“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward
There are tonnes of private tutors all over the UK and plenty of people are interested in language courses.
With 280 million native speakers, Russian is climbing the ranks in terms of language study. More and more students are interested in reading Russian literature, travelling cities in Russia like Saint Petersburg and Moscow, and foregoing the European languages like French, German, Spanish, and Italian that are commonly taught as a foreign language at school.
Russian is the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages and whether students are interested in politics, literature, business, or travel, learning more about the Russian language and culture is a good way for them to improve both their personal and professional lives.
Since the demand is there for learning Russian online and in person, there’s never been a better time to start teaching beginners a few Russian words and phrases, help intermediates with their Russian speaking, or provide experts with that final bit linguistic assistance on their way towards fluency.
Before you start teaching your own Russian tutorials, you need to know what to expect. You can’t start teaching foreign languages without any idea of the teaching approaches that you’ll need to help your students to progress.
Whether you want to teach group classes, private tutorials, or online tutorials, you need to be organised. Here’s some advice for planning Russian language tutorials.
You can’t make up your lessons as you go along, teaching Russian tutorials requires organisation and discipline. You need to prepare your tutorials ahead of time.
You don’t need to be a polyglot to teach languages. (Source: TeroVesalainen)
You can’t dive straight into a taster session with a student as if it was a university class. Before you start any language course with a student, you need to work out what language skills they have, what they’ll need to study before they can progress, and how far they are from being fluent.
Russian courses for a beginner will probably just cover Russian vocabulary including nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, for example.
You need to see how you get along, learn more about each other, and decide upon some reasonable learning objectives. During this meeting, the private tutor needs to explain how they work and further explain some of the details from their profile.
It’s a bit like an interview for both the tutor and the student. The tutor should present themselves and explain their experience and qualifications. They should then explain what a typical tutorial is like with them and the teaching approaches they like to employ.
This is your opportunity to show your student what you’re capable of and why they should work with you. You have to show them that you know what you’re doing and can plan lessons in accordance with their abilities and their expectations. You’ll decide upon the learning objectives together.
Does your student want to learn more about Russian culture, improve their speaking, study grammar, get a good result on an exam, or become bilingual?
You’ll have to plan your tutorials in accordance with their goals. It’s also recommended that you test your student’s level to see whether they’re a beginner, intermediate, or expert. If they’ve never studied Russian before, you won’t need to dig that deep.
If they’ve already studied a bit, you’ll want to know everything you can about their experience and see how good they are at reading, writing, and speaking Russian.
Students that are quite advanced won’t need to be asked to answer simple questions such as what their name is, how old they are, or where they live…
Find out more about getting started as a Russian tutor.
Being able to speak Russian fluently won’t necessarily make you a great tutor. Similarly, being able to improvise is a good skill but your lessons also need to be structured.
Make sure you plan your lessons ahead of time. (Source: Free-Photos)
To ensure that your lessons are structured, you’ll need to plan them. You’ll first need to choose an objective for the lesson. What you’ve learnt during the taster session will help here. You’ll know what the student’s final goal is and it’s your job to plot out the steps they’re going to take to get there.
Within each class, you should define a learning objective and check at the end whether or not it’s been achieved. For example:
Make sure that the objectives match the student. Each student needs to have personalised objectives that line up with their overall learning goals.
There are plenty of different tutoring sites for finding students.
Once you’ve established the learning objectives, it’s time to start preparing your lesson. There are several things you need to do in order to speak Russian:
For each topic covered, you’ll need to outline the learning objectives. You should also outline how you’re going to achieve said objectives.
Make sure you’re creative when planning your lessons. (Source: StartupStockPhotos)
For example, learning the Russian alphabet will start by learning individual letters until the student knows all of them. Make sure you have plenty of examples on hand. Examples are really useful for students as they help them to see the language being used in a given way. Don’t forget to speak as much Russian as possible during your tutorials.
Try and put yourself in the student’s shoes so that you know how to structure the following lesson, too. Make sure to review the lesson objectives at the end of each lesson and check that the student has achieved them. If this isn’t the case, then you should consider reviewing the objectives or going back over them in the next less.
Ask yourself why the student hasn’t achieved their objectives and how you can help them to do so. Consider providing the student with resources to go over when you’re not there. This can help them between lessons and they have achieved their objectives by the next time you see them.
If your student is preparing for exams, consider getting your hands on past papers and having them do them under exam conditions. Regularly testing them with past papers is a good way to map their progression and see which parts of the exam they struggle with. It’s also a good way to show them how they’re progressing and to motivate them to progress even further.
Don’t hesitate to provide them with regular updates on their progress. A private tutor is basically an academic coach. Your role is to help get the best out of your students.
In summary, when you prepare each tutorial, you should:
Create a learning plan. You can provide your student with this to show their progression throughout the year.
Find out more about setting your rates.
Anticipate the questions that your student may ask you. When you’re preparing your lesson, ask yourself exactly what the student may struggle with. Thus, you can structure your lesson in terms of these questions and prepare the answers.
Games are an interesting addition to private tutorials. (Source: stevepb)
The most important role of a tutor in a private tutorial is to listen. Whether you’re teaching English, French, Italian, or Russian, the tutor needs to listen to their student’s concerns and resolve them.
A Russian tutorial may resemble a conversation. Don’t think of yourself as a university lecturer. The student will sometimes ask a question that seems to have little to do with the topic at hand. You need to work out whether it’s worthwhile deviating from the lesson objectives to address the issue. You can also address the question in a later tutorial.
When you plan your lessons, you need to pay attention to your watch. If you only have an hour for your tutorials, you’ll need to stay on schedule. For example:
You can always use existing resources but it’s a good idea to make your own. You can always use resources at a later date.
There mightn’t be a huge age gap between the teacher and the student. Try to avoid being overly familiar with younger students. They’ll be more comfortable with you acting as their teacher rather than their friend.
Learning a language is a life-changing experience. Don’t be afraid to encourage your students to do some real soul-searching. Private tutorials for adults are a great way to learn Russian in a warm and friendly environment.
Don’t hesitate to use games, especially in intensive classes and group classes to break the monotony of studying a language and make learning Russian a fun experience. You can also study Russian cinema and literature. This is all just general advice and you’ll need to consider each student as an individual and do what works for them. With experience, you’ll get better and better at planning classes.