07/06/2020

How to take an Italian lesson on Skype? 10 tips from a language teacher


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In this post, I’ll share with you the tips I give to my new students on how to take Italian lessons on Skype.

My tips for a more effective Italian lesson on Skype

I’ve given Italian lessons on Skype for 4 years and there are some tips I always give before the first Italian lesson on Skype with a new student.

If you follow them:

  • Your Italian Skype lesson will be more productive and enjoyable
  • You’ll build a relationship of trust with your tutor

Online language tutors have different ways of conduction a class.

However, this advice will help in any situation, including:

  • A language exchange with native speakers
  • Classes in other languages than Italian

Here’s my very personal list of tips to make an Italian lesson on Skype productive.

italian lessons via skype

Make full sentences

If you listen, you forget. If you speak, you remember.

Speaking practice is paramount to master a language.

If you have a chance to speak, do it.

That’s what Italian Skype lessons are for.

If you need to make a sentence, make a full sentence.

The more you speak, the more you remember.

Don’t be lazy and make an effort to answer by full sentences.

Here’s an example from an Italian lesson on Skype:

Question: Dove vai? (Where are you going?)

Good answer: A scuola. (To school)

Better answer: Vado a scuola. (I’m going to school)

You can even add anything you want to say just for the sake of speaking.

online italian lessons skype

Repeat after me

The term “comprehensible input” refers to language that is intelligible but just a little more advanced than the student’s current ability to understand it.

This means that the overall message of the language is clear even though some words and grammatical structures might be unfamiliar.

During my Italian Skype lessons, I type the correct version of your sentences in the chat box and read it for you.

After that, you’ll repeat it.

That’s my comprehensible input. Simply put, I show you how to say things.

Here’s an example from an Italian lesson on Skype:

Student: Ho andato in Italia. (wrong)

Teacher: Sono andato in Italia.

Student: Sono andato in Italia.

italian lessons over skype

Copy my questions

Every question I ask you during my Italian Skype lessons is a hint at the answer.

Often, you only need to change a bit the question to make an answer.

Listen to my question and copy it. No need to reinvent the wheel.

If necessary, I’ll repeat the sentence with a stress on what needs to be fixed.

Here’s a dialogue from an Italian lesson on Skype:

Sei andato al ristorante ieri?

Sì, ho andato al ristorante ieri. (wrong)

Sei andato al ristorante ieri?

Sì, sono andato al ristorante ieri.

italian language lessons skype

Don’t freak out if I’m not typing

Most people start learning foreign languages by learning to read the alphabet first. Even popular self-study books start with the alphabet.

Unfortunately, this is not the best way to start learning Italian. On the contrary, it makes it more difficult to get used to the sounds of that language and to think directly in that language.

This because the spoken word and the written word are processed by your brain in a different way.

When you read characters that are present in your native language, your brain wants to process it the same way it does with your native language.

That’s not the way a native speaker learns.

With sounds, your brain can only shut up and listen, hoping to decode these new sounds on the way.

Conclusion: we learn better from audio than from text.

For this reason, in my Italian Skype classes, I don’t type what I say right away.

If you don’t understand, I repeat once without typing, possibly together with gestures or related words.

Only after that, I’ll type the sentence.

skype italian classes

Stick to the point

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My secret to learn languages faster!

“Spaced repetition” is a learning and memorization technique.

It’s a great method to make sure you remember vocabulary in the future.

It’s based on one simple idea: spacing out your study sessions to better commit information to your long-term memory.

First, you learn a new vocabulary word. The more you study it, the easier it is to remember. And eventually, by way of some strategically timed review sessions, it makes its way into your long-term memory.

To memorize a new word or master a grammar pattern, you need to be exposed to them and use them over and over.

That’s why you should resist the temptation to talk about just anything during your Italian lessons on Skype.

If we’re practicing the past tense, don’t suddenly come up with your plans for your next trip when we haven’t even covered the future tense.

If we’re practicing a new word, try to use it even if there are more convenient options.

skype italian tutor

Stick with Italian

Language immersion is the fastest way to improve your communication skills in a foreign language.

That’s the closest you can get to language acquisition vs learning.

That’s why you should switch to English or your native language only as a last resort.

Instead, use simple words to say what you mean.

Then, I’ll show you how to say that in a better way.

Here’s an example from an Italian lesson on Skype:

Student: La cosa per il cibo freddo. (the thing for cool food)

Teacher: Il frigo. (the fridge)

Student: Il frigo.

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If you don’t understand, ask

I usually speak at near-native speed.

