How to choose online Spanish tutors
With a quick Google search one kind find an assortment of online Spanish tutoring services. At first glance, they seem to provide similar services. So how can you differentiate one service from another to find the one that is best for you? What elements should you consider when you are choosing a Spanish tutoring service for your Spanish language learning program?
The following is a guideline to help you choose:
(1) Structured curriculum based program vs. Open lessons?
For beginner to intermediate level Spanish learners, the open lesson/unstructured model is not ideal. Open lessons mean that you and your online Spanish tutor will choose a topic for each lesson. Open lessons have no set structure. You may talk about current events in one lesson and may talk about how to conjugate Spanish verbs in the following lesson, therefore, open lessons can be confusing for beginner Spanish language learners. After weeks of studying in this format you may discover large holes in your understanding making it difficult to use what you’ve learned in practical situations.
Without a structure or lesson plans, it’s difficult to gauge your progress. Many parts of Spanish grammar are built on other parts, one concept upon another. For example, it would be easier to learn to conjugate a Spanish verb in the present tense and build on that structure to then learn the past tense forms. So if you’re starting from zero or you are still learning how to use common grammatical structures, you will want to look for a service that offers a structured curriculum so that you learn Spanish grammar in a logical order. You will progress faster and enjoy it more.
If you are already at an advanced level of Spanish, on the other hand, structured lessons are not as critical. As an advanced Spanish student you already have a good foundation in the Spanish language and can correctly use Spanish grammar most of the time. You may even know what you want to focus on learning or which part of the Spanish grammar you have difficulty understanding.
(2) Managed staff vs. Freelance Spanish tutor model?
The followings are differences between the 2 models:
- In the Managed staff Spanish tutor model, the tutors are screened for qualifications and certifications to be professional teachers through the hiring process. A freelance tutor, on the other hand, is often not subject to a screening process but will sometimes publish their qualifications.
- Freelance Spanish tutors often times don’t offer a structured curriculum. Many of them give open unstructured lessons.
- Freelance tutors are not part of a team and therefore don’t have a back-up if they are unable to provide classes for some reason. In the Managed staff model, your scheduled class will usually not be interrupted or cancelled even if the tutor you have chosen becomes unable to give you a lesson for some reason. Other tutors can substitute to give you the lesson and pickup where the other teacher left off.
- With the Managed staff model, the tutors communicate to each other about their students’ progress and what they have covered in the lessons. So even if you have several different tutors, your tutor can prepare the lesson ahead based on the report from your previous lesson, therefore, you will not waste your valuable lesson time to sort out where you are at in your lesson.
- In the Managed staff model, the quality of the curriculum and teaching can be continually evaluated and improved. In the Freelance tutor model, oversight over the quality of teaching and the curriculum doesn’t exist.
- The Managed staff model allows for quality control over the user experience including better internet connections and audio/video equipment to provide a seamless online experience.
- The benefits of the Managed staff model do not come without cost. A freelancer doesn’t have to incur the cost of those benefits therefore they may be able to pass the savings on to you.
Needless to say, a high quality internet connection is very important to having a good online Spanish lesson experience. With the Freelance Spanish tutor model, you are at mercy of the internet quality that the freelancer has, often in his/her home. Having a poor internet connection during the lessons is not only frustrating but also a waste of your time and money. If you can’t hear your teacher well or the connection is dropping throughout the class, you won’t be able concentrate to the lesson and learn Spanish. You want to make sure your tutor or the online Spanish tutoring company of your choice provides a high-speed and high-quality internet connection and that the problems with the internet connection should not interrupt your lessons.
(3) Does the tutor give you homework or external resources to continue to learn Spanish outside the lesson?
The key to becoming a functional or fluent Spanish speaker quickly is how well you immerse yourself in the Spanish language. Taking 2-3 Spanish online tutoring sessions per week will help you to be able to speak Spanish much quicker than taking only one session a week. Having homework to reinforce what you learn in the session will help tremendously to improve your fluency. We advise spending at least 2 hours of time practicing Spanish outside of class for every hour in class.
Spandango satisfies all important elements that we have addressed above to help you improve your Spanish quickly. We have 6 different curriculums: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advance levels, Fast track, Conversational and a Children’s (age 7-11) program. Our teachers have extensive teaching experience. They are also part of a managed staff that ensures quality of teaching. We have a high-speed, high-quality internet connection. Our teachers have an internal communication system so that they are always well prepared to give you lessons. You receive homework and resources to continue learning Spanish outside lesson time that reinforces what you learn in class.