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Saturday, January 28th
German is the second-most spoken language in Europe, and approximately 200 million people speak it worldwide. Your trial lesson can cost just $1, and your instructor can be a person who knows German well, a native speaker of German, or a professional teacher. (For reference, Italki considers a professional to have an advanced degree or be a teacher. There are 15,000 highly qualified people that italki has chosen to be German instructors.)
First, choose a German teacher
If there are 15,000 teachers, how do you decide which one to choose? Italki has a list of teachers. Each person has a photo, their name, what country they are from, which languages they speak, and their hourly rate. Click on their name to learn more. They give you a video introduction of themselves and what it's like to learn from them and a written bio as well. You can see how many students they have had, what their native language is, if they speak English, how many italki lessons given, what materials they may use, if they assign homework, their work experience, italki ratings, and reviews by italki German students. The reviews are helpful not only for the obvious reasons, but also so that you can see if they are a good match for you specifically. When you read the reviews, which often talk about their style, is this an approach that you would like to have in a German instructor, or should you move on to the next bio?
Next, pick a date and time for your lesson
Click to schedule. The italki calendar adjusts to the timezone on your device, and tells you the available time slots on the instructor's calendar. You are also welcome to message the instructor to ask for a specific time that's not marked as available.
Connect for your lesson!
Visit your Student Dashboard, find today's lesson, and click "Enter Classroom," share your screen, and that's it! You can take notes on the screen that only you can see, and they will be saved automatically. At the end of the lesson, click END, and submit a review. That's it! If you're wondering if your internet connection isn't strong enough, they have a Pre-Lesson check in the classroom so that the student and/or the teacher can see if their device is running well enough.
Keep your teacher, or switch next time!
The beauty of italki over in-person language classes is that you can change the instructor at any time. In a traditional classroom, your teacher is your teacher for the whole semester or year, like it or not - though hopefully you do like it! With italki, you can keep the same instructor or change at any time. Maybe you would like to have different teaching methods or hear different accents, or what if your favorite teacher didn't have a class available at the times that worked for you? No problem! There are 15,000 teachers to choose from!
You get what you pay for?
Instructors with actual teaching experience, teaching certificates, or a university degree in education are referred to as Professional Teachers and allowed to charge more, which can be $40 or more. Those who are either native German speakers or have an advanced degree in German can also be italki teachers, are referred to as Community Tutors, and aren't allowed to charge as much. They might start at $6 per hour. One might think that the higher the fee and the degree the better the instructor, and that the opposite would be true as well. And yet, some reviewers have had great lessons from the less expensive instructors, and sometimes lesser learning experiences with the more costly instructors. So, just like anything else, try it out, and see what or who works best for you.
Help with your writing skills
There is a section where you can write about any topic you'd like to write about in German. Be aware that your work will be public! A person who is proficient in German will read and make corrections and suggestions to your work. If you like this feature and use it, it would be nice to do the same for someone wanting an English speaker to give advice on their writing.
Italki is fabulous, but it's a lot of pressure if you're camera-shy
We love italki, don't get us wrong. How wonderful to choose among 15,000 instructors, have live classes, and choose your schedule! How convenient to change teachers at any time you like! The teaching quality can vary from teacher to teacher, so it may take a few lessons until you find one or a few that are right for you. It's wonderful to have live lessons, of course. However, some people are camera shy, not wanting to be in the spotlight, or don't feel comfortable with a live lesson, just you and the teacher face to face. Some people prefer to learn passively, via video instead of having to interact with someone. Or sometimes you might want to have some fun practicing German, but not be in a live tutoring session. For passive practice, a traditional online language program will have games and activities, prizes and leaderboards to keep you excited and motivated.
Ideal German lessons for developing native-like fluency
Italki is original, has thousands of excellent German teachers, and has inexpensive one-on-one lessons. For those looking for passive lessons or practice, italki falls short. Still, on the whole, there's almost no better method (short of moving to a German-speaking country) of getting your spoken fluency up to speed in such a fun and affordable way. Italki continues to be one of our favorite language-learning resources.
Did you know that German is the second-most spoken language in Europe? Or that around 95 million people worldwide speak German as their primary language and that it is an official language in six countries? Perhaps you have German roots in your family and want to get in touch with your heritage by learning German?
If you study sciences, you may know that German is the most commonly used scientific language. Learning German can provide you with an insight into the German people's way of life and also broaden your horizons. Whatever your personal reason for wanting to learn German, the next step is to find your best way to study the language.
So much of our life now is digital, so it's natural to consider learning German online. There are many programs to learn languages: live, one-to-one tutoring; a real person teaching you through recorded video lessons; video-game-like lessons and practice; recording your voice and getting computer-generated specific feedback; getting feedback on written work by real people; or playing games and letting the time fly by while earning prizes and getting on a leaderboard. With so many different methods of learning and practice, we can help you narrow down what is best for you and your learning style.
The first thing to consider is how much German you may know. Have you had German classes in high school and want to brush up and continue to proficiency? Or is Gesundheit! when someone sneezes the extent of your German? If you are a beginner, choosing an online program will be easier, as most focus at least on the beginning German student. If you already know some German, some programs offer a placement test and others have you look at their curriculum and you select your own placement. If you are pretty advanced or your goal is to get there, only a few online German programs can help you get to advanced proficiency, while others fall short past the beginning German level.
How would you like to learn German? Would you like live one-on-one lessons with a tutor or in a small-class setting? Would you like to learn from a person, but via video so you can pause or review? Would you like to learn interactively with a computer program where you match phrases you heard with images, then record your voice speaking, and then have game-like practice exercises with awards and a leaderboard with a little healthy competition? It's all out there, and you get to decide which is for you!
Once you know your current level of German and how you might want to learn it, there are a few more aspects to consider:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed, evaluated, rated, and recommended the best choices for learning German online or via an app. We're sure that with the information we have for you, you'll be able to make your best decision for learning German and becoming more proficient and fluent in this common and popular language!
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