So actually today I had a second trial session with a different tutor. It was the opposite of my first experience. I’ve been reflecting all day on why it didn’t go well.
Now I’m not going to come and post about every iTalki session I have, don’t worry This is just because it has me thinking and perhaps someone has an opinion or experience to share.
It was an off day for my Korean and somehow I really struggled. To make things worse she kind of phrases things a little differently than what I am used to so while I knew what she was saying 80% of the time, I can’t say I fully understood what she was saying. It was rough.
But she has a workbook she is very keen on working through so actually a lot of the lesson was talking in English and looking at the workbook. I’d say it wasn’t a lesson per se but rather her largely introducing me to the kind of thing which we might do. Basically reading / comprehension and looking at grammar.
Now it is very clear that I am butchering the language when I try make conversation. I know it. I can feel it. So herein lies the conundrum:
This tutor is focused on correctness. So even for the Korean which I was butchering, we stopped to fix up all my grammar. So we did not have much of a conversation really. It became very evident how far off the mark I am. She said she prefers to keep the free-form conversation until Intermediate stage, with much more limited and targeted use of the language in the beginner stage (although with promise that actual lessons involve mostly speaking and almost entirely Korean, but based around the workbook’s lesson for the day).
Compare that to the first tutor I had who overlooked a tonne of language mangling done by myself. I got some feedback from her during the half hour, some vocab & corrections, but she generally let a lot of things slide.
If I chose a path based purely on how I feel, I’d go with the latter because it ended with me feeling enthusiastic. The former leaves me feeling somewhat down because my shortcomings are myriad and if perfection is the aim, clearly I’d have to go back to basics. Get one thing right consistently, then introduce the next thing, and so on.
I’m tempted to go with the style which left me enthusiastic. If only because its easier to keep up in an ongoing kind of basis.
However I am also aware the the majority of language learners (and I mean people who have learned a language to a high intermediate degree) did so by gritting their teeth and going the path with the textbooks, exercises, and similar. Making sure there is a solid foundation.