Bilingual is Better

 10 Tips to Find An Online Spanish Tutor - SpanglishBaby.com

Editor’s note: Last week, we brought you a guest post outlining the pros and cons of online tutoring for bilingual kids. Today, we have a follow up by the same author with tips on how to actually find a Spanish tutor online.

The way we started our search was just by Goggling “Spanish tutor online” (or “Spanish tutor via Skype”).

A lot of schools popped up, many of them were based in Guatemala and Ecuador. We have changed three schools and three teachers since our first time, and here are 10 things we learned from our experience:

1. Look for a school that has experience working with children. It sounds obvious, but you will really need to emphasize it when booking the first lesson. There are a lot of tutors for adults, and you need to find one who specializes in children’s curriculum.

2. Take advantage of free trial lessons. In fact, some schools will offer you another free trial lesson with a different teacher if you were not impressed with the first one.

3. Ask if they have a system of teaching, basically a curriculum. We had a tutor who was a very nice lady but who had no system or lesson plans whatsoever. The way she always started the lesson was “What do you want to learn today?” It sounded like a very personal approach, but we quickly realized that without a system the pieces they were learning did not build on one another.

4. Check the pricing. Usually prices vary from $9 per hour (if you buy multiple lessons in bulk) to $30 per hour, but it can differ widely between schools.

5. If your child is already bilingual, look for a tutor who knows very little of your child’s majority language (you can check it in the teacher’s bio on the website). That way your child does not have the option of relying on both languages and code-switching during lessons. The reverse is also true: if your child is just starting in a new language (like mine with Spanish), look for a bilingual teacher so that the instructions will be very clear.

6. Incorporate digital flashcards. We found that not too many schools have a good online system for a student to go back and review learned information. Usually it is trapped in the Skype conversation or PDF files. My son is 9, and I make sure he enters all new learned words and expressions into digital flashcards, which are easy to review and are available on every electronic device. If your child is younger, share the digital flashcards account with your tutor, so she can help create cards for your child.

7. The personality of the teacher is very important. We look for a fun, cheerful, but firm approach. When kids are bored they are not learning very effectively.

8. Try to be with your child at least for the first several lessons to establish good discipline and habits. It’s harder for a teacher to keep firm discipline when she or he is not physically present in the room, and your presence will help.

9. If your teacher likes to use websites like YouTube to demonstrate new words in the video or to motivate a child (like offering Spanish cartoons), ask her to assign them as homework rather than using them during lessons. I found that watching videos distracted my son’s attention and it was hard for him to get back into a learning mood.

10. If you are not fully satisfied with the teacher, don’t be afraid to move on to the next one. Your child’s education is very important!

Olena Centeno AvatarOlena Centeno a Ukrainian who lives in USA, a happy mom of three wonderful kids ages 2 to 9 and a wife to a great man. She speaks three languages herself and is raising her kids to be multilingual in English, Russian, Ukrainian and Spanish. She founded Bilingual Kids Rock where she helps families on their bilingual journey. She also enjoys photography and video making as a way to preserve precious moments of life.You can connect with her at bilingualkidsrock.com

{image by  kellyv}

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