First Ever Online Language Practice!

August 25, 2016

As part of my ongoing Slovak binge I've decided to finally give italki.com a try. My current language exchange partner is leaving soon, and I want to keep getting speaking practice in order to regain my former conversational fluency.

I've never used Skype for language practice before. Odd, no? I've always felt I had enough language practice through language exchange clubs and living in different countries.

This could be a breakthrough for me in terms of language practice efficiency. We'll see. I'll report after my trial lessons next week.

I'm very picky about language teachers and am allergic to any kind of formal instruction since I have my own method. The Slovak teachers'/tutors' profiles put me off a bit with their emphasis on providing materials and structure for their students and helping beginners learn the language. I realize they're catering to the average student, though.

A small barrier for me is the need for an Internet connection. I don't have one at home as a matter of principle, so I'll have to do this at one of the cafes that I frequent in town. Not a big problem, I think.

UPDATE 1: AUG. 31

I definitely prefer face-to-face contact, but I'm going to continue. My language coach immediately adapted to my needs, and we simply spoke Slovak for 30 minutes. I did most of the talking — probably 70%, which is about optimal. She wrote down all her corrections and answers to my language questions in the chat window, which is also perfect. The student can then choose which of these corrections are fit to carry over into their vocabulary notebook to include in their frictionless learning process.

At the end of the lesson the coach asked how I envisioned our future lessons together. This is always an interesting moment for a self-directed learner. The teacher asked if I wanted to discuss some particular topics together (implying that she would prepare some materials for me). I said I'd like to talk about the subjects that are relevant for me right now. So I'll just be talking about whatever it is I'm thinking about. This is best for me, but it may feel a bit forced at first because we don't really know each other.

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