Do you Skype?

- By Jo

As a tutor I was always a bit wary of online tutoring and actually never sought out opportunities for tutoring on Skype. It just didn't seem like it would work as well as face-to-face tutoring somehow. Eventually, I was persuaded to try it by a student who was often working away from home and to my amazement, it was really great! It's just a slightly different way of working, and I guess it may take a little time to get used to,  but it has some great advantages to both the tutor and the student. 

These are the advantages of tutoring via Skype, which I have found:

1. You can both stay in the comfort of your own home! This not only means you can be incredibly comfortable, but also neither tutor nor student has to pay travel costs. 

2. As a tutor, you can schedule several tutoring sessions back-to-back. This increases the number of students you can teach per day, thus increasing your potential earnings. 

3. You can reach more students as they don't have to travel to you. It doesn't matter where they are as long as they have an internet connection.

4. The video call functions of Skype mean that you can see your student and vice versa, so you can do all the visual teaching you need to and clearly see student responses.

5. The screen-sharing function can be used to show teaching aids or be used as a 'virtual whiteboard'. If you get students to do exercises on the computer, you can see what the students are writing and give instant feedback. You can also check that your student is on task! 

6. The IM-feature is also handy. If you just want to type something quickly, it's great. I like it for quickly making corrections, or checking students' spelling. 

7. You can send files quickly and easily. This is great for worksheets or grammar summaries and other things that you want the student to keep for reference.

What do you think? If you haven't tried Skype tutoring yet, I'd definitely recommend it. To offer Skype tutoring on Linguipod, simply provide the details on your tutor page, and we'll display that you can offer this service. Easy peasy! Let's get tutoring! Cool



We've opened our doors to tutors!

- By Jo

Picture: /blog-files/blog/w288/linguipod-100.jpgLinguipod are now recruiting tutors of all languages for our bright new website! If you are a language tutor, or would like to be, please check us out. 

We are looking for people with skills in all languages, including English. You may be a languages teacher or a retired teacher looking for some extra money, you could be a professional language tutor, an EFL teacher, a Latin teacher, a languages student or recent graduate, or a native speaker looking to share your language with others... the possible scenarios are endless. If you're experienced or looking for your first tutoring job, it doesn't matter. All we ask for is enthusiasm and a commitment to teaching your language! 

You can sign up on the site and you get your own profile page. You are in charge of the content and your rate. Students can then contact you directly to arrange lessons.  

We think that our site will be a lovely place to be! Here are the reasons why we think you should give us a try, and a bit more about how it all works: 

We are a friendly bunch and wish to develop the site with tutors in mind. If you have any comments or questions at any time we'd be pleased to hear from you. Merci mille fois and we look forward to having you on board.


Adult learners - Why get a tutor?

- By Jo

Here at Linguipod we think that language tutors are awesome (of course!)….but why bother getting one?  You could learn a language by yourself, right?

I guess it depends on how you work. I am a linguist myself and so I guess I have more motivation than your average person to learn languages. However, I have been finding it hard to motivate myself and find the time to learn Spanish. Life just seems to get in the way! I did do an evening class, which was great for a time, but now there’s nothing really available in my area, so I was faced with a choice of either getting a tutor or self-teaching. I find that having a set time to visit a tutor and having that one-to-one contact has been invaluable. Having such individualised attention is fantastic and I’m coming on leaps and bounds.  There are certain things you just can’t do by yourself as effectively, such as practising speaking and having someone to check your written work for you. Having a tutor has really motivated me and given me confidence.

As an adult learner who is perhaps returning to study a language after a long time or who is perhaps starting from scratch, I’d say it’s probably one of the best ways to give yourself a head start. All of our tutors will tailor lessons uniquely to you…so there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach that you would find in a class. For example, if you would rather concentrate on oral skills, then your tutor can put in place a programme emphasising that particular area. Or, if you find writing particularly tricky, your tutor can adapt the lessons to suit you too. A good tutor will also keep on refining and adapting the lessons as you go along, so that you get the most out of them and so that they can get the best out of you.

It is therefore really important to talk to our tutors about what you want from your sessions. They will be more than happy to help!


British Chamber of Commerce calls for better language skills

- By Jo

Over 60% of British trade is with non-English speaking countriesI saw today that the British Chamber of Commerce is calling for changes in the “approach to the importance of language learning” to ensure that Britain remains competitive in business in the future.  This important body has even suggested that language learning should be compulsory until AS level so that we can better conduct business abroad.  As a country we are currently seriously underperforming in business as a result of poor language skills.
In their press release the BCC highlights the current problems for British businesses on the global stage:

  • Knowledge of other languages is a critical skill for exporters. 62% of non-exporters that are likely to consider trading internationally in the future see proficiency in foreign languages – or lack thereof – as a barrier to do so.
  • Even when business owners claim some language knowledge, very few speak well enough to conduct deals in their buyers’ language, and this is doubly important when conducting business outside the largest cities and administrative centres.
  • French remains the most commonly spoken language, with 71% of business owners claiming some knowledge. However, only five per cent are able to converse fluently enough in French to conduct business deals in that language.
  • When looking at other trading partners in the eurozone, 57% spoke no German, 65% no Spanish, and 76% no Italian.
    Looking at faster-growing markets outside the eurozone, the problem is even more acute: 95% of business owners have no knowledge whatsoever of either Russian or Chinese, despite these two economies forecast by the IMF to grow by 3.4% and 7.75% respectively. Less than one per cent feel that they can converse fluently in either language.

(British Chamber of Commerce  – 10/06/13)

I have provided a link to their full press release below, which makes for interesting reading:

Yet another reason to keep up those language lessons, hey?



Natural gifts?

- By Jo

Children more skilled at second languagesChildren are definitely more skilled at picking up a second language than adults. In fact, researchers have proven that this is the case. According to the ‘critical period hypothesis’ there is a certain time in a child’s life in which second language acquisition skills are at their peak. During this time, children have an almost universal success rate of achieving near fluency and perfect accents in foreign languages!

There is some disagreement as to when this period is – some say that it ends at the age of 6 or 7 and others think it lasts a bit longer, extending through puberty. However, experts agree that once that period is over, it becomes a lot harder for a person to learn a new language.

Nevertheless, it is important to stress that just because a child becomes fluent in, say, Italian, does not mean that he or she will be speaking that language as an adult. Without opportunities for continued exposure to the language and practice, the child’s abilities and fluency diminish. Also, I must stress that this does not mean that adults are incapable of achieving fluency in a language. So, just because your parents didn’t introduce you to Russian aged 8, does not mean you can’t learn it now - it may just take a little more motivation and hard work – but the process can be a lot of fun and the results extremely satisfying!