If you are serious about learning Spanish, one of the key checklist items is to find a good tutor. Even if you already know the basics and want to become an advanced Spanish learner, finding a tutor is an important option to consider.
A good tutor will bring both fun and experience to your Spanish learning. After all a language is more than just words – it has a cultural background and numerous nuances. The right tutor will help you learn the core of the language while also enabling you to know its subtleties.
The important question is: how to find the right Spanish tutor? There are many ways of going about it, from looking them up online to seeking registered language agencies, and from qualified freelancers to classes at your local languages institution, to taking classes online. You have virtually endless options.
This article provides a quick rundown of the important things you should consider when choosing the right tutor.
Know their qualifications
This is the single most important consideration when you are looking for a Spanish tutor. Be sure to ask the following questions: What are the tutor’s qualifications? Does he or she have prior experience teaching Spanish as a foreign langauge?
Is their experience academic, freelance, institutional or online? Do they have a portfolio they can boast of? Do they take a structured approach to teaching or do they take a more tailored approach depending on the unique needs of each student? Did they learn Spanish in a native lingual environment or somewhere else?
These questions will help you discern the quality of the tutor. After all, you will be investing your money and time in the project. You want to be sure that you meet the right person who can genuinely help you. So don’t hesitate to put forth some serious questions when choosing a tutor.
Ask for a preliminary interview
Following up on the previous point, ask for a preliminary interview with a potential tutor. Such an interview will provide you an opportunity to judge him or her and ask the aforementioned questions.
Give some background info about your Spanish learning. See if the tutor recommends a suitable approach. You may also want to check whether or not the tutor can help you grasp the desired degree of expertise in Spanish within your preferred timeline.
Basically, the interview is meant to give you an idea of how suitable a tutor is to your unique learning needs. After all, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to learning Spanish.
Check out the curriculum
Suppose you wanted to learn conversational Spanish, but when you hired a tutor you realized that he or she is an expert in teaching literary Spanish. This sort of thing can happen if you don’t do the requisite legwork before hiring a tutor.
An important part of this legwork is to check out the curriculum. Does the tutor follow a specific curriculum in teaching Spanish? If so, check it out to see how closely it matches your learning requirements.
If there’s no set curriculum, can the tutor offer a tailored course specifically for you? If yes, spell out all aspects of Spanish language that you want to learn. See if the tutor is qualified, equipped and ready to help you in those areas.
The teaching approach
What kind of approach does the tutor take to teaching Spanish? This is another fundamental consideration when you are looking for the right tutor. Do they include enough conversations and verbal forms of teaching?
Does he or she also use non-verbal forms, such as reading and writing? Can the tutor accommodate your specific requirements and take a customized approach?
This is important because there’s no set Spanish teaching approach. It really depends on your own requirements. If you want to read and write in Spanish, you may want to focus on the written aspect with some focus on the pronunciations.
If you want to converse in Spanish on the other hand, conversational and verbal communication will be your top priority. So make sure that your tutor can offer the kind of approach that best suits your needs.
The classroom environment
Learning a language is a lot easier in the right environment. This is particularly true for the spoken and conversational aspect of the language. When you are looking for a Spanish tutor, determine the kind of classroom environment he or she can offer. Will they teach in a group or offer you individual instruction?
Again, the preferred mode for you really depends on your own personal goals.
If you seek to focus on a particular area of the language, such as grammar or vocabulary, you may go for individual instruction. This will allow you to navigate some of the more technical areas of the language, supported by the full attention of the tutor.
If you want to be fluent in spoken Spanish, a group setting may be far more suitable for you. Alternatively, you could opt to completely immerse yourself in the language. Many charitable organizations in Latin America offer tutored language lessons and board in return for your help in community projects.
While this requires a much greater commitment, many people find that they come away with an excellent handle on the language, as well as some incredible memories. Know your needs and goals, and then see if the tutor, or organization, can cater to them.
At the end of the day, you are a unique person with your own set of learning goals. The best tutor is the one who can accommodate your needs and offer a tailored approach.
By considering the factors above, you will be able to make the right choice of a tutor and save yourself both time and money!