Before embarking on becoming a private Portuguese tutor, it is important to understand how to prepare a language course.
- How does one approach learning the Portuguese language with his or her students?
- What are the important points to keep in mind?
Teaching is a complex process that requires many skills. Beyond the knowledge you want to share, it is necessary to think about how to transmit this knowledge...You must have a concrete idea of how to give Portuguese lessons...
As Brad Henry wrote,
"A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning."
Evaluate Your Student's Profile Before Teaching Him or Her
Private lessons are good for lessons that are tailor-made for the student. Unlike when one is a teacher in national education, when you are a Portuguese private tutor, you will find yourself alone with your student.
It's a completely different approach and requires some adaptation.
Before deciding which class you are going to propose, you will have to start by evaluating your student's profile in order to better adapt your class to his/her expectations, needs, objectives, language skills, and learning difficulties...
Portuguese is not taught in the same way to an adult who plans to go abroad to Brazil than to a schoolboy who is learning it for the first time or to a high school student who is preparing an SAT Subject Test in Portuguese.
How do you get to know your student? Depending on his or her profile, you will be able to:
- Determine priorities according to identified needs,
- Define specific objectives,
- Develop the course content in detail,
- Provide appropriate teaching materials,
- Establish a relationship of trust,
- Find the appropriate material to promote student learning,
How do you determine the student's profile, level, needs, and goals?
You should determine this from the first class you teach. The first day, you will be able to get to know your student and if necessary his or her parents. This first meeting is an opportunity to take down all of your student's needs. To prepare these first exchanges, you can:
- Plan a report according to your student's level,
- Think about questions to ask him or her: difficulties encountered, objectives, needs...
- Have a broader exchange on his or her life goals: why he or she is so enthralled by the Portuguese language for example!
- Ask him or her a list of his or her favorite teaching methods!
Discover what teacher training methods are available for Portuguese tutors!
Should You Impose Your Teaching Method or Ask Students for their Preference Before Class?
Private language lessons offer multiple possibilities in terms of pedagogical approaches.
This is especially important when a student hiring a tutor has specific expectations. The idea is not to replicate what he or she is experiencing in class.
On the contrary, it is important to offer different, individualized, and personalized courses.
The first thing to know is the student's level (beginner, intermediate, advanced...). Your Portuguese classes must be adapted to the student's level, of course.
It is also important to note that no one has the same facilities or difficulties when learning a language. You will also need to consider the age and maturity of your students.
Learning Portuguese as an adult is not the same as learning Portuguese as a teenager!
Some will be comfortable writing when others will have more difficulty speaking. The role of the private tutor is to identify the obstacles encountered by his or her student and help him or her to overcome them to improve in the language.
- How should you proceed ?
- Should you ask the student what he or she prefers and stick to it or impose a pedagogy that is not necessarily his or her favorite?
It would be too easy to answer with just yes or no. Let us explain:
To progress with Portuguese, students must be excited and feel involved, but also feel motivated and encouraged. To impose a pedagogy to which the student does not adhere will be counterproductive.
Conversely, focusing solely on the student's preferences will mean less progression. A student will always prefer to stay in his or her comfort zone, which will prevent him or her from taking up certain challenges.
Discover also where you could teach Portuguese...
What's the miracle recipe?
As a tutor - whether you are bilingual in Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, or even a native - you will quickly detect the difficulties of your student:
Depending on the predispositions of your student, the ideal is to alternate the educational supports and to vary the pedagogical approaches.
Encouraging and supporting the student are both essential. If you are to learn effectively, it is important to be confident. To make sure your student can succeed, you must also valorize his or her acquired skills. It is therefore useful to alternate exercises in which the learner is more comfortable with other approaches less easy for him.
Divide Your Class in 5 Sections
Whatever your pedagogical choices for teaching Portuguese, you will have to structure your courses. Good organization is essential to achieving the goals you have set for yourself and not falling behind schedule.
This applies to Portuguese, but also applies if you want to teach Spanish, German, Russian, Arabic, or other foreign languages...
A language course can be organized in different ways depending on the student's profile and goals. The course is usually divided into several sections, which are a reference for the tutor, but one for the student as well:
- Online Portuguese course: it is essential to return to the important points that were seen during the previous course. This section is devoted to reviewing things that have already been learned.
- Correction of Portuguese exercises: if the student had homework to do for the new course, the corrections must be made in the beginning of the class,
- Announcing that day's theme for the Portuguese class: it is important to define the objectives of the day's class (concepts discussed, educational supports being used, the objectives),
- Practical exercises: the Portuguese teacher explains the concept of the exercises and proposes certain chosen exercises to help the student learn (explanations, written exercises, oral expression...)
- Conclusion of the Portuguese class: it is important to return to the key points of the Portuguese lesson that have just taken place. This will help make them stick. This is also the time to give homework for the next class.
These simple steps are a guideline for each class. The next question that arises when we start teaching private lessons is time management:
- How do you make sure that the student is not overwhelmed and can follow the thread? How can you ensure that once the Portuguese lesson is over, the concepts that were to be addressed have been well assimilated?
- How can you do all this in a constructive way?
This is why as a tutor you must prepare your course. You will have to prepare the content but also learn to respect the time limits of each section. To do this, make sure the course you have concocted can be given in just one hour.
It is also important to have some free time to answer all your student's questions, rephrase a grammar rule, and go over an exercise that was not properly understood...
Finally, a Portuguese lesson must be given in Portuguese! The teacher must know how to adapt his or her level in order to be understood by his or her student. You don't teach Portuguese by speaking English. This is true for all foreign language courses (French, Spanish, German...)
Discover more tips on how to teach Portuguese...
Portuguese Class: Plan on Helpful Educational Supports for the Class
Let's look at one last thing together--last but not least!
You know what you want to discuss with your students, the pedagogical approaches which are adapted to their profiles and needs, but now it is necessary to look at the materials that you will use for your courses.
What's the goal here? Well, it's not only to address certain notions of the language, but also get your students interested (or passionate) in the language.
Whether your student will be interested in the Portuguese class is strongly linked to the teacher and his or her teaching materials. It is essential to know the tastes of students and their expectations to find the supports that suit them.
Vary the supports is one of the important points:
- audio carriers,
Today, the resources are very varied. Learn how to use them all! For example, audio and video media are a good way to familiarize students with the sound of the language. Mobile apps like Babbel make it easy to practice and edit anywhere! Card games can be very useful for memorizing vocabulary...
Again, it's a question of personalizing the curriculum. If you give Portuguese private lessons to a college student, it is useful to have a look at his or her class curriculum so you can accompany him or her in his scholastic progress and help him or her get to his desired college.
This does not prevent you from offering the student alternatives and playful ways to learn. Mobile apps, websites, games, but also videos can help him work differently and perceive the language from another angle.
Taking into account the student's passions can also be a lever to arouse interest and help him or her master the language.
An adult who wants to learn to speak Portuguese for pleasure or to travel will be interested in the countries he or she can visit to better his or her language skills:
- In Portugal,
- In Brazil,
- In Cape Verde or in another Portuguese-speaking country.
It is useful to offer to give the student conversation classes, but also to give him or her the keys (and the right tools) to become autonomous in his or her practice of the Portuguese language (mobile apps, Portuguese dictionary, tourist guides, movies, music...)
Whether Portuguese is your mother tongue or you are a bilingual Portuguese-American, you can pass on your passion for the Portuguese language to your students. Be careful not to get started without being well prepared, though!
Also take a look the prices of a Portuguese course...