Frequently asked questions about our personalized classes:
What are your teaching methods? Our philosophy is that people who are genuinely motivated to master a language, will. They do their own investigation and homework, and generally just need a gentle, helping hand. They need a little assistance to identify their strengths and areas for improvement, and some guidance to find the right learning resources. The truth is, the Internet is already full of endless language materials. The information is already “out there”, and most professional students don’t want or need spoon-fed language lessons. For that reason, instead of creating a large amount of content with complex lessons on grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary, we take a simpler approach: We use a guided discussion theme for each class, based on an interesting and realistic conversation topic. This accomplishes the most important goal of language training: Speaking. This technique keeps the student talking as much as possible, while the teacher interjects just enough to correct, guide, and answer questions. Occasionally, the teacher might pause the conversation to offer clarification on a specific skill, while avoiding excessively technical explanations. The teacher takes notes during the class, and afterwards, the student receives detailed, written feedback. This feedback shows the new concepts learned during the lesson, and provides direct references that link to learning materials for each area to be practiced. Via their profile page, students have access to each feedback summary on our online spreadsheet system, and can refer back to past classes anytime they like. The system is simple, yet very effective.
How are my classes scheduled? We find a compatible time each week, based on your needs, and schedule you with a teacher for that permanent time. Once you have been assigned a weekly class time, that time is yours and your teacher will be there for you at that same hour each week. Depending on the month, you may have four or five classes per month. The teacher will wait for you for the first 30 minutes of your scheduled class time.
Can I cancel a class if I need to? Yes, you can use our online scheduling system to cancel or reschedule a class if you need to, up to 36 hours before the appointment, although we would prefer that you give us more advance notice. You can reschedule the cancelled class choosing from your teacher’s availability. If you need to cancel a class and reschedule, we can’t guarantee that your teacher will be available “all the time”, but we will do our best to fit you in if you had to cancel class for some urgent matter. We understand that you are busy professionals and that language classes can’t always be the first priority.
- Public holidays: If your class falls on a public holiday in your country and you prefer not to have class that day, please cancel the class and reschedule it for another day using the link provided. You will still be billed for that class in the month it was originally scheduled, since you can reschedule it for future date. It is the student’s responsibility to reschedule the class.
- Cancellation with advance notice: If you need to cancel a class, please do so with at least 36 hours advance notice, and then reschedule it for another day using the link provided. You will still be billed for that class in the month it was originally scheduled, since you can reschedule it for a future date. It is the student’s responsibility to reschedule the cancelled class.
- Cancellation without advance notice or no-shows: Classes cancelled with less than 36 hours advance notice or no-shows are not refundable. If you have a special situation though, please write us and we will try to work something out. We are reasonable folks.
How do I prepare for my class? What will we talk about? The week prior to your class, we post that week’s content and discussion questions in your profile. All you have to do is open the link for the suggested reading or video, and think about how you might answer the discussion questions. You can write some notes or questions if you want. We don’t usually cover all the material, and we customize it to your level and personal needs. Of course, since these are individualized classes, if you have special needs (a work presentation, a business meeting situation, a document that you need help with to make it sound more natural, etc.), just send those materials to your teacher in advance and they will be happy to spend as much of the class time as necessary to assist you with those individual needs. Edited materials will be made available to you after the class for download. We are very flexible, and believe that students learn better if they are talking about subjects that are interesting and relevant to them. If you want to change topics and talk about something different, just ask your teacher and they will be happy to adapt.
How exactly to I take my class? We use Appear.in for conferencing, which plays well with Windows, Mac, and Linux. Chrome is the recommended browser. We normally just use the audio and screen sharing to share content. Video is secondary to language learning and usually not necessary. You can also use this platform on a mobile browser, although we don’t recommend it, simply because we want you to have a good learning environment, and being in a noisy place with a small screen isn’t ideal. We can also contact you by Skype if you prefer. Please use good quality headphones with an external microphone, not the integrated speakers on your laptop or phone, for the best possible sound. After you sign up for classes, you will receive a welcome email with a link to your personal profile page, which you will use to access the classroom, content, and feedback.
Is there a minimum number of classes required? No. We realize that individual needs differ, so we offer you as many or as few classes as you need, without obligating you to a minimum number. Of course, a package or program of classes will give you the best results, so we recommend at least three months.
How long is each class? Classes are nominally one hour, which includes a full 45 minutes of talking time, plus 15 minutes for the teacher to complete the customized feedback.
How much do classes cost? How do I pay? The rates listed below are for a nominal one hour class. Classes are weekly and billing is monthly. If you choose a monthly package (highly recommended), please keep in mind that some months may have five classes. We will invoice you the first week of the month after your initial month of classes, including any cancelled classes. For subsequent months, we will automatically charge the corresponding amount to the same credit card, the first week of each month, and send you a receipt.
$23/hour for one-off classes.
$22/hour for three months
$21/hour for six months
$20/hour for twelve months or more
Do you provide a graduation certificate? Upon your request, we are happy to provide you with a letter indicating that you have taken classes with us, the number of hours spent, and an evaluation of your fluency level.
Do you have a satisfaction guarantee? Yes! If you are less than thrilled with the language services received, please let us know why, and we will offer you either a full refund for the affected classes or a corresponding number of classes free of charge.
How can I contact you? You can always email us with any concerns or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the hardware and software requirements? In short, nothing special. Here are the details:
- Operating system: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, or 10; Mac OS; most Linux distributions.
- RAM: 512 MB.
- Processor: 1 GHz or greater.
- 16 bit sound card
- Monitor: 1024 × 768 or greater resolution.
- Browsers: Please use Chrome for best results.
- Internet connection: A high speed connection (Cable, DSL, fiber) is preferred, but since our system has very low bandwidth requirements, almost any stable connection is acceptable. Note: Mobile devices and mobile data connections are often unreliable and unstable, so we suggest you use a DSL-based connection with lower latency.
- In addition, you will need a reasonably high-quality headset with microphone and a quiet place to take your class. Note: We do not recommend using your PC’s integrated microphone or mobile phone style headphones.