8 tips for choosing an Italian ONLINE course
Want to learn Italian ONLINE? Unsure about what course is right for you?
Here are some tips when faced with so much choice of Italian courses and teachers.
1. Can I deal with a site or speaker who uses Italian only? It has been suggested that the best way to learn Italian is to fully immerse yourself in the language, without using any translation (after all, this is how kids learn, right?). However, you might find that monolingual sites, videos, lessons are making it impossible to go past their initial greetings. Don’t be ashamed to use some forms of translation and possibly start with a course that explains things in English or your mother tongue. If I were to learn Japanese from zero, I would definitely appreciate some help in English!
2. Are the teachers of mother tongue and with qualifications? I have seen Italian travellers to Australia offering language lessons with no experience in teaching methods and approaches. Being a native speaker doesn't automatically bless you with teaching skills.
3. Is there a sense of progress? Are you watching a YouTube video here and there? Even if the material is free (bargain!), these resources might not give you a sense of progress. Maybe it’s time to explore a more structured program.
4. Is the material paced? You might struggle and feel overwhelmed when working with material that is too advanced or packs too much in one lesson. To avoid the risk of quitting, choose a lower level or a more paced program. This will encourage you to keep going. If you are not sure, check the content covered or contact the provider directly.
5. Is what I am learning what I actually need? You might find interesting free stuff, however it can also be irrelevant. For example, learning how to swear in Italian when you can’t even say ‘how are you’, might not be the smarted input to put into your brain to start with. Make sure you have a clear purpose for learning and focus on that one. You can later add to your knowledge and yes swear words might be a handy addition.
6. Is the content in a context or just a list of phrases and words? It doesn’t serve you to memorise tons of words that you might never need or that you don’t know how to put together in a sentence. Choose a course that is communication-oriented, unless you are preparing for an exam on vocabulary and grammar.
7. Am I pronouncing it correctly? Beware of non-native pronunciation. For instance, Google Translate has some hideous Italian pronunciation recordings. Also, a teacher who is not of Italian mother tongue might mispronounce little but important things like double consonants.
8. What do I need to check when I see a course? Stick with courses that have clear deliverables and tasks as well as information on the method. Trial their samples. Check comments from other students. Be aware of how you learn best and opt for courses that will have more of that. For instance, if the course gives you the opportunity to hear someone speaking or if they "force" you to speak, then this is a good way to know that some Italian words will come out of your mouth, and not just stay in your brain.
The biggest recommendation, though, is that once you choose your course or teacher, STICK WITH IT and WORK IT. The course doesn’t work, you do.