I am thinking of taking up Thai iTalki lessons but I’m not sure if I should give it a try. I’ve heard many good reviews about iTalki and I’ve spent some time looking through the website but I want to gather more feedback before actually spending money to book a trial lesson and then the actual lesson(s). Does anyone have any experiences in taking iTalki lessons? I’m also curious as to which platforms do iTalki lessons take place on.
I have only used Italki a little bit, unfortunately my funds are needed elsewhere. I enjoyed meeting some tutors, but, as I said, lack of funds meant no more sessions. I believe they have a platform and there’s Skype. I used Skype, because I’m familiar with the app. It can be a good place to practice and learn without judgements. Especially when you find the right tutor.
I took Russian, Bulgarian, and Bosnian lessons on Italki, the latter being recently. I like the platform, and the teachers that I chose. Depending on the language, there can be a variety of teachers and tutors, and to pick one that may be right for you, I definitely suggest looking at many profiles and reading the courses that they offer. Yeah, I do recommend a trial lesson if you want to see how the tutor goes about their lesson with you.
Italki has the Classroom video platform, but it’s in beta (it’s all right). Many teachers use Skype, but there’s many other platforms that you can choose and agree with your teacher to meet on.
@PinAngel Yes, financial constraints is also one of the factors that is making me think twice about iTalki but there are some tutors with affordable rates (to me) and if I end up taking classes on iTalki, I guess I just have to work around my finances and balance properly. Learning without judgements is very important to me because I lack self confidence. It seems like you had quite a good experience
I’ve been using italki for some time now (started 5 years ago, took a long break and restarted taking lessons there during the first lockdown as my Arabic course was cancelled).
There are a lot of professional teachers and community tutors (who do not necessarily have a teaching certificate but usually are native speakers) to choose from. I really recommend you have a look at many profiles, read their introduction and watch their introduction videos and then decide with whom you’d like to have a trial lesson (as long as you still have trial lessons).
iTalki has it’s own platform, the iTalki classroom. It is still in Beta, but so far I haven’t had any problems with it. I mostly use it with one and the same teacher as many will prefer to use other platforms like Skype or Zoom.
@MultilingualBronxite Yes, I will definitely utilize the 3 trial lessons before booking a class. I’m intending to sign up for Thai and Mexican Spanish classes and I see that a lot of tutors are offering bundle sessions which are cheaper. However, I am wondering if it is better to sign up one class at a time, which is a little pricey, or sign up for bundle sessions, which is financially more affordable. How was your experience? Do you prefer to book one class at a time or a bundle?
For me, it depended on how committed I was to learn, and the regular Italki Language Challenges offered some incentive to take lessons as well. Hehe. With some teachers, you could actually calculate the packages and check if there’s discounts and a chance to save some money compared to taking one class at a time. Some tutors do that.
@Rina That’s good to hear because I have never used Skype before.
@MultilingualBronxite I am tempted to get the package because it is cheaper but I have read some reviews online claiming that they bought package lessons on iTalki but after 2~3 lessons, their account was deleted and they still had a few lessons left with the money already being paid. Have your heard of this?
I booked many lessons and packages this year. Recently I’ve still had one lesson I had to take before the package expires and I agreed with the teacher to split 1,5h into two lessons of 45 min. It all depends on the teacher. It took me quite a while to find the one I was really happy with.
That’s a shame! It actually doesn’t happen so much, unless someone did something with Italki and they had their account deleted. I bought packages from teachers in the past, and they went very well.
@TomekP Wow, your tutor seems quite flexible regarding the lesson structure and timing. Yes, I guess I just have to make full use of the 3 trials to find a tutor that is suitable for me.
@MultilingualBronxite Relieved to hear that it rarely happens. Do you usually prefer professional or community tutors?
I work at italki and have taken almost 1000 lessons (currently Vietnamese and Japanese). End of the day it’s really just having a video chat with someone. The best thing about italki is it’s flexibility so you find a teacher that you like learning with. I actually like using many tutors.
The best thing to do is just to try it… the pay as you go model is the future and I prefer it because it doesn’t lock our students into any lengthy payment plans that you can’t get out of. Don’t like a teacher? Just pick a new one.
Let me know if you have any more specific questions.
Thank you @JimLeu_italki! I am now more relieved after hearing so many people giving the thumbs up to iTalki as a way of learning foreign languages.
Just a question here, when you book a class and the tutor accepts it, will he/she send you a message on iTalki to inform you about what is going to be covered on the first lesson?
So think of italki as a just the platform that facilitates scheduling and payment between you and your teacher. What you want to cover during the first lesson is really up to you or the teacher. If you book a specific course that the teacher has prepared ahead of time, then you’ll do that course. If you select “Conversation Practice”, you’ll practice speaking and they teacher will correct your mistakes (I like using a shared google doc)
In my experience as a teacher and student on italki, the first lesson always looks almost identical.
- Ice-breaking and getting to know eachother
- The student talks about how they think their level is and what they think their problems are
- The tutor is assessing how much the student actually knows and deciding whether they agree with the students assessment
- You plan what you’re actually going to work on from now on
- If a concrete plan wasn’t decided on, you basically trudge through everyday conversations, slowly working through the main topics, over following lessons
This has been true even for my advanced students who come in for specific issues like accent reduction or preparing a presentation for work.
I strongly feel that italki is a great tool for Student-Centric learning. This is a concept that I think most Polyglots can appreciate as Polyglots in general self-learn languages. They figure out the system that works best for them and they stick to it… sometimes changing it up until they learn the langauge.
If you really know how to take control of your learning, then treat italki Teachers as a tool. You tell the teacher how you want to learn (let’s do Conversation Practice today, let’s work on my pronunciation in this lesson, let’s read this article outload and I want you to write down all the words I’m having trouble with on my Google doc).
There are some days when I’m really just lazy and I prepare nothing but I come to an italki lesson and because I’ve had many, many lessons with my teachers, it’s just kind of like catching up with an old friend. I try to tell them about my week, what I did over the weekend, etc… in my target language and we keep a running Google Doc of everything. Other days I feel super motivated and I ask my teacher to assign me homework like… write a paragraph about xxxx or summarize this article and we’ll go over it in the next class.
My advice is just to have fun with it. The fact that italki connects you to real people who really, really love it that you are so enthusiastic about learning their language is what makes it enjoyable for me. I look forward to my lessons and none of my teachers are judgmental. It’s a safe place to make speaking mistakes, ask questions etc… for an hour.
Actually watch Gerry Weitz’s never stop learning video in Saturn Theater. We interviewed him for the Conference and he talks about how he learns on italki (he’s definitely one of our bigger fans) but I was honored to meet him,
Thank you guys for sharing your experiences with me. It really made me feel a lot better and less worried about using iTalki. I have went out and booked 2 trial lessons, Thai and Vietnamese. I am excited but a little worried at the same time. I am a beginner in Thai so it’s easier for the teacher to match my current A2 level with his materials but I’m already at an intermediate level for Vietnamese so I am not sure how the trial lesson will turn out.
Let me know how it goes… I’ve tried a lot of the Vietnamese teachers (they are generally super cheap) and can recommend some of my regular teachers.