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hong long

Italki teachers

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hong long

Hello everyone,

I'havn't find a recente thread, I'm studying at the Chinese Confucius Institute for a year and a half and I have the HSK2. This semester I am not very comfortable with the teacher for many reasons and I would like to try to use Italki sometimes.
Does anyone know a good teacher?
What do you prefer when you choose it?
 

One other particular and different question.

I would like to know what kind of struments you use for your Chinese lessons online (Italki an so on). Do you use notebooks, PCs, headphones/earphones with microphone or webcam microphone,  type of software (Skype or other).

I ask to understand which is best configuration to listen a good pronunciation for example, fluid video.
Thank you

红龙

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889

I tried Italki with another language recently. Not that happy with it. Not enough direction from the teachers I tried. Ended up with me mostly stumbling around, hoping for some help that rarely came. Like I was drowning and not getting thrown a life ring.

 

Started with the camera thing on Skype, but that was distracting and made me self-conscious, so finally went with just a phone conversation on Skype, using earphones. Better, but for some teachers Skype connections weren't great. Skype can be especially iffy in Mainland China, so this might be a particular problem if that's where your teachers are.

 

It wasn't completely useless for me -- it did give me a degree of self-confidence in the language -- and your experience may differ anyway, so I'd say it's worth a shot or two.

 

If you're studying independently, Italki does have the advantage of pushing you to study, since you tend to feel you have to get up to speed before each lesson.

 

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Flickserve

I like to record my lessons. Usually my structure is very unstructured and free talk with community teachers. I am not very good at acting out written dialogues. I tried the profesional teachers but feel it's a bit tight for me when we follow a book. 

 

My last lesson which was a while back was recording the teacher and listening again trying to transcribe the words. I sent it back and they gave me the corrections. Basically, dictation type. Another one we went through a short video. 

 

I am terrible about sticking with the same tutor because I like exposure to different people. 

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hong long

Thank you all, mungouk could you tell me the name of your teacher on Italki? 

Best regards

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suMMit
On 12/29/2018 at 4:28 AM, 889 said:

I tried Italki with another language recently. Not that happy with it. Not enough direction from the teachers I tried. Ended up with me mostly stumbling around, hoping for some help that rarely came. Like I was drowning and not getting thrown a life ring.

 

Started with the camera thing on Skype, but that was distracting and made me self-conscious, so finally went with just a phone conversation on Skype, using earphones. Better, but for some teachers Skype connections weren't great. Skype can be especially iffy in Mainland China, so this might be a particular problem if that's where your teachers are.

 

It wasn't completely useless for me -- it did give me a degree of self-confidence in the language -- and your experience may differ anyway, so I'd say it's worth a shot or two.

 

If you're studying independently, Italki does have the advantage of pushing you to study, since you tend to feel you have to get up to speed before each lesson.

 

Oh man, this has been my experience with Italki to a "T"! 

 

Every time I finish a lesson I feel very dissatisfied. I've tried many teachers. I've come to the conclusion that the way I'm trying to use it is wrong. I guess you have to follow a book. See, I have a teacher on another platform and we work through a book in a structured way - and its amazing. I've tried to use Italki as less expensive means of extra practice, not following a book. It does not matter how clearly I explain beforehand what I want, it never, ever works out for me. For example I've tried asking to role play restaurant situations, going from easy to throwing in little loops and making them slightly more and more complicated. I've asked them ask me questions about and discuss with me a short text or a Chinese pod episode (I send them the text). I've given them a long list of questions to ask me and I ask them back. None of this has worked. What usually happens is they very quickly go way over my head, or talk about something they enjoy talking about,  turn it into an endless vocabulary lesson, start speaking too much English, my eyes glaze over and I cant wait to finish.

 

I've noticed the student reviews on Italki are pretty much all 5 star reviews. I've made my reviews hidden from public.

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889

"I've noticed the student reviews on Italki are pretty much all 5 star reviews."

 

This is another and real problem with Italki. Since you're dealing one-on-one with the tutor -- and may be for five sessions at least if you bought a package -- you feel obligated to leave something over-enthusiastic. Otherwise your next session could be uncomfortable.

 

Of course since everybody leaves over-enthusiastic reviews, everybody knows the reviews are useless. How can all the tutors on Italki be five-star! Perhaps the number of reviews left against the number of sessions taught would be a useful measure, since not-too-happy users may just decide not to leave a review.

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Flickserve

Different ‘tutors’, different strengths.

 

Different ‘learners’, different requirements. 
 

Different prices, different experiences - though not a great indicator. 
 

I think not too dissimilar with finding a tutor/coaches/trainers for other things like sports, academic subjects, hobbies etc. You have a few lessons and both parties click or they don’t.

 

Perhaps if you were to go to an online school, the experience would be different. You pay more but they might have different resources and more experienced teachers compared to freelance. It’s not a guarantee though. 
 

Word of mouth maybe a better way of finding a freelance tutor - parents of kids do this all the time. 

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PerpetualChange

I currently have a Preply tutor for Mandarin and an iTalki tutor for Japanese. 

