A parent who is using my curriculum recently told me she was thinking of hiring a tutor to practice Spanish conversation with her child. I think this is a great idea, but it prompted me to write this post to help guide parents in the best way to do this.
Many parents with good intentions will just arrange for someone they know who speaks Spanish to practice with their child. This is a nice idea, but it won't necessarily achieve what you want. You want to be sure that whoever is doing the tutoring, he/she has a good understanding of what your child has been learning so that they can effectively build your child's conversation skills using what he/she knows.
For example, if your child is using my curriculum, which is elementary/middle school level, you want someone who can look at the material being learned and build conversation around that. You want someone who can methodically add to what your child is learning in a logical way so that your child can build his/her conversaton skills without getting discouraged or overwhelmed.
If your child is taking high school Spanish, the same goes. It is best to have a tutor who can work at that level and actually guide the conversation in a way that the student gets practice using certain grammar concepts, vocabulary, and verbs being learned.
Once your student is at a higher level, maybe fourth year high school and beyond, then there is more room for spontaneous conversation.
When I have been hired to tutor high school students in Spanish conversation, I carefully structure conversations to practice what I know the student knows, and I provide on-the-spot quick grammar reviews as needed.
When I have been hired to work with college students, that is usually more spontaneous conversation, but even then, I have had students ask me specifically to gear our conversations in a way that they can practice certain concepts they find difficult.
If you are someone who is considering finding a conversation tutor for your child, keep some of these tips in mind so your child benefits from the experience.
If you have questions or comments about this topic, please leave them here. I would be happy to hear from you!
PS - You can find Spanish conversation tutoring if you use Spanish for You! here.