Native Camp is a popular online English conversation service that offers unlimited lessons 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As a heavy user of Native Camp, I was so fascinated by the variety of teachers that I took 1,000 lessons in 9 months, even though I am an ordinary office worker. On average, I take three to four lessons a day, and at 26 minutes per lesson, that’s 430 hours of English-only conversation.
After 1,000 lessons, there is no reason why I can’t improve, and the difference from where I was 9 months ago is obvious: I am more confident in my professional conversations. I have also learned to fill in the gaps in my conversations because I have developed a habit of using English phrases and expressions that are useful.
The reason I could take 1,000 lessons is because it’s just fun! I am very happy with the quality of the service. As you take lessons, you build a relationship with your instructor and gradually create an environment where you can take lessons comfortably. A major factor in this process is undeniably the personality of the instructor. The point of this article is that I wrote “personality,” not the “skill” of the instructor.
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In this article, I will indicate the characteristics of popular tutors that I have noticed after taking 1000 lessons at Native Camp. Naturally, popular tutors receive many reservations, so it becomes more and more difficult to take their lessons. I will share my personal experience with you and give my opinion on what makes them different.
※I have not taken any Callan lessons, so my discussion of Callan is not reflected in this article.
※And the internet connection environment and ambient noise is a big factor too! However, we will not deal with these items in this article.
Let’s get started!
General student psychology
What each student wants from a lesson varies, and I am no exception. I generally find that the ideal situation is for the lesson to end with “Oh, that was fun!” Instructors who have an easy-going atmosphere are very popular. I think that those with a strong spirit (students) who prefer a strict and skilled instructor are probably in the minority.
What this ease of attendance reveals is that the skills of the instructors will probably be divided into two main categories.
- Skills for teaching English
- Personality (character)
1. is a given. If they are fluent in English and have good teaching skills, they will be popular.
However, as a matter of experience, there are instructors who are very popular even if their English teaching skills are moderate. That is the personality of 2. It is what is called “a teacher you want to see again”. In other words, a teacher who can adapt to Japanese people’s personalities.
In the following sections, I will examine the characteristics of popular instructors, focusing on those other than their English teaching skills.
5 characteristics of popular instructors
Smile a lot
Popular instructors are always laughing in their lessons. The teacher’s smile helps especially when students are tense and stiff. Popular teachers put students at ease with their exquisite smiles and reactions.
There are instructors who smile a little too much when a student makes a joke, and this doesn’t make me feel bad at all. The more they laugh, the more motivation they have for conversation, which greatly improves the impression of the instructor. Of course, we talk not only about fun topics, but also about serious or sad content, but good reactions are very important.
I think this is a common practice at Native Camp, but if a teacher who is new to the course is blunt when introducing himself or herself, you may want to run away from the course at that point (laughs).
I would like to see a teacher with a nice smile again.
Teachers who like Japan
The second characteristic of a popular instructor is “high interest in Japan”. As a student, just knowing that a tutor is interested in your country can help you relax. The topics include culture, region, and the character of the Japanese people.
Teachers who are studying Japanese are especially popular. This is probably because they are interested in the Japanese language, but also because they can empathize with students who are studying the language. It is also fun to be able to teach Japanese to them during the lesson.
In terms of interest in Japan, I have had the following experience with a teacher.
- Teacher takes a deep look at the differences between the personalities of Kanto and Kansai people.
- Teacher speaks passionately about why he loves the Okinawan dialect
- Teacher stresses the advantages of Japanese hybrid cars
What do you think? I am very happy. I bow down to foreign instructors who delve into deep topics that even Japanese don’t know about, and I have a great good feeling about them.
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Teachers who can speak their mind
Good listening and speaking skills play an important role in conversational skills, and instructors who can express their opinions clearly are very popular. This is because it makes the conversation more lively and at the same time, it is good listening practice. It also increases your vocabulary. As the instructor expresses his/her opinion, if there is a word I am interested in, I say, “You used the word ●●●. I am not familiar with it. What does it mean?” This is to improve my vocabulary.
There are instructors who immediately resort to “How about you?” without expressing their own opinions, and to be honest, they are not interesting at all. I find that tutors who are willing to share their opinions on any topic are very popular. That’s how knowledgeable and experienced they are.
A good listener
The attitude of listening to what you have to say is totally different from one instructor to another. Teachers who listen to students seriously and react seriously are very popular. They are also happy to correct your English if necessary.
I feel that many foreign teachers are not able to do what Japanese people take for granted. Even when students have something they want to say, they are unable to express it well in English. Some tutors are not patient here. Some tutors are distracting their attention to their surroundings, or in the worst case, they are playing with their cell phones.
This is where the instructor has to do his/her best. Naturally, instructors who give you the reassurance that they are listening to you will be the most popular.
Skilled chat-box user
A particularly helpful feature of Native Camp for students who have difficulty with listening is the chat box. If you can type in a word you don’t understand or a web link you find useful during the lesson, it makes it much easier to understand what you are talking about.
For me personally, the chat box is not that important, but when I have taken lessons with popular tutors, I have found that they are very good at using the chat box. If you are a smart teacher, you can quickly type in a word when you see a student’s head tilting.
It is important for students to ask questions to the teacher in terms of English conversation skills, so if you want to be strict, you can just ask what you don’t understand, but I feel that teachers who are smart enough to anticipate such questions are very popular.
In this issue, I have discussed the characteristics of popular teachers of online English conversation Native Camp from my experience. What I found was that Japanese people may prefer so-called hospitality lessons in addition to the skill of teaching English itself. The elements of a popular instructor, in summary, were considered as follows.
- Smile a lot
- Teachers who like Japan
- Teachers who can speak their mind
- A good listener
- Skilled chat-box user
How do you feel about this?
I am grateful to have found so many good teachers. I think I can still keep going.
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