The latter is a bit more of a motivator because my Japanese study has justed started and meeting with an instructor once per week encourages me to memorize the vocabulary in my textbook and give my best shot of reviewing the material beforehand. 

 

For Chinese, I probably don't need it. But it's nice. My tutor is a really nice young woman who is a 補習班 teacher in Taiwan and also does Preply. We meet once or twice a week and I find that it's helpful to just have someone keep you on track and in your corner. I have multiple language partners as well but they don't give you the same confidence boost that a good teacher who by definition cares about your success and desire to study. Once my teacher moves on to greater things I doubt I'll get a new tutor right away but the money hasn't been wasted. 

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mungouk

@PerpetualChange how do you think Preply and italki compare? 

 

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PerpetualChange
2 hours ago, mungouk said:

@PerpetualChange how do you think Preply and italki compare? 

 

They are mostly the same. I met my Chinese tutor on Preply, but at the end of our first lesson (on Skype - neither of us wanted to use the website's own video chat) I offered to pay her outside the system so that we could avoid her paying Preply's (imo, borderline unethical) 33% commission on every lesson. When I started taking Japanese, I went back to Preply, and found a tutor that I was on the fence about, but after the trial lesson, they wanted me to book my next 5 hours and pay upfront. I also felt weird about that. To be clear, Preply force you, the student, to pay for something like a minimum of 5 lessons upfront after your trial lesson.  Then, they hold that money, and only give 67% of it to the tutor when it is confirmed that your lesson has been completed. You can not use these hours on a different tutor if you decide you don't like your tutor anymore. After one session that I felt "just OK" about, there was no way that I was going to drop $100 at once on a few more sessions. 

 

So I went to italki, which is a lot more flexible. You can buy one lesson at a time. You can buy packages of smaller amounts to save a bit, too. There are a lot more tutors many of whom are just community tutors (a designation that doesn't exist on preply) which means that they're just people who charge you to have conversations with them in your target language. These types of tutors can be pretty cheap but if you're looking for someone really good at teacher you may have to search a bit harder on italki. 

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PerpetualChange
On 5/19/2020 at 1:02 AM, 889 said:

"I've noticed the student reviews on Italki are pretty much all 5 star reviews."

 

This is another and real problem with Italki. Since you're dealing one-on-one with the tutor -- and may be for five sessions at least if you bought a package -- you feel obligated to leave something over-enthusiastic. Otherwise your next session could be uncomfortable.

Yeah I've never even seen a tutor with less than like a 4.5 star average. 

To me, a lot of 5 star reviews is a bad sign, actually. Because suppose you take one lesson with a tutor, and don't love it. You decide not to book another. What will most people do, though? Probably feel a bit guilty and say, "it wasn't for me, I'll just leave them a nice review and be done with it". 

 

Preply has a more useful metric that shows you how many "lessons booked" in the last few days a teacher has. I look for people with high "lessons booked" numbers and a lower number of positive reviews. Because a large number of lessons booked over time + a smaller number of reviews to me means that tutor has many repeat customers. 

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mungouk
5 hours ago, PerpetualChange said:

Preply's (imo, borderline unethical) 33% commission on every lesson.

 

ouch... italki charges 15%.

 

I hadn't heard of Preply until you mentioned it, and it looks almost the same as italki (almost identical in fact, except cyan instead of red). 

 

From a quick glance it doesn't seem that Preply verifies qualifications... or at least I couldn't see anything to that effect on the teacher profiles I looked at.  For italki when you apply to be a "professional teacher" you need to send them copies of your teaching certificates and they verify them.  I think this gives a bit more confidence when choosing a teacher. 

 

 

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Flickserve
7 hours ago, PerpetualChange said:

33% commission on every lesson

 

That's huge. I took one lesson on Preply by accident. I was messing around, booked a lesson and couldn't cancel! Their messaging interface isn't that good either.

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PerpetualChange
2 hours ago, Flickserve said:

That's huge. I took one lesson on Preply by accident. I was messing around, booked a lesson and couldn't cancel! Their messaging interface isn't that good either.

They also take 100% of the first lesson, which is just ridiculous.

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Flickserve
42 minutes ago, PerpetualChange said:

They also take 100% of the first lesson, which is just ridiculous.


what?? I only had the one lesson as well. Now I feel bad for the tutor.

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PerpetualChange
1 hour ago, Flickserve said:

what?? I only had the one lesson as well. Now I feel bad for the tutor.

Yup, my tutor told me that only about half of her new students actually continue on after the trial, for which she does not get paid. Pretty sad.  

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mungouk
4 hours ago, Flickserve said:

Preply [...] Their messaging interface isn't that good either.

 

To be fair, the italki one is a mess as well, visually, and they made it even worse in the recent re-design.  And their APP is useless too!

 

 

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Jan Finster
10 hours ago, mungouk said:
17 hours ago, PerpetualChange said:

Preply's (imo, borderline unethical) 33% commission on every lesson.

 

ouch... italki charges 15%.

 

As much as I want to support such platforms, this is a crazy commission.

What stops people from just getting the contact details from the teacher and going private via Skype after the first lesson (and pay them by bank transfer)?

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