Note: this is a repost from my German blog. The original article is here.

I’ve tried six different tutors at this point (5 professional, 1 “community” tutor which is just someone who doesn’t teach the language as their day job and does online tutoring on the side), kept four of them (the first pro was flat out bad, the community tutor was “meh”), and one thing I’ve consistently noticed about the good ones is that they all have a plan and it’s a plan that works because it’s based on lots and lots of experience teaching people the language – they’ve already worked out all the various needs and problems that they know you’re going to have because they’ve done this hundreds of times before with other similar students with similar needs. In the words of the eminent physicist Niels Bohr:

Bohr“An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.”

Hah. Yup.

Every single tutor I’ve tried, even the bad one (one out of six isn’t bad!) had at least a decent quality plan (the problem with the bad one wasn’t their plan): they had exercises, games (I’ve got a great story about this I’ll share below), workbook pages, something prepared for the lesson prior to the lesson beginning.  Here’s my point:

You don’t waste any time trying to figure out what to do.

And for beginning language learners, that’s huge.  Because they typically do spend a large portion of their time trying to figure out how exactly to go about learning the language in question, at least if it’s their first one they’ve ever learned besides their native tongue.  You don’t have to do this, the tutor who has tons of experience getting people to learn this language already knows what to do, so every second of your time is spent taking positive action towards your goal and making actual, real progress.

german with mo, modabo


Ok, so here’s the story: I was having a lesson with Mo (great teacher, by the way) and she decided what she wanted to do for that lesson was play a game with me.  It went like this: she would start to tell a story, in this case about someone simply getting up in the morning, and then I would have to continue it (in German) by making up the next part of the story (I said, in German of course, that he had a cup of coffee), then she would do the next part (he had toast for breakfast), then I (he also had orange juice!), then her (the phone rang, I learned the word for “to ring”: klingeln), then I (it was his mother), then her (she was very excited: “aufgeregt” means “excited”), then I (because the neighbor’s dog had peed on her newspaper – I learned how to say “to pee” in German: “pinkeln”!), then her (she wants him to come over), then I (because she wants him to fight the neighbor: I learned how to say “to fight”: kämpfen), and on and on.  What fun!  Fun, and, most importantly: effective (frequently these two thing go together, as I’ve stated many times, right?).

This turned out to be fantastic.  I learned so much new German (vocabulary, grammar, everything) in that single one-hour session, I was just astounded – I should note that the few examples of new vocabulary I learned that I mentioned above were but a small portion of everything I learned that session, those are just a few examples I picked for you.  I was exhausted and ready to end by the time it was over, but in a good way.  I felt like we genuinely accomplished significant progress.  This was far, far more than I could’ve possibly hoped to accomplish on my own with any kind of self-study method (textbook, self-study course like Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur, etc.).

Regardless of anything else, I will say this about tutors (good ones): they’re extremely time-efficient.  Probably the most time-efficient method out there, or as we Americans like to say: you get the most bang for your buck.

I hope that was interesting, let me know what you think in the comments (and would like me to write about in the future), also...  If you thought the above was at all useful and you want to learn (or are learning) Spanish, please give me a chance and read what I have to say about my book below!  Thank you so much for checking out my blog and I hope you've enjoyed my writing.

I learned to speak conversational Spanish in six months using TV shows, movies, and even comics: I then wrote a book on how you can, too

I have a whole method and a book I wrote about it called The Telenovela Method where I teach you how to learn Spanish from popular media like TV shows, movies, music, books, etc. that you can all find online for free.  It was the #1 new release in the Spanish Language Instruction section on Amazon for nearly a month after it came out and currently has 17 reviews there with a 4.9/5 stars average.  It's available for $7.99-$9.99 for the e-book version depending on who you buy it from (Kindle version on Amazon is now $7.99) and $16.99 for the paperback (occasionally a bit cheaper, again, depending on who you buy it from).

It's currently available in both e-book and paperback from:


Related Posts:

Learn Spanish from Popular Media (movies, TV shows, music videos, books, even comics!) Using Mostly FREE Online Resources - Here's How...

I tried to learn French with self-study books and then classes (4 years!) in high school and failed...I tried Spanish and Russian while in university and failed (and got kicked out of a French class but that's another story)...then, 10 years ago, I took another shot at Spanish using a simple method I picked up from a friend: studying (not just watching) Spanish-language TV shows: I was conversationally fluent in six months.

Using popular media is a great way to learn a language, but you have to know:

A) How to do it, and...

B) Where to find said popular media.

If you'll be so trustworthy as to give me your email address below, I'll help you do this.  I'll teach you how to do it (how to deal with Spanish that's spoken "too fast" for you to understand let alone imitate, how to work with stuff that only provides English subtitles or none at all, how to learn grammar when you don't get a grammar lesson with the material because it's a movie/song/etc.) and where to find great, informative, entertaining sources of Spanish-language media - I mean stuff that's actually popular with current, adult native speakers, not just material made and intended for non-native students of the language (which can be dull and inauthentic).

Sign up below, now, and will kick things off right away with the first lesson on how to use material intended for native children (great stuff for beginners: it's authentic but simple, slow, and easy to understand) plus a bonus: my list of the Top 10 Free Online Resources for Learning Spanish.

Learn Spanish from Popular Media (movies, TV shows, music videos, books, even comics!) Using Mostly FREE Online Resources - Here's How...

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