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Preparing for a Speaking Lesson as a Student (My first German Conversation in Months on iTalki)

This is the first time I've spoken German in several months and it was a positive experience. I'll show you how you can plan for positive conversational lessons on iTalki.

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Why German again? How is this “burst of studying” new?

Yes, I’m speaking German again on iTalki. I’m going to show you how I’m preparing for that and what a lesson can look like if you prepare for it as an active learner. 

If you know me at all, you know that I’ve studied German in the past and I’ve gone back to it many times. I’ve used iTalki before to get conversation practice, but I used to feel like I wasn’t progressing much. I believe the problem was because I was too busy or I was placing too much of a heavy focus on too many languages and not being proactive enough with preparing before my conversation sessions. “This time is different!” I tell myself. 

What has built me up for this active learning phase with German again? I heard that the Polyglot Gathering is happening for the first time online and I will be joining in (here is the link to the Polyglot Gathering website). I decided that I needed to be a bit more active with my preparation for speaking on iTalki and I need to take a less passive role with language learning. My go-to “comfort” activities for language learning are using word cards and reading/listening. 

So how exactly will I prepare for a conversation lesson?

You know how sometimes you read suggestions online but you don’t see an example? Well here is an example. In the video below, I’ll show you how I’m preparing for a Conversation lesson in German. 

What two people said get me going with this new venture with studying German. One of them was Kersten Cable from her podcast called The Fluent Show (her website is here), and the other was Richard Simcott from his YouTube channel (unfortunately I’ve forgotten which video, but here is his channel). Kersten had once said that it’s perhaps more important to prepare for one lesson than to simply show up to more lessons. The preparation and post-lesson review are important. I agreed with Kersten’s idea when I first heard of her talk about this last year. Just the other day though I was listening to Richard Simcott’s Q and A session on YouTube and he was describing what he does for language learning. He likes to have at least two active days a week (not together, but spaced apart) where he is preparing for and trying to use the language. 

I decided to give this a try. I’m going to take a Wednesday Morning each week and do a 1 hour session on iTalki to practice conversations that I want to have. 

In the video below, you will see how I’ve prepared for a few conversations I’d like to have and how I did it. I basically just made an outline of the conversations and identified a lot of vocabulary that I want to use for those conversations. 

Where is the video?

If you can’t see a video here for “How to Prepare for an iTalki conversation, you can go to Youku. Here is a link to the video on Youku if you are unable to view the video.

How did I feel about the lesson?

I had a very positive experience with the lesson. I think there was a lot to talk about because I had prepared a a bit and it was our first time talking. 

In my own teacher training I often feel like it’s better to deal with error correction after the speaking, but I didn’t mind that this was happening in the lesson, sometimes during the conversation. Because I had an outline of the points I wanted to talk about I was able to continue speaking and remember what there was still to talk about. He asked me questions which made the speaking a bit unplanned and unpredictable, but isn’t that what speaking is all about? 

At any rate, I felt very motivated to continue with my German lessons. If you are interested in finding a German teacher, I can vouch for Andy. He’s the teacher in the video below. It was enjoyable to talk to him and he asks questions that can keep you talking in case you run out of steam. He also gives help with collocations: he not only tells you what word you need, but also what other words go with it. He’s a learner/user of Japanese and other languages as well, so he understands language learning and teaching. 

Want to learn German? You can book a lesson with Andy!

If you are interested in taking a German lesson with Andy, you can contact him on iTalki here.

If you are new to iTalki, be sure to use this link here so that you and I can both benefit from you joining iTalki 😉 You will get $10 USD of free iTalki credit after your first purchase of $20 USD. 

Where is the video?

If you can’t see a video here for “First German Conversation in Months” you can go to Youku. Here is a link to the video on Youku if you are unable to view the video.

Future lessons?

I’ve still got 4 more lessons with Andy. I’m hoping I can be very proactive this time and make conversation goals so that I can compare my oral German with the first lesson. 

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