If you don’t get it at first, that’s totally normal. Just ask and I’ll repeat slower.

Here’s a conversation from an Italian lesson on Skype:

Teacher: Hai dormito bene?

Student: Cosa!? (what!?)

Teacher: Hai dormito bene?

Student: Sì, ho dormito bene.

learn italian skype

Don’t pretend you understand

The relationship between teachers and students needs cooperation and trust to make lesson work.

As a teacher, I don’t know exactly which words you know or how much you understood what I just said.

If you stop me and ask what a certain word mean or ask to repeat, the lesson goes on smoothly.

If you smile and answer “sì” pretending that you understand when you don’t, I’ll end up speaking to my self and you’ll feel lost.

Nothing makes a lesson fail like a lack of transparency.

Here’s a conversation from an Italian lesson on Skype:

  1. Segui le notizie?
  2. Eh, sì…
  3. Che notizie hai sentito oggi?
  4. Sì, oggi…
  5. Che notizie hai sentito?
  6. Eh?
  7. Capisci “le notizie”?
  8. Mmm…

learn italian online skype

Feel free to make mistakes

Italian for beginners who don’t want to leave their comfort zone can be frightening!

Yes, we are all nervous because we make mistakes all the time.

Well, put up with it. That’s the way we learn.

In other words, you should take mistakes as a sign that you are learning.

It’s totally normal to make mistakes in Italian and if you set realistic expectations you will not be frustrated.

Making mistakes is part of the learning process.

You’re encouraged to speak freely. No need to apologize!

I’ll correct you, and next time you’ll make less mistakes.

Here’s a dialogue from an Italian lesson on Skype:

Tutor: Quanti anni hai?

Student: Sono trenta. (wrong)

Tutor: Ah, “ho trent’anni”.

Student: Ho trent’anni.

learn italian through skype

Take this webinar on how to learn languages fast

In my webinar on how to learn Italian and other languages, I show what I actually do to learn foreign languages.

I put popular tools and personal tips together into a complete language workout for your brain.

It fits the spare minutes of your day and can be applied without going abroad.

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I only recommend methods and materials that I actually use myself and that I find useful.

This treasure of life experience will make you want to pick up again that language you dropped long ago, this time saving yourself years of ineffective studies.

After the webinar, your Italian lessons on Skype will be more productive.

best headset for online teaching

Check your equipment for Italian Skype lessons

The best way to take an Italian video lesson on Skype is on your computer, not on your phone or tablet.

Please check the quality of your video, audio, and Internet connection.

Video calls need more bandwidth than audio.

To take a live lesson online, you need the following equipment:

Here’s my review of the best headset for online classes.

best headset for online language teaching jabra evolve 20

Where to find online tutors?

I’ve personally used these 4 platforms to teach and take language lessons online:

  • Italki
  • Verbling
  • Preply
  • Verbal Planet

My first choice is Italki. It’s the largest and most developed platform online.

Join Italki with this link to get 10$ off your first lesson!

I also wrote a thorough review of Italki.

Verbling is a good alternative.

Don’t use Preply or Verbal Planet. They exploit tutors. They also have an old interface.

How to find the right Italian language teacher online

Choose the right online language teacher

There are many online tutors providing Italian lessons on Skype.

Every teacher on Italki has their own profile page.

That includes their profile, reviews, video, qualifications, etc.

Does your potential tutor meet these requirements?

  • Their rating is 5.0
  • They completed more than just a few sessions
  • They attend all their sessions
  • They have great reviews

Also, make sure that they’re native speakers.

This applies to live Italian classes on Skype or any other language.

italian language teacher

Take Italian lessons on Skype with a native teacher

Are you struggling to learn a foreign language alone, taking courses at school, or with tutors online?

Trust the advice of a polyglot language teacher based on his own experience!

I was raised speaking only Italian, and now I speak eleven foreign languages, mostly at an advanced level, several of which I learned without going abroad, some in only a few months.

I achieved this as an adult by speaking with people, not in class or with books, not taking courses at school, but using original techniques and free or affordable learning resources.

I have experience in teaching Italian to adults in language schools and universities. I work as an independent translator from Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. I’ve lectured in polyglot clubs about my method. I have developed my own Italian audio course “Ripeti con me!”

I’ve done more than 1500 Italian lessons on Skype.

best italian language teacher

The best online Italian teacher

On one hand, there are Italian tutors who are qualified and experienced. However, they barely speak one foreign language. What do they know about learning a language?

On the other hand, there are teachers (especially online) who “like learning languages” but lack a clear view on how to teach.

