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The First 5 Hours of Online Spanish Lessons With italki
While I have known about italki for over a year and have used some of its free functions, until italki invited me to accept the italki Challenge and blog about it, I had never taken a paid italki class. Even before taking any classes I knew it is one of the most powerful Spanish learning tools online. After my first five hours I am now sure it is the most important Spanish learning tool available online. Italki can take you to Spanish fluency.
Here are the lessons I learned in my first 5 hours of one-on-one classes (I did Italian but the same lessons apply).
1. Use your first 5 hours to find a couple teachers that you are comfortable with, have hours that work for you and can provide structured learning. As you move past the first 5 hours it is best to work with only 1 or 2 teachers, since they will get to know your level and can tailor your Spanish learning to your own needs and interests. Thirty minute sessions are a great way to get a feel for a teacher so take advantage of this option.
2. Stay away from the instant tutoring sessions. While these can be a great tool as you advance, at the beginning these sessions don’t allow the teacher to prepare ahead of time for your specific needs.
3. Focus on learning how to recognize the different sounds in Spanish when they are spoken and also how to pronounce all the sounds. A simple way to do this is to start with learning the alphabet. You can practice by spelling out words that the teacher shows you. This will give you a great base for developing your Spanish.
4. Before your first lesson, prepare a list of basic words and phrases that you want to learn from the beginning. Phrases like “How do you say…?”, “Where is…?”, “My name is…”, etc. You can work with your teacher to find out what the Spanish equivalents are. Within an hour or two you should have a great selection of basic phrases as you learn Spanish. To advance even faster, prepare your own list before class, using the internet to translate the words and phrases into Spanish. Then, with your italki tutor, you can just practice the pronunciation.
5. Find a teacher who understands English but speaks to you in Spanish. This will make communication much easier for both of you at the beginning. Once you begin to learn Spanish you should move away from English-speaking teachers.
6. If you have specific goals in learning Spanish, take those into account when choosing your teachers. For example, are you moving to a specific country? Then focus on teachers from that country. Or maybe you are a musician and want to learn how to sing in Spanish. Find a teacher who has a background (or at least in interest in) music.
7. Find language partners on italki to supplement and reinforce your paid classes. This is a great way to practice and learn Spanish, while keeping the cost lower.
8. Take notes during class. Afterwards, you can review and organize them, for use with other learning tools (see #9 below).
9. Spend a few minutes after each session to review your notes, organize them and put any new vocabulary words into Memrise (Memrise is a tool to learn vocabulary and is not related to italki). I noticed that by combining both italki and Memrise I can speed up my learning.
10. Spend a few minutes every day, between sessions, working with your other Spanish learning tools. This will allow you to get the most out of your paid italki classes.
If you take these suggestions into account as you start Spanish with italki, you will learn quicker, better and at the same time, spend less money.