In the online tutoring space, the competition is fierce. There are a number of big platforms and you can find tutors for really low prices.
But when it comes to finding a good tutor, the dollar tag shouldn’t be the deciding factor. The quality of the teachers is what you want to look for.
When I’m on the hunt for a new language teacher, it’s an often grueling process. With Russian, it took me trying out sessions with eight different people before I finally settled on someone I clicked with. But then, things changed and she decided not to continue teaching and I was left straggling to replace her.
As an independent learner, where motivation and consistency are critical to your success, this can be devastating.
So where can you find high quality, reliable tutors?
Lingoci is a great start.
Lingoci is an online language learning platform that connects students with tutors for one-on-one lessons. They currently offer Spanish, French, Italian, Swedish, and German, so while it doesn’t cover everything, it does include a reasonable selection.
Each lesson is 55-minutes long and is taught via Skype, so you don’t have to worry about downloading any of the special applications some online tutoring platforms require.
Studying French with Lingoci
When you visit the Lingoci website, you have the option of taking a free trial lesson. You’re given a short survey to fill out in order to access the scheduling page.
From there, you’re able to book your lesson using their calendar tool. You’re able to see when tutors are available in your time zone and select your lesson time from there.
Before your lesson, you receive several email reminders – something that’s highly convenient in the off chance you miss one or it doesn’t make it to your inbox. SMS reminders are also an option for those that want the extra notification (or want to be notified some way other than email).
Finally, at the selected time, the lesson starts.
Like most tutoring sessions, the first is spent so that the tutor can:
* Estimate your current level
* Find out what you want to achieve
* Discover how you learn best (or prefer to learn)
I did a total of three lessons with my tutor so that I could really explore the quality of the lessons. I wanted to be able to really dig in past the “let’s get to know one another” phase and see how flexible my tutor was in meeting my needs.
Very positive. (Especially because it made me realize that I need to speak way more — my accent has really gone downhill!)
Things I Like About Studying with Lingoci
The hours are convenient despite different time zones // I was worried that because I was studying with someone based in Europe, that finding a time suitable for both of our schedules would be difficult. Thankfully, it wasn’t. My tutor had a good availability, so finding a time she and I were both free was convenient.
Transparency // One of the things that I liked most about selecting a tutor was that it’s pretty easy to find someone suitable even before your trial lesson. The tutors are asked to detail the students they work best with (age, level, interest), where they’re from and what they’re best at teaching. If you have an idea of what works for you (or at the very least, what you think you’d like to work on), choosing the right tutor is easy. But if, for whatever reason, your first choice doesn’t work out, Lingoci is happy to pair you with another tutor.
Quality // I was (am) very happy with my tutor – that’s Isabelle by the way! She adapted the lessons to my level, helped me hone in on the things I really needed to work on and only corrected me when necessary. She was keen on helping me determine what would be best for me in order to continue moving forward. She created relevant exercises and practice for me to complete during our sessions and was just truly lovely to study with. Overall, the tutors go through a rigorous screening process, so you get experienced and highly qualified people to work with.
Price // The prices at Lingoci are very reasonable. Even more so when you consider the quality of your tutor.
My Tutor’s Ability to Keep Things Going // My tutor, while she asked me regularly about the direction of our lessons, really kept our lessons moving forward. She allowed me to take as much responsibility as I wanted or needed to take, but did an excellent job of keeping things going. When you’re trying to think, speak and understand another language, being responsible for the conversation and ideas for the lesson itself can be one thing too many. My tutor clearly understands this is the case, and she kept an excellent balance between keeping things on track the way she knew I needed and keeping things on track the way I wanted because it aligned with my goals.
Things That Could Be Better
The obvious go-to in this section would be language selection. While French, Italian and Spanish are on my radar, they’re not necessarily languages I’m actively studying. The platform would appeal to me much more if it included languages like Russian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese. And I’m sure there are other languages learners would love to see on the list.
There’s always the possibility of expansion, but until that happens, Lingoci is limited in terms of selection.
My only other suggestion would be to include an introduction video from their tutors. While free demo lessons are great, seeing/hearing your tutor before studying with them would be a great way to get a feel for their style and personality.
To Sum Up: My Thoughts on Lingoci
Compared to some of its competitors, Lingoci has a higher price tag – but not by much. The average lesson is within the vicinity of $20, a still reasonable fee, particularly when considering the value you’re getting.
The proof? I am pretty much fluent in French. I speak it every day at home, read regularly in the language and have no problem operating in it in 99% of circumstances. I didn’t think I would need or want lessons in the language. That seemed more like something I would do for languages I was at the beginner or intermediate stage with, or for those which I didn’t have regular access to native speakers.
But then I had my trial lesson with Isabelle, and I realized that perhaps, having someone to actually explain French to me (the way I had English explained to me) wouldn’t be a bad thing. You can better master and use the rules when you understand them. So I took another lesson and I was hooked. A good tutor, even for an advanced student, is worth every penny.
I plan to continue my lessons with Isabelle. She’s engaging, helpful and really knowledgeable. She finds resources that help me understand the things I’d like to work on. As far as online language schools, Lingoci is at the top of my list.
Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I make a small commission if you choose to book through Lingoci at no additional cost to you. This money goes towards continuing to improve Eurolinguiste and provide high quality language articles and reviews.
11 Jan 2018 - Travel