In order to concentrate on your conversations you will need adequate space in a place that is silent, well-illuminated and pleasant.
Also, you will need a desk and a computer with the necessary equipment such as a headset with an attached microphone which is ideal to better hear and be heard. You must have some high quality monolingual and bilingual dictionaries. There are excellent online dictionaries for this purpose.
These tools will allow you to dedicate your time to a fulfilling experience and you will be better able to take maximum advantage of your time.
What you need for your sessions:
• A free Skype account – You will use it to speak to your tutor at your scheduled time.
• A free Google Calendar account – You can use it to keep track of your scheduled sessions.
• Retroshare – You can use this free program if you want to share files safely and confidentially.
• Sessions using a video cam are best.
• A high speed broadband connection using a PC or laptop.
• A cell phone or tablet works but is not so effective because you cannot take notes easily or use text chat like you can on a PC or laptop, plus your screen is much, much smaller.
• HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: a headset with a microphone attached to it. A headset is recommended as you can hear much better and speak more clearly because of the proximity of your mouth to the microphone.
• Willingness to learn, discipline to prepare, and determination to improve.
It is a good idea to know and/or choose a topic you want to discuss. The conversation content is very flexible.
During a session, for example, you could:
(a) practice free conversations, or
(b) talk about something that you read,
(c) correct written homework you’ve done, or
(d) ask about grammar, or if you have questions about something from your studies or school or work you can ask about it.
The tutor will help stimulate your conversation but you should choose what you wish to discuss and take the initiative to direct your conversation because this forces you to think in the language. The tutor is here to help you but you are here to activate your own learning and, also, your own ideas that you want to share. You must be interested in what you want to talk about, otherwise, your time will be wasted talking about, maybe, what you don’t like.
The tutor does not let a class get boring.
It is recommended that you BE PRO-ACTIVE. It is part of your learning because it must come from within you to want to speak. You do the speaking, I will assist you to become aware of mistakes in grammar, pronunciation or choice of vocabulary. That’s how to learn effectively with someone coaching you to become aware of the English language.
If you don’t understand something, please, always ask.
As you are responsible for the content of the conversation, the tutor does not prepare or give homework unless there is something the tutor thinks you need to do. The tutor will give you, sometimes, handouts that he thinks are important for you.
Note: Generally, one to three conversations per week are recommended.