Do you need a tutor?
Have you tried learning a new language recently?
When was it the last time you tried learning a new language?
Did you try to learn it on your own or had you appointed a private tutor to teach it to you? Or was it a language training institute that you had enrolled yourself at?
If you tried learning on your own, we are more or less sure that you must have given up halfway! We do not say that you were lazy or insincere or that you did not have the right aptitude to learn a language. It was most probably because self-learning is enough only for learning basic vocabulary required for expressing simple things such as Good day, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, good night, etc. by searching for these words on the internet. Similarly, one may be able to speak a single word or phrase such as ‘book, table, air, water, pen, pencil, etc.’ with the help of self-learning. Easy questions and answers such as ‘what is your name? my name is …, how are you? I am fine, etc.’ might also come in handy if one goes for quick translation using auto-translate apps and software.
What about perfection, but? What about the grammar concepts which remain untouched or unlearnt when one opts for self-learning alone? One can know the nitty-gritty of a language only when one learns a language in a systematic and thorough manner right from the basics, from a language expert or from one who is proficient in the language, and also holds proof of the same.
When you learn a language from a professional language instructor or trainer or teacher or tutor, you get to understand every concept whether it is a component of grammar, vocabulary, anything, very clearly and deeply. Maybe, teachers know a bit more than novices do; that’s why they occupy the position that they are in. Language instructors use a number of methodologists for teaching which ranges from conventional, tried and tested methods to technically advanced and ideologically innovative ones.
A few of these methods are:-
1) Grammar translation
Here, grammar concepts are translated from a language already known to a student, and are then taught in the target language.
2) Total physical response
In this method, not a single word from another language is used to teach a target language to a student. Actions (movements) and gestures are used to explain meanings of expressions such as ‘sit down’, ‘get up’, ‘go out’, ‘come in’, etc. spoken in the target language.
3) Interactive or communicative approach
Here, language is taught via constant interaction between the student and the instructor. The instructor poses a question, and also answers it in such a way that the student automatically understands the meaning of the question, and learns how to answer it. For example, if the teacher asks, “What is your name?”, and answers “My name is … (the student’s name)” in the target language, the student is bound to understand that the question was regarding his or her name.
4) Direct way or natural approach
Here, no grammar-translation takes place, at all. Listening and speaking start first. A language is taught even to grown-ups the same way as it is taught to a toddler. It is a natural learning process, wherein reading and writing come at a much later stage.
In this methodology, a student is expected to totally get immersed in the new language. Every word, every phrase is taught with the help of some or the other medium such as showing the object for which a word stands, either in reality (life-size) object or a picture of it in a book. A student is not allowed to speak a single word from another language.
One who opts only for self-study does not usually know how to apply these learning methodologies correctly. He or she simply tries to access data which is easily available in books or on the internet, without knowing how to actually benefit from the content which is available for learning.
Language training institutes that are thriving today are mostly in the form of ed-tech platforms that conduct training via audio-visual learning sessions. They facilitate language learning courses online with a view to broadening their reach to students settled far and wide. Indeed, students settled in any part of the world can access these online language learning platforms, get in touch with language experts, and benefit from the knowledge available even in any distant part of the world. Online classes allow a student and a language teacher to communicate personally (on-screen) in real-time, ask questions to each other, answer them, get the doubts cleared, and queries answered right during the online sessions. One can take these classes comfortably from one’s home or office (during the break), or any other premise of one’s choice, may it be a park, a holiday home, a library, an office guest-house, anything. And what is required for learning a language online is just a laptop or a smartphone, good network connectivity, and keen interest or enthusiasm to learn a new and interesting language!