This article published in partnership with Lingua.ly - Learn a language with articles and vocab tools!
1. Share your Words
You spend time, energy and money on the right books, teachers and digital solutions, but only YOU can make sure the language you are learning in reading and writing activities actually overlaps with your speaking and listening practice.
Language is dynamic and so is learning one—you have to be flexible enough to read newspapers one day, study grammar the next and chat with your tutor about all of it. But, teachers don’t always know what you are learning in other forums and one of the best things you can do to maximize the impact of your italki lessons is to help them help you.
How? Give them some clues about your level and vocabulary. Use a free learning platform like Lingua.ly to collect words from articles and websites.
Next, share the new words and articles you are studying with your teacher before the session starts so they can orient your lesson to the same topic.
They’ll provide you with a thorough speaking and writing workout of words you have already met and reinforce your learning instead of starting you off in a completely new direction.
2. Practice strategically
There are many ways to know a word and cognitive scientists (who know a thing or two about learning) have figured out some tricks to help us transfer information from short to long-term memory more efficiently.
First off, meet new words in context (italki lessons are great for this) so you can guess their meaning instead of just looking them up. Second, you have to practice vocabulary words at strategic intervals in the days and weeks after you first learn them. Many popular language apps (Duolingo, Memrise, etc.) use spaced repetition—but only for the words they teach.
It’s up to you to take the language you learned in your italki lesson and add it to a smart platform to ensure you don’t forget your new vocabulary. Try Quizlet, Flashcards++ and Anki or use a language-specific tool like Lingua.ly.
3. Go beyond the “virtual classroom”
...and bring learning into your daily life. Tell your italki tutor what you are passionate about, what your work or study routine is like and why you are learning a new language to begin with. Your teacher can then suggest lesson content that is easier for you to relate to and more relevant. This gives you a better chance of acquiring new language and helps you continue your learning once the lessons is over.
For example, if you are shopping around for a new scooter or planning to watch the World Cup, let your tutor know so they can prepare a lesson anchored in that subject. Save the new words your italki tutor has taught you and then Google them after your lesson to find real websites in the language you are learning. Browse the reviews, read captions on images and maybe even listen to a related Youtube video or two—you will be reinforcing your learning, taking in more meaningful language and effectively doubling the results of your original lesson.
Working with an italki tutor is one of the best ways to ensure your language study is custom-fit to your level and needs. Try these easy tips to get more out of your learning. Remember, no matter what your level a new milestone is always just around the corner!
Meredith is a polyglot, applied linguist and digital learning enthusiast who has spent the last seven years working across the language learning industry in various roles from teaching to curriculum development and teacher-training. Previously, she managed the special projects team at Education First. She holds an M.Sc in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition from the University of Oxford, a B.A. in French language and literature from Georgetown University and speaks 5 languages fluently.
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