One of the things that has been very popular was actually my exam prep pack - it's now offered as a readymade item in the price list.
The key is this: Straightforward conversation lessons can turn into bespoke coaching programmes and deliver more for your personal needs. After all, you're not at school anymore so why treat yourself as a powerless "receiver" in the learning relationship?
I would love to hear a comment from you below. Do you work with a language teacher? Have you tried coaching? What's worked for you and what hasn't?
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