- specialised for beginners and intermediate learners
- tech-supported and science-based method
- highly flexible schedule
- focus on phonetics, vocabulary and culture
I have developed my method in the past few years, both by personal experience, achieving fluency (CEFR C1 or superior) in 7 languages, and by studying paedagogic theory. I often follow courses on language didactics, (the last one I've started is "e-Learning Ecologies: Innovative Approaches to Teaching and Learning for the Digital Age", by the University of Illinois), and read scientific literature on the subject.
I try to keep up with the latest technologies for language learning and to use a digital-friendly approach, with both younger and more mature clients. In particular, I use the mnemonic technique of spaced repetition to make my students memorise words quickly, which would be unfeasible without the support of two specific apps which I will mention to you during the course.
My method is fairly structured, although it can change depending on the starting level of the Student. I usually split the language learning process into four partially overlapping phases:
1) vocabulary acquisition, spelling and pronunciation improvement.
Unlike most teachers or traditional courses, I do not teach grammar until the 6th/7th lesson if the student has no prior knowledge of the language. In the first 3-6 weeks, depending on the amount of time the student is willing to dedicate, I plan to teach the 1000 most common words and phrases in the language. This is where the spaced repetition technique becomes so important.
Since the first class, I spend a great amount of time on pronunciation. Especially for English speakers learning Italian or Spanish and vice-versa, it can be challenging to achieve proficiency in the language without having someone who can train you to perfect your accent. Moreover, I found that people who develop a more proper pronunciation are generally favoured in understanding the language.
2) reading and listening, a multimedia approach to understanding the language.
When a sufficient level of vocabulary knowledge is being reached, I start suggesting short stories, videos and songs for the student to read and listen to, jotting down new vocabulary and the first syntagms and grammatic doubts that might arise.
The metalinguistic objective of this phase is ensuring that the student develops an interest in the language and the culture associated with it, while starting to interiorise the first grammatical structures.
3) switching to the language of interest. Speaking and writing
When the student has developed a knowledge of basic grammar (first tenses, plurals, concurrence, gender, pronominal flection), generally in the 3rd week, I will first give some oral presentations to prepare, and then will switch to Spanish/ Italian as the predominant language for communication.
At the same time, I will give the student the first informal written tasks, such as writing an opinion on an article, writing a short story or describing an object or a situation. the first writing tasks are mainly aimed at cementing grammar and vocabulary skills in the language.
4) deepening linguistic dexterity
In this phase, which starts when the student can already master reading, writing, listening and speaking skills at an everyday or simplified level, I start teaching specific grammatic topics, trying to deepen the knowledge of the language.
optional 5) preparing for DELE, CELI and CILS exams.
For whom might be interested, these exams can be very useful when applying for a job, internship or university course that requires prior knowledge of the language. I can personally assess the level of linguistic competency of the student and then prepare you for the exam that I find suitable for your level.
The structure of my classes varies significantly according to the level and the predispositions of the learner, but in general tend to be focussed on phonetics and vocabulary for the first period, to start including syntax and oral and written production later on.
I first started teaching Italian and Spanish when I was 14, especially to children of immigrants struggling to settle in the country. This gave me enough experience to start teaching systematically, reaching the number of 31 students since I began. During the pandemic, I offered Italian and Spanish online classes
If giving classes in person, I will charge 0.50 pounds per mile travelled
Perfect! Umberto is an excellent teacher. He is friendly and knowledgeable, and his approach is comprehensive — covering all aspects of the language and employing modern techniques and software to maximise learning efficiency.
We could easily define the amount of time and effort he is willing to put in. He seems highly motivated and interested in the language and I am sure he will achieve great results.
Umberto and I have known each other through another teaching website about a year ago. I was a total beginner and did not have a lot of time to put in every week but little by little I made lots of progress. He's very chill but will give you as many materials as you will need according to your goals, so be ready to work really hard!!
Very recommended!! I contacted Umberto through another online platform some months ago, mostly looking for someone to practice speaking Spanish. He's super friendly and is all crazy about some new methods I've never heard about. His enthusiasm has helped me overcome my anxieties, especially in speaking the language. He was a pal, rather than just a tutor, he even invited me for dinner to try Ecuadorian food once!!
Umberto was my online tutor in Spanish from February to November 2018. I had previously studied Spanish at high school but wasnt ever able to speak it or use it. After just about three months of class, I was confident enough to express myself in Spanish, and in November I passed the DELE C1 exam. he's great at boosting your confidence, and the methods he uses are very time efficient.
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