Linguiblog!

Developments here at Linguipod

- By Jo

We've had our doors open to tutors for about a week now, and we're really excited about it all! We now have tutors who can offer French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and English and we have taken enquiries from tutors of other languages too. All tutors who are live on our site can be found by students from day one.

Currently our main focus is growing the number of tutors on the site. If we find pockets of tutors in particular cities we will start to advertise locally. Our main launch to students will come in summer, however.

We are currently advertising for tutors, growing followers, friends and interest in our site and we'd love you to be part of it. If you are (or know) a linguist or a native speaker of another language and you (they) are interested in working with us, we'd love to hear from you (them). Spread the word! Merci Smile

       

Tips for Skype Tutoring

- By Jo

Now that I am a Skype tutoring convert, I thought it'd be interesting to share with you what I have learnt on my Skype tuition journey so far. Here are my top tips:

1. Make sure your background looks professional. It seems really obvious, but it's something that could easily be forgotten. After all, a huge pile of washing behind you doesn't look good... 

2. Make sure you are looking presentable too, just as you would for any other tutoring engagement...but you can always treat your toes to some comfy slippers! ;)

3. Test the webcam in advance to make sure it is at the right angle and that it is clear. Face towards the light, so you don't get a silhouette-effect. 

4. Test your Skype settings before you start tutoring and make sure that your microphone and speakers are set up correctly. You can use the Skype 'Call testing service' to make sure that your settings are the best they can be. 

5. If your wifi signal is not that reliable, using a wired connection might be useful to make sure that there are no outages during your tutoring session.  Similarly, it may be a good idea to use a headset if there is background noise where you are, as it will make for a clearer video call.

6. Run through all of the features of Skype with your student to ensure that they can use them effectively.

7. Make sure you agree on a time with your student and stick to it, and don't be late. 

8. Make sure that you prepare all materials fully in advance - there's nothing worse than hunting around for a file and leaving the student waiting! If you need to find something last minute, make sure the student is busy working on a task while you sort it out. 

9. Use the screen sharing facility. It's great as a 'virtual whiteboard' . Students can see exactly what you put up. You can also make sure students are on task and if they are typing answers onto the computer, you can see them and discuss their answers and make corrections. 

10. Try to digitise any material that you can as it'll be easier to use. You can always scan in non-digital teaching aids (remember to consider copyright issues though). 

11. Use any visual aids that you would normally use in face-to-face teaching. If you like flashcards,  show them via the webcam. It's also great seeing students' reactions on there!

12. Use the IM facility. This is great for giving instant feedback or checking student spelling or writing instantly. 

13. Share files! This is an excellent way to send work to a student and receive work back for marking. You could also send audio files for listening activities. Students could send you homework back via Skype too!

14. Make use of the fact that you are online - you can send web links quickly and easily, use online language-learning games, and watch videos with your students - the possibilities are endless! I think Skype tutoring makes you really creative. 

15. Use teaching tools like countdown timer clocks for timing student activities (like the one from teachit.co.uk)- this really visual and adds to the fun, and keeps up the pace of your teaching too! 

We'd love to hear about your experiences of teaching on Skype, and any tips that you have. Get in touch with us via the contact form or on twitter @Linguipod . Looking forward to hearing from you! 

 

       

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: http://linguipod.co.uk/tutoring 

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!