One of the great benefits of learning English online is that you can choose your own teacher. Cambly has more than 10,000 English tutors from all kinds of backgrounds. But with so many, you might be finding it difficult to choose one!
Here are some tips on choosing the right tutor for you, based on the experiences and opinions of users who have been learning English with Cambly for more than six months.
What to think about when choosing an online English tutor
Your requirements for an English tutor will depend on what you want to learn in the lesson and what is a priority for you. Let’s take a look at the main issues that students often care about.
1. Nationality and accent
English teachers have different accents and vocabulary depending on where they are from. Some countries use American English, while some are more influenced by British English. If you want to learn the style more common to a particular country, or understand more about the country’s culture and values, it is better to choose a tutor from there.
On the other hand, if you’re preparing for an English exam that will use a variety of accents, it’s a good idea to use a few tutors from a range of countries to get more used to how differently English can be spoken.
“Basically, I will return to the United States within a few years, so I will focus on tutors with American accents.”
“I choose tutors who live in the United Kingdom because I am interested in the history and culture of the UK.”
“I currently live in the United States and am working on improving pronunciation, so I use an American tutor.”
“I like the Australian accent, so I chose an Australian tutor.”
“There are also a lot of Indian tutors, and you can select them too.”
If you want to learn English for a specific purpose, such as business English, medical English or tourism English, find a tutor with knowledge and experience in that field. This is how to improve vocabulary for your purpose. Similarly, if you are working on specific skills such as pronunciation, writing, speech or exam preparation, your lessons will be more effective if your tutor specializes in these areas.
To find them, try searching for an instructor using keywords related to that specialty. For example, if you want to prepare for the TOEFL or IELTS exam, search for “TOEFL” or “IELTS” to see the instructors who have strengths in this kind of exam preparation.
“I selected tutors with TESOL or CELTA English teaching qualifications.”
“Finding a tutor with experience as an examiner is really useful for IELTS preparation.”
“My tutor specializes in pronunciation correction.”
“I wanted to improve my reading comprehension, so I chose a tutor who likes reading and writing novels.”
“I chose a tutor who understands medical terms.”
“Because I want to have business English conversation, I chose tutors not just with teaching experience but who had worked in business.”
3. Personality and lesson style
Online English lessons are still a place of communication between people. To make sure it is a pleasant experience, compatibility is important.
Here are some examples of personality and English lesson styles, so you can search by the keywords that you relate to. Comments from other students are also useful to help you understand what kind of teacher they are, so check them out as well.
- A good listener
“I want to have fun lessons, so I look for a tutor with a cheerful personality.”
“I look for a good listener – can you ask a lot of polite questions and give me a chance to speak?”
“I like a teacher who is easy to talk to and will encourage you even if you are uncertain about the answer.”
“I appreciate a tutor who will point out grammar and pronunciation mistakes properly.”
“I have a chat with the teacher first and then decide based on how it goes. It depends on the way they ask questions, the atmosphere, how much they smile. This is important to me.”
4. Ease of scheduling
If you find a good tutor but have clashing schedules, or find yourself having to fit in your lesson at inconvenient times, it will be difficult to have a consistent learning experience. Therefore, you need to choose an online tutor who has the right availability for you.
Think about which day and time is easier for you and choose a tutor who is able to schedule your lesson regularly in that time. But keep in mind that relying on one tutor may backfire if their lesson time changes or you cannot make an appointment. Finding a few favorite tutors will make your schedule easier and more flexible.
“Find instructors who can provide lessons when you want to study and who are able to schedule classes in advance.”
“I find teachers who can consistently take classes at 8am or at night in my time zone.”
“I often choose a teacher who can teach me in my spare time. When I make an appointment, I choose a teacher who can teach me grammar in a fun way.”
5. Interests and values
English conversation lessons are a place to practice speaking English, so it is important for students to speak as much as possible. And the best topics to talk about are those that interest you. Find an instructor who shares your favorite interests, hobbies and values that you can speak to like a friend.
“I choose teachers who like traveling and who are likely to be interested in Asia.”
“I’m also a homemaker, so I can talk a lot about housework and childcare.”
“I choose a teacher who likes traveling and wine.”
“I talk about the themes I’m interested in (movies, poetry, robots).”
Find the best tutor for you!
So, there you have five important points to keep in mind when choosing your tutor for online English-speaking lessons. With these in mind, start by taking lessons with some different tutors and make a note of what you think about each point. As you try out different tutors, you will figure out what matters when looking for a tutor who suits you.
Finding a tutor who can’t wait for your next lesson will increase your motivation to learn English and make it easier for you to continue having fun. Find the tutor who suits you best and take your first lesson now!