Linguiblog!

International Mother Language Day

- By Jo

Today, 21st February, is the UN's 'International Mother Language Day'. It is a day to celebrate the wonder and diversity of all languages and cultures around the world, and especially remember those who have found themselves under threat due to their language and culture, both in the past, and also today. 

The origins of this day are steeped in tragedy. On 21st February 1952, millions of students took to the streets in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in order to protest about the Pakistani government, who at that time refused to recognise Bengali as an official language of Pakistan (and had tried to impose Urdu as the only official language). Four of these students were shot and killed by police during the protests.

In Bangladesh, 21st February is an important day in the country’s history and a chance to remember the past and also celebrate Bangladesh’s culture and language. People lay flowers at the Shaheed Minar (martyr's monument) in Dhakar to remember the protestors who died for their language and culture. There are also celebrations across the country, with many people enjoying parties and feasts.

At UNESCO, there are events on this day each year which promote linguistic and cultural diversity. In Barcelona, Spain, the “Linguapax Prize” is given to those who have made an outstanding contribution to linguistic diversity or multilingual education.  

Replicas of the Shaheed Minar monument in Dhakar have also been constructed around the world. There are replicas in both London and Oldham in the UK, and in other places where people of Bangladeshi origin have settled. An ‘International Mother Language Day’ monument was also erected at Ashfield Park in Sydney, Australia in 2006. It is engraved with the message "we will remember the martyrs of 21st February" in English and Bengali. 

       

Some love from Linguipod!

- By Jo

Love is in the air at Linguipod this week in the run up to Valentine's Day on Friday...and here's how to say those all important 3 words in lots of different languages. Do you know which ones they are? 

Lots of love, 

Linguipod x 

(P.S. Answers to follow...) 

 Picture: /blog-files/blog/w288/i-love-you-1.jpg

       

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