Live Lessons - What to Expect

(auf Deutsch)
(en español)

These sessions should be thought of as an experience somewhere between a language exchange and a tutorial. The tutors you are connecting with are all native speakers, have been trained by Chatterbug, and are there to help you practice conversation in your target language.

Our system will build a lesson containing a number of exercises at your level (related to the self-study materials for the unit you’re studying) for you to practice with a tutor. Try to relax and have fun - it’s not a test, you’re simply practicing! Your tutor knows that and is there to help you out.

How to Connect

If you have a scheduled lesson coming up, you will see a link on your dashboard telling you when it is scheduled. Ten minutes before the lesson begins, you will receive a reminder email the includes a link to the lesson (if your email notifications are on). Five minutes before the start of the lesson, you can join the session by clicking on Join Lesson.

The Waiting Room

Once you have joined the session, we will make sure your mic and camera work properly and that you can be easily seen. You will see what your camera is sending and will need to make some noise to verify that your microphone works before being able to enter the classroom.

We strongly advise using Google Chrome on a desktop or laptop computer. Other browsers and especially older versions of Safari don’t support WebRTC, meaning you will only be able to do an audio lesson without video, and mobile devices like iPads, iPhones, or Android are not supported.

Once both sides have clicked the “Ready! Start the Live Lesson” button, you will both enter the classroom. Until then, you can send text messages in the chat window to your partner. For example, “Sorry, my camera isn’t working, just a minute”.

The Classroom

Initially, while both sides video/audio streams connect and you get settled, you will see a welcome screen. This is to give you a minute to introduce yourself and ask the other person how they are and what their name is if you are comfortable doing that.

If you don’t know how to say or ask those things, there’s a cheat sheet to help you. At any time, you can use the chat window under the video to clarify things or ask questions. The transcript of this room will be available to you after the lesson as well, if you want to use it to take notes.

Once you’re ready to start the lesson, you can hit the Start First Exercise button to begin your first exercise.

The Lesson

Now you will work through a series of short, fun exercises, each of which is intended to help you practice some specific vocabulary, grammar theme or real-world scenario in your target language.

The instructions are generally pretty simple, but if it’s not clear what you’re supposed to do, feel free to either move on or just ask the tutor what to do.

The timeline of the session is always displayed at the top of the screen so you can see how much more time you have. At any point you can skip to the next exercise by hitting the Next Exercise button.

When you move to the next exercise, the system will ask you how you felt about the exercise you just completed.

This is used to determine when we should have you try this exercise again. The better you feel about it, generally, the longer it will be until you see it again. If you don’t feel like you know the material very well, we’ll show it to you again more often until you master it.

If you don’t think it worked at all - you didn’t know what to do at all or you don’t want to do it ever again, you can hit the left-most frowny-face and we’ll blacklist the exercise so you never get it again.

The End of the Lesson

Once you get near the end of the lesson time, the system will warn you both that you’re running out of time. When five minutes are left, you will see a warning at the top of the screen.

60 seconds after you first see this warning, you won’t be able to switch to another exercise. So, if you want to stay on the one you’re doing for five more minutes, that’s fine. If you want to do one more, switch within a minute of seeing this initial warning.

After you hit Next Exercise on the last exercise, you’ll see the “Goodbye” screen which lets you say goodbye to your partner.

You can hit Finish this Session at any point, but one minute after the scheduled end of the lesson, the system will cut you off. The warning will turn red before that happens.

Final Evaluation

Finally, you will have a chance to rate your partner. The most important rating is if you would like to work with them again or not. After that, we care the most about if they were friendly and encouraging, if you could hear and see them well, and how much you enjoyed the session overall.

Your rating is only seen by the Chatterbug support team and not accessible to your tutor directly. The only way a tutor may know about their ratings is if several students thumb them down over a period of time, in which case our Tutor Community Manager will reach out to them and highlight areas of improvement. Your comments are also entirely anonymized in this case and communicated to the tutor in their monthly performance review.

Your tutor will have the exact same form for you when the session is over, to know if everything went well during your lesson.

Final Things to Remember

Learning a language requires time and patience. Nobody is immediately great at it and you need to practice over and over again before it comes naturally - much like playing a musical instrument or driving a car. Try to relax, have fun, and not take it too seriously or be hard on yourself. Laugh at your mistakes, stay positive, and you’ll find you do a little better each time.

Also, your partner isn’t your teacher, Chatterbug is. Your partner is there to help you practice. If you’re in any doubt, just skip to the next exercise and write in to support later with any unanswered questions. Our team of behind-the-scenes language experts will be happy to help!

Finally, remember that this is a good place to make mistakes. It’s much easier to be wrong here where it doesn’t matter than when you’re trying to talk to an actual native speaker in the real world, so don’t be afraid to try new things and get corrected. There’s no need to be embarrassed, this is the place to stretch those muscles and miss those shots.

Have fun, and let us know how we can make the experience more fun, helpful, welcoming or interesting.

Good luck!