IELTS & Learning Modes

I was asked by a female student of English through my Facebook page, in excellent English, what might be the best way for her to prepare for her IELTS Exams?  She is scheduled to take her exams in late July.  I would like to share with you my answer to her as I know there are many English students who read my posts and if you are a student seeking advice on IELTS preparation methods, this one might just strike a note with you.
I honestly believe that we have to start the process by finding out the answer to the question,  How do I learn best?  You need to be certain as the next steps depend upon your answer to this vital question.
FACE TO FACE PRIVATE TUTORING  Some people really need to be in the presence of the teacher, they have to share the same space with the teacher as this is a very personal delivery that can add to the learning experience.  Not only is it more stimulating visually, but all the senses are involved in the lesson and the teacher student bond develops around the meetings and lessons that follow.  However this involves someone travelling and imposes certain restrictions and costs when one considers taking classes or delivering lessons as a tutor.  For example, costs will usually include travelling as we are discussing private tutors and tutors have to include their travelling time in the tutoring fees, unless of course students travel to them.  This form of tuition limits your tutor options to those that are within travelling distance of your home or vice-versa.  Advantages:  Personal contact with your teacher, the development of a close working relationship, notes and resources  shared in real time.
ON-LINE PRIVATE TUTORING This form of tutoring requires a good Internet connection and reliable computer equipment.  Headsets these days provide excellent two way sound that is clear and in real time.  Broadband Optical Fibre Internet Connections offer real time exchanges between tutors and students.  Interactions are based on sound and sight via a headset and flat screen, it is not as personal as face to face.  There are a variety of software programs available to teachers and students these days that allow teachers to share screens, share facial videos through computer cams and other programs that allow most, if not all computer resources to be shared between students and their teachers on-line in a very efficient fashion.  On-line tutoring allows you to attend your lessons from anywhere in the world and students are not restricted to hiring tutors that are within reasonable travelling distance.  Students of English can now work directly with Native Speakers and students can seek out Qualified Teachers skilled in particular areas like IELTS and other exam Preparation classes.
The question is: Which system is best for you?
Once you have decided this question the next question is 
How do I know this tutor is the one I need?  
Don't be frightened to ask your potential tutor the question: What experiences have you had with IELTS and preparing students for IELTS Exams?  Do you KNOW what the requirements are?
It is important to remember that there are many factors that your tutor must take into consideration while developing your skills and making you IELTS ready to take your test, take a look at  for a guide.  Your tutor must be monitoring your performance across all these areas while you are completing your course work.  Providing you have a tutor who is skilled in the above requirements, all areas can be treated equally well in face to face and on-line mediums.  I find it most effective to maintain a check list of skills covered in each class, and reflect areas that need to be developed.  A very effective lesson may contain a particular focus, like Writing - Grammar, but will nearly always treat all the areas of English Skills development, namely Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Understanding [Lexis] and Conversation Skills.
Look for tutors that offer you some simple, but effective progress tools for reflection at some pre-determined point in your course.  I like asking students to make an audio recording at the beginning of the course and I also like my students to complete a sample writing exercise that we use for comparison upon the completion of the 10 week, 15 week or 20 week course.  I personally believe that if one is truly going to achieve any real progress with your tutor it is critical to have a Beginning and an End to your course.  Remember that before one can set a real goal must include a time interval, be very careful of courses that simply go on and on and on................
I often share with my students the old idiom,
"It is not the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog that wins out".  
No matter how good and well organized your tutor is, whether you study on-line or face to face, you are only going to improve if you work with dedication in the course and outside the course.  
The last question:  How much fight is in your dog? 
See you in class
Steve Keighran

Filed Under: English Tutoring IELTS Exam Preparation English Fluency

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User Type: Tutor  Verified
Name: Stephen
Uploaded Date: Jan 20,2017

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