Evaluating a LingQ tutor and the discussion report

I like tutors who are interesting and get me talking. I think it is important the the Internet connection be good so that I can hear clearly.

I get great value from the discussion report. I like to receive at least 10 or so phrases containing the words that I did not use properly. The longer the phrases or sentences, the better. I usually try to provide the same in my reports when I am a tutor. some tutors provide the phrase that used incorrectly as well. I do not do this, and am somewhat indifferent to this practice, preferring to see just the correct phrases. I know some other learners feel differently about this.

I confess that also like it when the tutor tells me that I did well in the discussion, whether I did or not.

What do you like to get in your reports?

How important is the report compared to other qualities that you are looking for in a tutor?

What are the qualities that you appreciate most in a tutor?

As a tutor I correct according to the following guidelines:

"How I correct in the Skype chat box:

I write phrases in the Skype chatbox

If I use capital letters it means you said a phrase and I fixed the capitalised part of it.
If I put a minus “-” sign before a word in parentheses “()” it means take the word out.
If I use no capitals, it is just a suggestion of a phrase you could have used during that point in the conversation.
If I use the “//” signs. For example, “/wool/” it means the pronunciation was not so clear."

In the comments box, I will write “thanks” or “good job”. If there is a repetitive error or if there was a big improvement I will comment briefly on that, but I usually keep it short. It has been well established in the TESL literature that grammatical feedback is not nearly as useful as simplly learning correct examples.

"I confess that also like it when the tutor tells me that I did well in the discussion, whether I did or not. "

Ha ha. I do too, actually.

In my reports, I usually get phrases / sentences where I stumbled over what I was trying to say (I do that often), or words / phrases the tutor used that I did not understand. I like this, I feel it’s useful for me.

I sometimes get discouraged, so in my reports I also appreciate encouragement.

I do like the reports, but I don’t think it’s one of the more important things. Right now I am really trying to work on my speaking. It’s really difficult for me, I’m not confident at all. What I appreciate are tutors that are pleasant, able to keep a conversation going, and encouraging. All the tutors I’ve used so far have been great.

I really love the report and it often helps me a lot. It helps the most when I got the wrong and the true phrase. Then I can see what I do wrong.
I made some videos about tutoring in English and German: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=LingQVera
I will write more about it when I come back from work.

What do you like to get in your reports?
I like to get a report :wink:

Some students are so good I don’t hear them make any mistakes! Then I recommend interesting articles on the net for further reading. I have no idea if this is helpful but you have to put something in the report other than “you speak English really, really well!”

I also suggest alternative, natural-sounding ways of expressing the same phrase (even when the student’s version is not actually wrong) and appreciate it when my tutors do the same. It’s often not obvious to a student that A, B and C sound natural and have equivalent meanings but D does not.

@Helen: I try to make some mistakes next time to see if you listen carefully and if you are worth the money;-)

@Steve: I agree with most of what you pointed. But I like the “wrong phrase → correct phrase” correction. It helps to see what in particular I’m doing wrong. Also I try to encourage users. I try to find a point that they are doing well and there is always one point, but I wouldn’t say in general that it was good if I don’t think so. Also I try to point out what could be improved to encourage students to continue. The report is for me very important. I can have conversations for free. A detailed report is the quintessence of LingQ :slight_smile: The quality that I appreciate the most is if a tutor listens carefully and is able to let the conversation “flow”.

@Edward: I think you do a great job. But there is one problem. If you use capital letters and special characters to point things out, I as a student has problems if I import the lesson. Then I’ve to work over the report to get rid of these things. This is maybe a problem where LingQ have to improve the way, a report can be done and imported. See my explanation below.

@Mark & Steve: Why I often have to overwork a report:

  • If I want to edit an imported report the format is horrible. The text of the report is in one go. All the breaks (or paraphrases? I don’t’ know the correct English expression) are lost.
  • The “Comment” is often not in my target language. Maybe it is in the language that the tutor has active when he or she writes the report?
  • Also ’ is considered as part of a word. So I usually change ’ into ".
  • Tutors often add no “.” at the end of the sentence. Then the automatically suggested phrase isn’t properly because LingQ couldn’t realize that there is the end of a sentence. If LingQ would recognize the end of a paraphrase would also be an option.
    This means a lot of extra work for a student if he or she wants LingQ parts of the report without strange things in it.

I think new tutors can learn a lot from experienced tutors. To have at least one or two conversations with an experienced tutor or learner who give some advice could help them a lot and should maybe required before someone become a tutor. Sometimes I sign up for a conversation with a new English tutor and if he or she likes it, I provide help. (You see I don’t do this for free, I pay for helping new tutors. I do this liberally, and I like to help in this way!)

