I am curious as to the difference in working with a professional teacher vs. a community tutor. Does anyone have experience with both?
The reason I ask is that it seems as though some community tutors work strictly through conversing with the learner. I would assume that for this to occur the learner must have, at least, some knowledge of the language.
Other community tutors seem to have more of a structured curriculum which would be suitable for learners with little to no knowledge of the language.
Am I correct in this observations or, as I am a learner with limited knowledge of the language, would it be better for me to work with a professional teacher?
I would appreciate any feedback you can share. Thanks.
Theoretically, professional teachers can offer you REAL CLASSES, once they've studied how to teach you a language. I'd say it's better to START with professional teachers.
I'm sure that Community Tutors can do that as well, but most of the time they offer an "informal tutoring", so they will basically talk to you in their native language and correct your pronunciation, your grammar and teach you how to use some expressions, which helps A LOT.
My English is not perfect, so if you find any writing mistakes here, please let me know.
Joseph, professional teachers have some formal education (they studied linguistics or attended at least some course) and they learned how to teach a language. Community tutors are (in most cases) native speakers of the language and they can help you as well.
But here on italki you can find also some teachers (who have a formal education) but they applied to be community tutors or community tutors with a lot experience in teaching on italki and they got some formal education and switched to professional teachers.
Good question you raised. I also was wondering how it would be for a complete beginner. I never had the experience of starting from scratch on Italki. I mainly have conversation lessons in both Spanish and Arabic (intermediate level).
Theoretically there is a difference between teachers and tutors. However there are tutors that suddenly change status and become teachers. I think a dedicated tutor can help you to acquire the basics if you follow a book and a strict curriculum. The personality of the teacher is very important, is he/she patient? Does he have a good internet connexion and a microphone that doesn't whistle all the time? Does he really know his language? Is he enthusiastic about what he is doing or just earning some extra money? Does he articulate well when he speaks in his introduction video? So many criteria!
If you are thinking of learning Spanish and money is an issue, do not hesitate to hire a Venezuelan teacher. Latin Americans usually speak more slowly than people from Spain and are a little bit more outspoken then Europeans. If you want, I can send you the name of a teacher from Venezuela who is nice, punctual, has a good internet connection, is professional and has a positive attitude towards life, despite the problems her country is enduring.