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Trial lesson: what to expect how to get maximum results without wasting a lot of time. Tips from an experienced online-school manager.

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You have finally decided to learn English via Skype, but have you found your perfect teacher  or are you still in the process of choosing?

Do not worry. After filling in the application on the site, you will be offered to have a free trial lesson before you commit to learning.

There are a few questions people often ask themselves when they start studying online for the first time:

- What should I expect from a trial lesson?

- Why do I even need it? What if it’s just a waste of time?

- Will the lesson be useful if it’s free?

- Should I prepare for my trial lesson?

- How is a trial lesson designed and who conducts it?


Here we will try to answer these and some other questions, tell you about the structure of the lesson and give you some tips on how to make your trial lesson useful for you. In Skype-language trial lessons are always given either by a teacher of your choice or one recommended by a manger.

First of all, it’s necessary to specify who conducts a trial lesson in a school you have chosen: your possible teacher or a manager.


How is the lesson structured?

Most of the teachers stick to the following plan:


- It’s a little introduction where a teacher gets to know a student. We will normally ask the student to tell a little bit about themselves (a few sentences are enough). The language of the lesson depends on a student’s level. It can be in a language a student intends to study or with some help of their native language.

It’s possible for an introduction to be the main part of the lesson if it’s play-based. For example, with different pictures and mini texts from the teacher.


2) demo part of the lesson

- Types of tasks here may vary

The most popular ones are:

- questions for a conversation;

- reading of a short extract with further discussion;

- grammar exercises in an interactive way;

- short audios and video clips.


3)  Reconciliation of objectives for your future lessons

It’s a good idea to share your goals with a teacher. Tell them when and where you use the language now, what results and how soon you expect to achieve them.  Don’t forget to mention what aspect(s) you would like to focus on. This information will help a teacher to design a course just for you.  

At this stage of the lesson you discuss your future schedule, frequency of lessons, educational materials, etc.


4) feedback and answering questions

At the end of the lesson, a teacher will analyse your mistakes and give you further recommendations on language learning. You can ask all the question regarding future classes.


How is a trial lesson different from a regular lesson?

Firstly, it’s the length (30 minutes). Every minute counts, so it’s important both for a teacher and a student to be punctual.

Secondly, the goal of a trial lessons is to test your language level, and introduce you to a teacher, therefore new grammar rules aren’t normally on the agenda. Nevertheless, during the conversation some new words and constructions might come up and you are likely to learn something new.


Unfortunately, there are always some situations we can’t predict, such as getting sick, staying late at work or any other emergency. In this case, please, inform your manager. If something has happened to your teacher you will be immediately contacted, and a lesson will be rescheduled.


How to get the most from a free trial lesson?

There is no need to revise anything you studied in the past. Nevertheless, there is still something to prepare to have a productive lesson.

Here are some tips:

- take care of the technical aspect in advance: check the quality of your internet connection, and make sure your headset works fine. You will get a better sound with headphones than with speakers, no noises or echo will distract you. But you don’t have to use them if your internet connection is good enought .


- Make sure to install MS Office on your PC or laptop (if a teacher has sent you some files, try opening them. In case of any problems, inform the teacher). Usually files for a trial lesson will be sent in *.doc, *.docx, *.pdf, *.txt formats.

But if something has gone wrong with installing MS Office, don’t worry! A teacher can share their screen, so you will be able to se whatever they have on their screen


- Coordinate the time of your lesson. Good timing, no hurrying and punctuality are the key to success. It’s even better if you can allocate 10 minutes before and after the lesson.


- take an online-test before the lesson to assess your language level now. Think about your goals and objectives beforehand, write down the questions you would like to ask.  (for example, questions about course duration, educational materials, approaching to teaching, home tasks and schedule).  

- ask your dog not to bark, children not to cry and put your phone onto silent mode.

But seriously, environment is an important factor which can affect effectiveness of a trial lesson Try to organise things the way which will allow you to be focused in the lesson,


- Come to your lessons in a good mood!


Sign up for a trial lesson at right now and get the most from your lesson using our tips!

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