What Does It Take To Be A Great Language Tutor?

Do you consider yourself a great language teacher? I hope so! And if you are reading this post, you are motivated to improve, even if you are already great. However, even if you are a great tutor, you can likely think of a tutor who was not so fantastic. This might be surprising but being a specialist in the language you tutor does not necessarily translate into tutoring well!

Beyond your linguistic capabilities, it is vital that you build supportive, helpful relationships with students. That brings me to my following question: As a language teacher, what skills are required to maintain and cultivate supportive and helpful relationships with students? Let’s cover my 6 tips!

Infuse passion in your teaching


Infusing creativity, playfulness, and passion into your courses is essential. Classes have a tendency to feel routine or drab if you do not use stimulating activities or if you repeatedly do the same thing, and that is even more of a fact if your students perceive their prior tutors as too demanding, uninspiring, or boring. You more than likely will not get anywhere with these types of students if you do not spark their interest in the language ahead of time. Learn more about being an online French tutor on Preply.

To ignite this spark, you and your students alike should discuss and consider the following questions:

  • Why is this language so helpful to learn?
  • How can this language benefit my life?
  • What is so great about learning this language?
  • What are the intangible and tangible benefits of learning this language?

Taking time to infuse passion into your educatees will assist you in appropriately challenging their knowledge of the language, as well as push them to learn.

Online French tutors on Preply personalize their learning environment

How will students react to your educational activities and lessons? Do they offer any suggestions? What type of suggestions?

Great teachers like the online French tutors on Preply, have the ability to cater to the unique preferences and needs of every class, as well as manage every classroom by making adjustments that favor students’ learning. One example of that is finding out what your students like the most, whether that be incorporating technology and apps, performing hands-on activities, practicing conversations, reading stories, or creating a game out of conjugation drills. They are more apt to learn and recall patterns and vocabulary when they are having a good time in the process—so long as it is a bit challenging!

Language learning already can be quite challenging when we are having a good time. Imagine attempting to learn a language once the activities put you to sleep! Great teachers do not allow this to happen because they have the ability to connect with their student body and allow them to influence their pedagogic choices.

Be connectable in your teaching


There’s a schism between your teaching skills and your knowledge of the language. So, your capability of connecting and forming relationships is an important skill. Most of us have had highly accomplished teachers in college or high school who did not teach us all that much, despite their professional status in the language.

That’s probably because we felt as if they did not care about or understand us. Or we possibly perceived their courses as too challenging or unstimulating. Our duty is to discard the specialized language, as well as learn to explain important concepts, ideas, and patterns in ways students may relate to.

For instance, if they like Snapchat, use this as a learning tool. Or maybe if there are any athletes in your class, you can incorporate sports activities into a lesson.

Make a language friendlier and more connectable for students by using stories, mnemonic devices, pictures, songs, or anything “out of the box,” linking it to the students’ lives within a personal manner. You also should use authentic media such as videos to get the students engaged.

Infuse hopefulness in your teaching

Your degree of hopefulness is contagious. It’ll inspire students to learn and think that they’re able to pick up the language! Attempt to use intentional, specific, and verbal praise and encouragement. It’s what helps allay their insecurity, doubt, and frustration and occasionally even a simple lack of interest in it.

In that sense, great teachers should be sensitive enough to figure out where students are emotionally concerning the language and appropriately customize their educational activities. This suggests reacting empathically to a language’s complexities.

Hold your students accountable

The most effective tutors cannot “make” a student pass the class or learn if the student does not focus, put in the effort, or engage with it. Students ideally always should work hard! Whether students pass, learn, or take advantage of the classroom also is a reflection of their effort; not just your teaching capabilities.

While that’s comforting news, in no way does it nullify your part in being the best tutor you can be, in caring about them, connecting with them, tuning into their needs, as well as personalizing your teaching activities accordingly! Ultimately, if your learners do not bring their focused brains, they only can learn so much!

Invite student participation in your teaching

Great teachers encourage student participation as much as they can. Research shows that student participation directly correlates with learning a language successfully. Quiet, passive students more than likely are not learning as much as the ones who participate regularly and actively. If you see a more reserved student, there isn’t any need to panic; simply make your approach more collaborative.

Ask a question like, “How may I make this a better experience so we may work together?” If it is a problem, you might say, “I am not sure I am being clear; therefore, could you tell me when I am not, or ask questions, in order for me to know that I am not losing you?” The importance of relational skills can’t be overlooked, because educatees will participate more once they feel it’s okay to make mistakes and they’re respected by you.

You might have the highest acumen within your city yet being a great tutor encompasses so much more. Beyond any skills, tutoring well ultimately depends upon your capability of personally connecting with students and encouraging them to learn collaboratively and creatively in ways they can enjoy, and to react to their unique needs and preferences.

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