Deceiving tutor experiences

Charles, to be honest, I wanted to interrupt you many times, but I was never able to, because you never made a long enough pause to allow me to intervene. While I have an average interest in economics, some of the topics you dealt with were a bit too complicated for me.
I have had enough conversations both as a tutor and as a student to tell you that I have never been silent in a conversation and that it’s not necessary to prepare a piece of work to have an interesting conversation where both the tutor and the student speak.
When I have “shy students” who get confused or nervous, I speak a bit more than I usually do, but I don’t like speaking too much when I’m the tutor, since I am not the one who needs to practise the language in that situation.
Although my English is quite fluent, I certainly made a lot of minor mistakes you could have written down while I was speaking (which is what most tutors do, as far as I know) and sent in the report.
This is what I can suggest to you. You can just keep offering conversations the way you like them, of course; just know this is not how LingQ conversations are supposed to work.

Michele: ‘After my first conversation with this tutor, I had to write on his wall he had to fill in my report and to send it in order to get the points. He corrected two mistakes I had made, but I had certainly made more. He just hadn’t written them down while I was speaking.’

Being new to LingQ, I was unaware of the degree to which there was an integration between Skype and LngQ, so that LingQ would automatically update my points. Which does not happen, of course. So I was grateful to Michele, for his guidance.

I corrected the mistakes that were genuine mistakes. And since there was only ONE, very minor mistake, a report was verging on overkill, beyond the need for a report, to obtain my points for the conversation.

I noticed that Michele finds that there are too few English tutors, to choose from. The same applies to my choices for an Italian tutor, Michele :slight_smile:

Not to be a bombast about this, but I am the native English speaker and can clearly identify mistakes, just as easily as you can identify mistakes in Italian. You must realise that English speakers do not speak perfect English, all of the time, and mistakes are not unusual. In some instances, the English that is spoken by my native English-speaking counterparts, is barely anything, but mistakes. But I know what they mean, without killing the conversation, by repeatedly/constantly/persistently correcting them. Which would leave me in danger of being told where to go, in very impolite terms. If not worse. Even so, I will interrupt you and correct mistakes as is really necessary, or if asked to by you, when you are not happy about what you said.

Again… if you have particular issues that you are aware of, and want to particularly address, prepare the conversation to address those particular issues.


Students are paying to be corrected so that they can improve their ability. For advanced level learners you may not find any grammatical corrections that to be made. In these cases you must constructively criticize their choice of words, logical fallacies, and so on. It operates much like different grades in school. My essays for grade 5 were a lot different than my university essays, but there were still ways that they could be improved.

Conversation reports are a great way to inform someone of mistakes or suggestions because they allow you to continue conversing fluidly without having to issue corrections constantly. Different tutors prefer different methods, and Steve also mentioned this above, but more than anything the issue here is that little or no feedback was given, meaning that he was given nothing valuable in return for the money/points that Michele paid for the conversation.


As I rightly pointed out to Michele within the context of our first conversation, he made no mistakes worth reporting, except for one very slight mistake, which anyone could have made in passing, but I reported it anyway, to make a report. Consequently, my reports to Michele, and others that I have had conversations with, within the scope of the conversation that they wanted to have, had very little utility. Nevertheless, he and others still had the value of a conversation that was almost four times the value of that which they booked.

Michele is not ‘quite fluent’, he is very advanced. Michele has no problems with grammar or choice of vocabulary. And neither has Veral, except where there is a particular term or phrase, that is particular to English, yet is not necessarily the same for the UK or the US, and/or locales of those countries, as I do explain. Or is particular to a line of discussion, like that of the second conversation that I had with Michele, which is why it took so long. If he didn’t want to know, he only had to change the subject of the conversation to something he was more familiar with, yet may have contained items he wanted to discuss in detail.

As I pointed out, I choose to arrange my French sessions so that Marianne has something of value to report, and makes good use of our time.


It’s been made clear that the conversation lasted for longer than was originally booked, but it also appears that most of this time was spent with the tutor talking and the student listening. Ideally if the student wants to listen to a native speaker talk about a particular topic then they can choose from a wide array of lessons available in our library. The basic concept behind tutoring is not to be conversation partner, but to be a correcter and a teacher from a linguistic perspective.
There is the option to post a message on the conversation before it begins. If you want, you can use this feature to inform the participant(s) that they should prepare some topic or questions ahead of time so that time is not spent frivolously discussing unimportant or uninteresting topics.
While you are free to continue tutoring the way you have been, you should be aware of the responses of two of your former students and ideally use that to improve your own approach to tutoring. Ideally the student should be speaking at least 50% of the time to ensure that they are getting a moderate amount of practice.

“The basic concept behind tutoring is not to be conversation partner, but to be a correcter and a teacher from a linguistic perspective”

Sounds like a new policy in the Administration.

Come on. Previously, I missed it that the tutor had spent an hour instead of 15 min wuth the student. I believe it is a shame for the student, not to suggest stopping in time :wink: .


