Want to get a tutor for Japanese, but is it recommended?

So I am trying to get a tutoring teacher for Japanese but it is the first time I am going to get tutored on a language subject, but I am still somewhat hesitating if whether private tutoring benefits me or not?
Dear the people that has/had Japanese tutoring, is it worth it/recommended?
Or is it recommended to get a tutor when I am on intermediate level of learning Japanese?
Currently I think I got a pretty good routine at the moment.

For Grammar: I use GENKI textbook & workbook + Tae Kim
For Vocabulary and Kanji: I use Wanikani only currently
I watch various anime/YouTube channels that interview Japanese people for listening.

Thank you for reading my long paragraph :slight_smile:

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Never had one. Also first

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Many people here are mostly interested in reading, but if you want to learn to speak and listen, I believe there is almost no substitute to conversation (tutoring) with a native Japanese speaker, at any level beginner or advanced.

Go for it!

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Well, to be fair, you don’t need a tutor (someone who you hire to spend time explicitly to help you learn) to converse with natives. You could meet people with similar interests and talk, or you could do a language exchange (some time in Japanese, some time in your native language) if you are unable to get in contact with people in other ways.

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I’ve never been tutored. But I agree with @Leebo that the main benefit of a tutor seems to be training conversation skills, since you can’t really practice that any other way. But, there are alternatives for free, if you look for them.

Where I live you can go to language cafés, arranged meetings at a certain time and place (like a public library that often host these things), and sit down and talk to strangers in the specified language. That’s conversation training completely for free!

Now, obviously, the quality compared to personal tutoring is something to consider. But, you might still wanna start out with alternatives to tutoring if you’re conscious about costs. First you wanna get into the habit of speaking Japanese at all! You might make better use of a tutor after you’ve become more comfortable with speaking Japanese.

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True. I include the language exchange stuff under the umbrella of “tutor” which may or may not be correct. My “tutor” is a friend I met in 京都. We talk in Japanese, we talk in English, we both get paid for our tutoring services by being tutored. :slight_smile:

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You don’t need to pay to get a tutor indeed :slight_smile: I use two different language exchange apps on my phone which allow you to correct each other’s sentences, send vocal messages and do video calls. You have to be straight forward when asking people to do video calls with you, but they’ll surprisingly often be on board. (I often ask them for 15mn in my target language and 15mn in their for the exchange to be long enough, and not awkward if there isn’t much to talk about, and if we’re getting along we schedule those video meetings once a week!)

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Welcome to the community, @Lumeka! Hope to see you around!

Sounds like HelloTalk.

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It depends on what your goal is I guess but speaking is a muscle, if you never use it then it’ll never grow. How much it grows depends on the type of exercises you do… but there are other problems from my experience.

  1. I’ve gone to language exchanges and stuff and generally, they tend to stick to either one language or the other depending on what way the ability of the group swings. If you want to learn Japanese and the chat is 90% in Japanese then it’s great but if it swings towards whatever your native language is… then you’re not going to learn much. Finding one with a better split than 90%/10% is hard from my experience(s), many experiences, lol.

  2. Another problem with language exchanges, the level of the conversation may be waaaaaay above your ability level so you won’t learn much because 95% of it will fly over your head. Most people don’t seem to be able to ‘level’ their language to an appropriate level and so they’ll be breaking out the big guns and confusing you on a regular basis.

  3. The same thing applies when it comes to explaining things, if you’re like me… you never thought about how to explain things in English until someone asked and then well… I just stood there drawing blanks for a while at first. It takes some energy and contemplation to come up with a simple, concise explanation (pitched at the appropriate level - it should be challenging but not steamrolling, lol) that can be easily understood.

  4. Japanese people are generally really shy and will ignore your weird Japanese so you’ll generally just keep saying something slightly strange forever, a tutor at least will generally correct any weird things you say/sentence patterns.

That’s just my 100yen on the matter, I treat language exchanges like a social really, I don’t expect anything from them, I’ll have a few beers, have a few conversations but yeah, it’s not really serious, serious learning for me, it’s more like ‘time to put what I’ve already learnt with my tutor into practice now’.

So yeah, I’d say get a tutor, one who knows how to pitch Japanese at your level and then gradually ramps up the difficulty, one who tests you but doesn’t make it impossible. (I’ve tried a lot of tutors as well… omg, lol)

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Can I please get a bump and what do other users think please?

Personally I think tutors are great.