Why settle for one when you can have both? A native speaker with experience both in teaching and learning languages for your Italian lesson on Skype.

online-italian-lessons

Online Italian lessons for beginners: teaching style

My online Italian lessons for beginners and intermediate learners on Skype are designed to:

We make full use of Skype’s features: audio, video, text, screen sharing. Your Italian teacher online, sitting next to you!

Apart from regular language classes, if you’re serious about learning Italian or any other language, I recommend investing in my webinar on how to learn languages.

Online Italian lessons to learn fast Online language tutors

Italian classes on Skype to speak from Day 1

Are you wondering how you could study more effectively?

People frustrated with their tutors would often ask me for advice on how to learn languages, so I came up with the idea of giving Italian lessons for beginners online following the same method I use myself for learning languages.

Some tutors teach grammar, other tutors teach pronunciation. For me, the aim of online Italian courses for beginners is communication.

My students want to gain real-life skills to travel and live in Italy, but their study time is often skewed toward grammar and translation and, as a result, they can understand some Italian, but cannot speak with confidence.

Even when taking classes with tutors, it’s usually their tutors who speak to explain things, instead of letting them practice speaking.

That’s why I give you the structured conversation practice that you need, while pronunciation and grammar are acquired naturally. With a native teacher or tutor, you’ll get to learn the real thing.

My role as a teacher is to guide and correct your Italian on video and audio. The chat log on Skype makes notes with vocabulary and grammar to view and review later. You’ll learn vocabulary through gestures and examples on video chat.

During my Italian lesson on Skype, Most of the time you will be speaking, and you’ll be speaking in Italian, from day one! You’ll keep a positive attitude and feel free to make mistakes because that’s how we learn. Learning should be simple, and fun!

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Online Italian class example

This is the structure of a typical 55-minute online Italian lesson on Skype (video + audio):

  1. Repetition to reinforce vocabulary, grammar, and speaking.
    1. (10-15 min) We revise key points from the previous lesson.
    2. (10-15 min) We make variations and expand contents from those key points.
  2. New material to practice reading and introduce new grammar and vocabulary.
    1. (5-10 min) We read dialogues from the textbook (for beginners) or real-world material available online (for intermediate students and above).
    2. (5-15 min) We have a conversation based on the text we read.
  3. Speaking for fun.
    1. (5-10 min) We have a leisurely chat based on pictures.

While, in typical classes and courses, tutors/teachers only follow a textbook, I select material based on your goals. For example, if you want to learn how to make a hotel reservation, we’ll browse rooms on Airbnb together (video, screen sharing).

That’s how you get results in the areas that are best for you. You get fluent about what you need. As your native teacher (tutor), I choose the best material based on your level of fluency to make a customized course.

We chat on video because audio is not enough. Talking on video also helps keep eye contact and get feedback. As your Italian teacher, I’ll give you guidance with words, text, facial expressions, and gestures on a video call. Please make sure that your connection is fast enough for a Skype video call.

Two 1-hour lessons a week on Skype is a good schedule to make progress.  Three or more is best.

Even when there are no online Italian classes, you can always view our past conversations on Skype and review what you learned. At this pace, you can get conversationally fluent in a few months.

Online Italian lessons are the best way to make progress, especially for beginners!

italki

Online Italian courses: cancellation policy

Italian lessons on Skype are business.

  • You may reschedule or cancel on the booking platform up to 24 hours before the lesson.
  • I’ll make up for any time lost because of me by granting extra time, or a partial or full refund.
  • If you’re late more than 10 minutes, that counts as a no-show.
  • Any lesson time lost because of you arriving late, equipment not working (video, audio, internet connection…), etc. is lost. The lesson ends as scheduled.
  • No free trial lessons.
  • A 55-minute lesson lasts 55 minutes or less, not more.

best online language learning platforms

Get ready for your Italian Skype lessons

The best way to take an Italian video lesson on Skype is on your computer, not on your phone.

Please check the quality of your video, audio, and internet connection. Video calls need more bandwidth than audio.

To take a live lesson online, you need the following equipment:

To keep your focus and motivation you need:

How to book an online Italian class

  • Online Italian lessons anywhere, at any time
  • Learn grammar through examples, not rules
  • One-on-one tutoring to suit your level
  • Stick with Italian from Day 1
  • Focus on speaking

Do you need one-on-one tutoring on Italian pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and conversation?

Take online Italian lessons on Skype with a native speaker!

But!

2020/05 Notice!

To focus on my website and Ripeti Con Me, my Skype lessons are suspended.

There are plenty of tutors available on Italki.

If you miss me, you can always take Ripeti Con Me! 😉


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