How do you study your tutor sessions?

I want to find out people’s methods of preparing for, executing and consolidating their one 2 one tutoring sessions either on here or on iTalki.

I currently find my time spent talking to a tutor to be a bit wasteful but maybe I’m wrong. When I can’t think of a word and ask them for it, or they help me with a sentence I almost feel it’s a word I would have learnt far more quickly with enough input and a sentence structure I’d have come across over time but maybe that’s just the process.

What do you do with the new words and sentences? Do you add them to SRS and memorise them or is there a different approach? I would love to know people’s thoughts.

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Acquiring vocab is faster with input, it’s true. So, enough input is a neccesary part of the learning in any case, beginners and intermediates should do it most of the time, imo.
What could be useful in tutor sessions is developing the skill of explaining things in simple basic words and sentence structures, so that you wouldn’t get lost in the conversation even if you don’t know a more eloquent or sophisticated way to express yourself. Since those are only basic and most frequent words, you’ll learn them from input, but if you want to memorize them faster and you have time, why don’t add them to SRS.

Recently, I’ve discovered for myself an exercise, that applies to the practice with tutors as well, but works quite cool even alone. You may want to look into this thread:

Hi S.I. Thanks for your comment. That’s an interesting thread. I’m still trying to figure this part of the language learning puzzle out. What’s the exercise you discovered?

I posted the exercise in that thread.
In short, I’ve found it’s very practical to base at least some part of speaking sessions on explaining short simple terms in your target language instead of practicing all sorts of “large forms”, I mean stories from your life, summaries for articles, reviews on movies etc.

I too have a feeling, that it’s a waste of time to practice them on the tutor sessions, because you’re always able to write them, ask for corrections and then just memorize it. What is essential on tutor sessions is the native feedback and it would be nice to increas it in frequency or density, all those “how is it to say” kind of things.

And to some extent, you can also do this with the help of monolingual dictionary.

I already asked a similar question here but unfortunately didn’t get much feedback with suggestions to make a better use of that time. In my case it was when I was doing an exchange with a friend (Hindi for Japanese) and I felt just like you, that there is a lot of waste of time. I think a more ideal situation would be if that time was actually a time to practice the language, with conversation instead of explanation but that wasn’t what usually happened, maybe similar to your situation.

He was a beginner in Japanese and I was a beginner in Hindi, so instead of having time to practice, we needed to give a kind of class to each other, with different degrees of success. I have all of that material recorded on video, but like you said, I kind of feel it like a waste of time to go over it again, because it’s not much material anyway, and things that I could actually learn by myself or get much more input through listening/reading intensively.

The interaction with a native speaker is of course great, but I would probably enjoy it better if I already had at least a B1 level.

What gave me more input was that when he started doing a kind of immersion method through stories, pictures etc. and then asking questions at the end, " a la LingQ", so we could decrease the English speaking time and explanations, except when really necessary.

Another problem I faced was with a Chinese friend, that had a much higher level of Portuguese (my mother tongue) than my poor Chinese. She had graduated in Portuguese at University and I had only HSK 3 and she didn’t have any teaching experience or didactics, what probably you are not facing by paying a teacher at iTalki, though you can find teachers with different levels of skills there.

I wouldn’t care much about checking and reviewing the words for each lesson, I prefer the teacher to increase the input through immersion methods without the need to memorize/comprehend 100% of it. If the teacher doesn’t know how to do it, maybe you’d better choose another skilled one (if that is your preferred method) or suggest a natural approach method that could increase your input without much explanation in English. You could also set a “homework” time, where you could pre-study about a certain topic, text, video, etc. and then you would talk about that, go through a story together, etc. The teacher could give you a summary of the main expressions, new words in a pdf/doc for your reference, which is faster to look up than going through a recorded lesson again. Or the text, if you used that as a base for conversation.

Though some people don’t like to be corrected, I like the teacher to point my mistakes and correct my pronunciation, I think that’s the main reason for having a teacher, to be corrected and be able to clear your doubts…the words you can always check by yourself (unless the tutor is teaching you slang and informal language that you won’t easily find elsewhere in a dictionary or reference books)

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