What can not be “learned” is to make good relationships with new students? It’s a question of personality. But I think most of the tutors do a great job in this way!

Sorry for the length of this post.

“If you use capital letters and special characters to point things out, I as a student has problems if I import the lesson. Then I’ve to work over the report to get rid of these things.”

Thanks for the feedback. I do this because it helps make it clear what I am correcting. Sometimes the error is a preposition, an article or a letter (final “s” for example)— these are the kinds of errors high level students make— but the student may not realize what they did wrong if they just see the unadorned, correct phrase. If they LingQ it later, I don’t think it will cause students to suddenly use special characters when writing. People can exercise their judgment to some extent.

If other students have comments let me know.

If there was a way to highlight/italicize/boldify letters in the report as well as in the saved LingQs, that would have been great. For the texts I have corrected over at LiveMocha, I have always used certain formatting (which I hope has been helpful).

I hope we hear from more learners.

As a learner, I prefer my texts to be like any other texts, no bolding, no funny characters, no incorrect phrases - just the language. Then I go in and save what I need.

I like to get at least 10 phrases, and I often get more, and occasionally less. The same tutor may catch more things one time than another time. I feel that the reports give me more lasting benefit from the discussion. I review the flash cards from the discussion reports on my iTouch. If the captured phrases is not usable I will sometimes go to examples to get a better one, or at least edit out any irrelevant things from the captured phrase. Again this is now easier to do in flash cards.

As a tutor, I no longer use the Skype chat box. I prefer to type right into the report. If I am doing French, with its accents, I type into Google Docs and then use spell check to catch the accents, adding a few that the spell checker missed. I cannot type with a French keyboard. Then I copy this into the report.

I like to

I would also like to hear what learners think and want from a conversation report.

I also agree with Jeff that an added feature of being able to highlight/italicize/bold/underline words in the report would be handy.

I think it depends on the learner’s level.

Beginners mostly want to learn to say, spell and use correctly some new words, while practising the ones they already know. So a report needs to say things like:

name: (my name is Helen),
husband: (I have a husband),

etc.

At low intermediate you have a basic vocabulary, your problem is putting them together in correct phrases. So I would expect a report containing the words and phrases that I didn’t know or get right in the context of the conversation.

eg:
High school starts AT THE AGE OF eleven
Not everyone continues into HIGHER EDUCATION

At this level the student probably doesn’t need to know why what they said was srong, they are just relieved that the tutor could understand what they were saying!

As a high intermediate you probaby think that what you said was right and want to see the wrong version side by side with the correct version, possibly with a brief explanation

eg.
I am on a diet since December → I HAVE BEEN on a diet since December, you need a continuous verb tense to describe an action starting at a fixed point in the past. If you have finished your diet now you would say I HAD BEEN on a diet since September.

Advanced students don’t tend to make grammar mistakes. With them you are looking out for “tells” that give away that they are not natives, like lack of country-specific knowledge. Eg

Tony Blair was the last but one British Prime minister. See Tony Blair - Wikipedia. Lost popularity for taking us to war with Iraq. Key words: War on Terror, Weapons of Mass Destruction.

very informative thread thanks! I tend to write short sentences which the student previously didn’t say correctly. In the comments I write inscrutable formulas that no one understands that calculate the students success rate since I don’t really know what to write there except for “you did well!”.

@SBTeapot
Great post. I would suggest giving more concrete examples of the structure instead of the neat, tidy, (vague and unreliable) grammar explanations “fixed point in the past etc”

“What are the qualities that you appreciate most in a tutor?”
The qualities that Studentallison, Skyblueteapot, and Jillisa93 have in common might provide clues about this question. I suppose they are not only POPULAR but also GOOD English tutors at LingQ.

According to the statistics for Writing corrected, Jillisa93 is the best.

The other English tutors, don’t be discouraged!

Modest man that you are… (?)

The number of corrections done by any tutor also reflects how eager these tutors were to take writing submissions from the common list, when these submissions were available for any tutor to take. It is only recently that we changed the system to allow learners to choose their writing corrector.

Although I do not study English, I know that Jillisa is a popular and excellent tutor. However, I would not assume that she is better than others who have corrected fewer writing submissions. There is no direct relationship here in terms of quantity and quality. The numbers just show how much experience the tutor has. Some inexperienced tutor may also better suit the particular style of a particular learner.

So please check out the profile of a tutor before making your choice. And if you are not satisfied, for whatever reason, do not hesitate to try another tutor.