Reasons to reduce Tutor Talking Time

Hi everyone,

TTT stands for Tutor Talking Time. It is the time that you spend talking during a Live Lesson, rather than the student. Known as “Teacher Talking Time” it’s a common concept in classrooms all over the world. One key element of many modern approaches is to reduce the amount of TTT as much as possible, to allow learners opportunities to speak, and learn from speaking. After all, you already speak your native language most effectively so it’s not you that needs to practice.

Talking is the one thing they can’t do outside class. They can listen on their own, they can read and even write on their own, but they run a serious risk if they talk on their own. This is just one reason to make sure you limit the time you spend talking and maximize the time your student(s) spends talking.

Have a look at our infographic to learn more about why you should try to reduce TTT:

We can’t tell you the exact percentage of TTT there should be in a lesson. That’s something you have to judge, depending on each student’s level and needs. Obviously, the goal is not for you to go completely silent, and students definitely enjoy a good anecdote or some cultural background information. But, in general, you should always try to remind yourself to maximize the Student Talking Time and minimise TTT.

Strategies for reducing TTT include:

  • Use body language. Try to use more mimes, gestures and facial expressions, instead of interrupting the student while they are speaking. Like this, you give the student the chance to correct themselves, too.
  • Write in the chatbox. To visualize a word that is new, or maybe was hard to understand or pronounce can help a great deal. Not only hearing but seeing it, too, will help the word stick in their memory. And, the student can access everything you wrote down after the Live Lesson to review these words and sentences, that were particularly hard from them.
  • Let the student read out their instructions. This makes you avoid over-explaining as the instructions are written in an easy, understandable language, fitting the student’s level. It also gives you a chance to scan over your instructions quickly where you often find tips on how to support the student best.
  • Questioning and natural conversation. Every question you ask during a Live Lesson demands a student’s response. Questions don’t need to be language-related and can be part of a natural conversation, too. Frequent questioning holds your student’s attention and increases learner involvement in the Live Lesson.
  • Tolerate silence. In particular, inexperienced tutors tend to fill silences by unnecessary talking. Silence is important and provides processing time between instructions, during explanations or while waiting for a student to respond. Providing clues too soon, and rephrasing the question several times, are often counterproductive when the student merely needs time to answer.

I’m happy to hear about your experience with Tutor Talking Time. Was this something you were aware of and that you actively try to reduce?


Thanks for this necessary and appropriate counsel!
Even for experienced tutors it’s at times difficult to keep the right balance between explaining enough and not talking too much.
We keep on working on it!
Thanks again and… (this post ends because I’m already overtime in my Tutor Posting Time ;-))


I fully agree. One of the students pointed out that she was annoyed with introducing herself over and over to new tutors. Therefore, it would also be great, if there would be a short student introduction in the student profile, for the tutor to read before the session starts, for example, “Michael lives in Berlin, his mother tongue is Spanish and he comes from Malaga in Spain.” The student should see exactly the same, concerning the tutors whereabouts. Then they can decide if they would like to go straight into the lesson after a short “hello” or engage in more small talk. Just a thought :slight_smile:


Hi @Dagmar thanks for this feedback! The Community Forum and the tutor profiles were the first steps towards this direction and we have in fact been discussing student profiles, too.

I think, for the introduction, there are two sides to it: A fairly new user might welcome the chance to introduce him/herself over and over again, to practice and to lose the fear of meeting new people in their Learning Language. But I totally understand that after a while, once you got past that point, it can become annoying.

We’ll definitely continue to think about if and how we could best implement student profiles. :+1:


I really agree, that the tutor talking time should be less than the student talking time, but sometimes the student doesn´t understand the instructions or some grammar matter, so the tutor has to explain a little bit more, and sometimes a student asks for more examples to use a new word. I think it depends on each case