I agree that the student should have stopped and said something, but one also has to be aware of cultural differences, and it may not be considered as acceptable or polite to interrupt someone while they are talking, and especially to tell them that you’re not actually interested in what they may be talking about.

No administrative policies; I simply am referring to the concept of language tutoring, both inside and outside LingQ. That has been my understanding of it, at least.


I can expand my profile to suggest to students how they might like to proceed with a conversation, so that they gain more from the conversation as a tutor-student experience. Thanks for the suggestions about the library, etc. The conversations, so far, have been comparable to a chance encounter between travellers, and the students have been as tight-lipped as often is the case, in such encounters. As for Michele, I have acquired some knowledge of Italian, and have planned to start by referring to the Italian beginner’s section for greetings and eating out, so that I can practice my pronunciation and some conversation within the scope of the text, of that material, which both of us can refer to, during the course of the conversation.

As an alternative, and if you think it to be for the better, I can cancel my calendar and–not to seem like the last of the big spenders :-)–you can reimburse the points that I have gained from the conversations, to those that I have had conversations with, as a tutor. The extra points are nice to have, but they are not essential for my purpose, since the points that I have, as per my plan, are sufficient. I primarily joined LingQ to have access to native French and German speakers/tutors, because I do not have such a resource available to me in Belfast. There is a German group of Germans that meet once a month in Belfast, to speak German amongst themselves, but my conversational German is too basic, at this stage. I enjoy speaking to the other guys, as a tutor, but not to the extent that it is going to cause unnecessary problems for LingQ, because of their dissatisfaction.


I think posting something like that on your profile is a good idea, and it will also give people an idea of what to expect from you as a tutor when they’re making their decision.
As Steve mentioned earlier, we don’t have any return policy in place for conversations, and don’t plan on instituting one either. The decision lies in your hands of whether you would like to continue tutoring or not, but it would be a good idea to take into consideration what has been said by the students you’ve tutored so that you can tutor them more effectively in the future. And, if we ever do get around to instituting some sort of rating system for tutors, so that you’re not given a lot of poor ranking simply because you’re not giving the students what they expect or what they’re looking for.



I’ll expand my profile details and see how thing proceed. Thanks for your support :slight_smile:

I can see Charles’ points… but as you go along in tutoring you realise it is not the same as a normal conversation. You have to assume some responsibility for stimulating conversation. The simplest way is by asking questions and sometimes indirectly encouraging students to speak (“can you elaborate on that? I can see you have thought about it a lot.”).

As for the reports, yes there are always improvements possible in anyone’s speaking so you need to provide some feedback, even if it is suggesting turns of phrase that are equally as good as what the learner actually used.

Ilya: “Come on. Previously, I missed it that the tutor had spent an hour instead of 15 min wuth the student. I believe it is a shame for the student, not to suggest stopping in time ;-)”

If I had found the way to interrupt Charles politely, I would have done it after 20 minutes, maybe. I am not used to interrupt people while they are speaking and consider it as a lack of respect, as Alex correctly suggested.

I think that it is great that we are having this discussion and I appreciate Charles joining in. I think that there are learners who are looking for someone with your background as a conversation partner tutor, and this exchange on the forum may also bring you new learners.

It is useful for all tutors to refer to our tutor’s manual to see what we expect of tutors.

Here are a few simple points from my perspective.

  1. The learner should speak at least 2/3 of the time, in a one on one, and the learners should speak 80% of the time in a group discussion. It is the tutors responsibility to make sure this happens.

There can be exceptions, such as when the learner brings a list of questions about English words and terms and wants explanations from the tutor.

If the learner speaks for 2/3 of the time, there will usually be at least a handful of words and expressions that were used less than perfectly, or that can be expanded upon. These “suggestions” , hopefully 10 or more, should be written into the top half of the discussion report, for the learner to import and study.

The comments sections should have some general observations including words of encouragement. It is also a place to reinforce a feeling of personal contact between the learner and the tutor.

I have a tendency to want to talk, so I really have to control myself. If I talk too much, I will try to extend the lesson the way Charles did, but with the intention of giving the learner more of a chance to speak.

  1. Few learners will interrupt a native speaker tutor in a 15 minute conversation lesson, so it is important for the tutor to ask questions to induce the learner to speak. Some learners are reluctant speakers, and this is as much a question of individual personality as cultural differences.

  2. Charles obviously has a great deal of knowledge on many subjects. It would be great to have some content created by you for our library. This will also increase our learners’ awareness of you and attract more learners. You might even try to produce some short articles at normal speed, and read slowly, the way Albert has done in Spanish.


I will assemble a couple of items for the library, and post them this weekend.

If you google “Deceiving tutor experiences,” you will find this thread at the top of the list. I still don’t know when the forums became open to search engines/robots on the Internet.

I don’t know what the word “deceiving” in the title of this thread means.

I meant “disappointing”. I mixed it with its French equivalent “décevants”. “Deceiving” means something different which doesn’t apply to this situation. My English may be good, but it’s still not even close to being perfect. :slight_smile:


I have added an item to the system, but am not sure if it is generally accessible. Let me know if I have to resubmit it, or if it is okay.