Check out our updated Community
Shan Teacher
Community Tutor
Structured class vs conversation Recently I trialed a few teachers before I decide the best teacher for me to study with. However, I'm struggling to decide who will best help me in my language journey. 

I spoke to both teachers for an hour. One allowed me to speak alot more, but there was little structure to the class. I really enjoyed this as it was quite comfortable and enjoyable to try and express myself freely while the teacher patiently asked me questions and listened to my study goals etc.  She said we will have more structured classes in the future.

The second teacher and I also spoke for one hour. She had a very clear structure and used an interactive whiteboard to assist the class, which was neat and quite useful. However it was a totally different style of class. It was much less conversational but I probably did get more listening practice in. The teacher asked me to describe pictures and make sentences with words. We also did some reading and she asked me comprehension questions. I didnt really enjoy the second class as much as the first one so was initially less enthusiastic about doing it again. She didn't ask me much about my study goals, but did send me feed back about my level and how we will approach classes in the future if I continue to have lessons with her. 

What class do you think would be more effective?
Mar 29, 2018 11:35 AM
Comments · 5

I think a combination of the two approaches will be effective.

Free conversation classes are useful to help you to start talking in your target language, but after a while it gets boring. 

Structured classes are more demanding and oblige you to listen and do more homework.

Why limit yourself to one teacher?

March 29, 2018

I don't know why there should be a choice between conversation and structure. A good teacher doesn't force you through textbook pages or a generic lesson about describing pictures or filling in words on totally disjointed and uninteresting sentences. I think a good teacher provides structure but is flexible enough not to make you jump through pre-designed hoops of no importance or interest to you. The goal is to get to the point where the student speaks more than the teacher, so any exercises should be designed to get to that stage with a good foundation. I don't believe in impersonal and strictly by the book teaching.

I think you have your answer: you found the first class more enjoyable, which is important feedback for something sustainable long-term. It's not about wanting something fun or easy. I think that if we're challenged appropriately, it's enjoyable, even - and perhaps, because! - if we have to work hard to understand. We don't find enjoyable supposedly "professional" approaches that aren't based on what we really need to know and find interesting, and where there's no personal touch.

March 29, 2018
Thank you so much. Ultimately I think it depends on your goals and the method you prefer. Having thought more and read alot of the comments on here I think I'll choose the first teacher. I've come to the conclusion that the second class although structured really wasnt that useful. I described random sets of pictures and made sentences with random sets of words. I never expressed my thoughts or said what I wanted to, like in the first class. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and I hope this post proves helpful to other people.
March 29, 2018
Thanks for your thoughts. Yeah I think the balance of both approaches would be beneficial. 
March 29, 2018


I have already a big experience of taking lessons here, and I can give you some recommendations that work for me, but not a fact will work for you. 

First of all, you don't must to stick with one teacher. Better to have a teacher for structural lessons and a tutor or few tutors for conversations. 

Second, you can take several lessons from one teacher before you make decision. It is really hard to find good teacher for intermediate level, just because teaching style need be different from  beginners.

Third, you can have and try here as many teachers as you want, don't be shy.

And last, you have English as native, you can easily find a language exchange partner who is a good teacher.

Good luck!

April 1, 2018
Shan Teacher
Language Skills
English, Korean, Other
Learning Language
Korean, Other