Why I’m hooked on Lingoda
What if I told you that you never had to leave the warm comforts of your home to transport yourself into another world? You could learn the French culture and language from a local named Josephine, all while lying around in your pajamas, looking like a slob. Without your camera turned on, you can feel the freedom of learning a second language without the intensity of being seen. You can take notes, make faces, pick your nose- and nobody has any idea. Intrigued? Let’s explore
After just four online classes, I’m completely hooked. As an avid Spanish student for many years and a language teacher myself, I can be slightly critical when it comes to teaching. That’s why I was a bit hesitant to start classes on Lingoda.
Lingoda is a big company that teaches French, Spanish, English, and German online.
In the past, I’ve taught children online for a large Chinese company. The work was pretty stressful in the fact that you didn’t have any break between classes, which made peeing within a 3-hour window impossible. I enjoyed the work but felt uncomfortable with the rigidity.
This is where Lingoda is different. Instead of teaching between 6-9pm Beijing time, Lingoda offers classes at all times of the day. This is perfect for nomads like me. Constantly changing time zones makes sticking to a specific schedule impossible. Lingoda allows me to take a class at 8am or even 3am- it’s up to me.
Another important thing I liked was that, when you sign up for a class, you can see who’s teaching it. I’ve liked all my teachers except one so far; so now when I see his dull face, I can run like the wind.
You may be wondering how they know which level to place you in. This is actually up to you. I chose A1 for French, and I’ve been taking most of the classes that fall in the later chapters of the A1 since I know the basics already. The classes I’ve already taken have a satisfying green check mark next to them.
Lingoda operates under the Common European Framework of References for Languages (aka CEFR). In this scale, a total beginner has an A1 level, but within this level, there are also sublevels (up to A1.2 at Lingoda). The most advanced level is C2- when you reach this, you’re basically native. If you’re not sure which level you should be, you can take a quick online assessment here. To read more about what language skills you’ve attained at each level, click here.
If you’re a total, total, total, (did I say total?) beginner, then I recommend starting off with the very first chapter of A1. If you know a few words, then starting in any chapter of A1 will be fine. Keep in mind that if you’re signing up for a specific class, like the first class named “Hello“, then you’ll have to wait for that class time. You’ll gain more freedom and flexibility of scheduling once you progress up the language learning ladder.
So now that you’ve established your level, it’s time to book a class! Signing up for a class is super simple. You’ll see a page like the one below. All you have to do is choose an ideal time and click “book class”.
Two Pro Tips:
1. Notice that you can toggle between multiple class events when there are two or more classes available at a certain time. You can also see how many seats are available in the bottom right corner. There’s a max of 5 students per class.
2. You can download the material you’ll cover in class beforehand so you can see if the class is too easy or too hard. After looking at the course material in chapter 1, I can see that it’s too easy, so I won’t take those classes.
So what’s the best part?
Language learning goes at your own speed.
I can book three classes a day or one a week. If half of A1 suits my level, I can take all those classes and then I can change my level to A2 without fulfilling the rest of the classes that were too easy. This feature is a godsend because it allows you to challenge yourself and not get bored.
What’s covered in class?
In each class, you’ll have a powerpoint with text and activities that will challenge you in one of the areas Lingoda terms as: “skills, vocabulary, speaking, reading, grammar, or writing”. The teacher will have you practice different things depending on which skill you are targeting. For example, in the writing course, you might write private answers to the teacher in the chat box and go over them orally as a group.
What are the cons?
1. If the teacher isn’t very experienced or if they are just boring as hell, like Mr. Dull Face I mentioned earlier, then you’ll occasionally find yourself unstimulated by the materials. They may just have you read what the slides say, which gets old by minute 45.
2. There are only 5 people per class, but the estimated time you speak per lesson is only 12 minutes. If you do one class a day for seven days, and somehow miraculously maintain this schedule for an entire year without fail, then you will only have 72.8 hours of speaking practice PER YEAR. Not ideal. The important thing to remember about any language class is that most learning is done outside of class.
It wasn’t until I became obsessed with Shakira and Spain and started watching tons of videos in Spanish that I became a strong Spanish student. Lingoda is your jumping off point. It gives you vocabulary, some speaking practice, and consistent input. But if you really want to dominate a language, it takes effort during your personal time. For example, in order to excel, I’ll listen to videos in French, read French texts, practice speaking to myself in the shower, and surround myself with the language when possible. It’s not easy, but if it were, everyone would do it, right? Actually, almost everyone in the world speaks another language (just not in the US. Jokes on us!). Anyway—– it’s important to view Lingoda for what it is. →
Lingoda is a language learning tool. It is not the be-all and end-all of language learning. It’s not going to suddenly catapult you into speaking like a native. That is up to you and the long hours you put in outside of the classroom. When you use Lingoda in this way, you’ll find it extremely effective and helpful.
Want to get started?
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Good luck on your language learning journey. 🙂 If you have any questions, feel free to pop them below.