I don’t like exchange partners because then I have to divide half the time to English and I’m selfish and want to do all in Japanese.
Same with class settings, I don’t like having to adjust to other learners’ pace.
I prefer learning with/working with Japanese people who know what they’re doing and how to help me learnt he language better.
Talking with native speakers is the best way to improve your listening and speaking skills, imho.
You can usually tailor the tutor to your personal goal and they will work with you.
You can do it online and work it into your schedule.
You can easily change a tutor online and find a new one until you find one that vibes with you (I primarily use Italki and have for many years).

And since I’m paying money I find I’m more motivated to continue studying.

I would say if you have the extra funds, 100% go for it. You can also stop later on.
My biggest issue was finding a teacher I vibed with and also felt like they were teaching in the style I learned best. Good luck!

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From personal experience I would recommend a tutor/teacher. I have an hour lesson once a week on italki and it has helped me tremendously in my speaking and listening comprehension. I also have a friend studying Japanese as well and she does conversation practice with a teacher/tutor and loves her progress. We are generally both self learners who go through the minna no nihongo textbooks and then use wanikani for kanji learning. I tried the apps but the lack of structure on them and my general shyness towards meeting multiple people hindered my experience on there, but if you are outgoing one of the language exchange apps may be great for you as an alternative to the tutor! Good luck on whatever you choose to do!

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Like others have said, it really depends on what your goals are, and also how quickly you would like to progress. There’s no one-size-fits-all model for language learning. I’ve never been tutored in Japanese, but I do tutor Japanese part-time so my perspective is from the other side. If you tell us more concrete information about your Japanese learning goals, motivation, timeline, financial considerations, etc, it may be easier to advise you. So I can’t tell how much you personally need a tutor, but I can say a couple general things:

  • There is a benefit to having a tutor who has been trained in pedagogy versus someone who is looking to do a casual language exchange, as others have mentioned.

  • Much like learning anything, having immediate feedback and guidance helps speed up the process of learning, especially if you are very consistent with it - it gives you motivation, accountability, and works to prevent the formation of bad habits and misunderstandings.

  • Tutors can vary considerably from one to another, so it may take some time to find one that you feel you jive with, but they are often flexible and can mould their teaching to your needs. For example, I’ve done reading comprehension sessions focused on having the student read aloud to the best of their ability, providing support whenever they get stuck or make an error, and at the end of every sentence or two we talk through the meaning of what was just read.

Hope this helps, let us know if we can help with anything else!

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Getting yourself a tutor is the best thing you can do for yourself.

I had a tutor just for an hour a week when I was still Genki 1 basic level. I thought my head was gonna explode. I felt really shy and awkward. And in the long run, it made my Japanese speaking really natural.

I later tutored English in Japan, and let me tell you, the type of people that actually put themselves in those strenuous situations are always really good at English eventually. Really big difference between those English learners I’ve met and the people I’ve met who study a ton but don’t do the hard part.

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There is sooo much nuance in Japanese, that I’ve concluded that native tutors are absolutely necessary. Correctly implementing the grammar and vocab we spend so much time self-studying is ridiculously difficult, and requires guidance.

Thank you for everyone’s answer. But, may I ask, @jyojia-san what happens if I get a tutor and also get a language partner would that help also if I wanna go to Japan in the future and have a few friends to hang out with when I go tour Japan next year?

Thank you for posting this, as I have exactly the same question and a similar situation! Are you a beginner in Japanese, and how are your speaking abilities? I’m sorry I don’t have any advice to give, as I’ve never had a tutor either. But I’ll be keeping an eye on this thread :slightly_smiling_face:

If you have the money, I would definitely vouch for getting a tutor. I personally use italki. I’ve done language exchanges but usually they are more trouble than they are worth in my opinion. Try out some different teachers and see who brings the best of your Japanese out. Some tutors are really good at assessing your abilities and catering lessons to your ability level

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I would say yes. If you want to learn to speak, you must speak. I was doing classes, but you had to go at their pace. I started doing tutoring, twice a week with “Genki” in Japan. https://www.genkijacs.com/

The teachers are good, and they find the places you’re weak. They are also very nice, and help you. The cost of having private tutoring twice a week is MUCH cheaper then taking the class at my local college!! They also included the price of Wanikani while I was a student.

I am definitely progressing much faster with my tutoring and Wanikani!! I have just learned languages to read and write, and I am determined to SPEAK JAPANESE.

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