Debunking 5 scary myths about learning with an online tutor

When I started to teach myself Swedish, I thought that it literally meant I should do everything by myself.


I can make it on my own, I told myself. I studied other languages before, I’m quick at understanding rules. I’ll buy a textbook and go through it by myself – how can going through it with someone else help me?
If I have a doubt, I’ll Google it. Even better, I’ll just ask my Swedish boyfriend to explain it to me.

The point I missed, here, was subtle. Oh, I did learn a lot of things by myself… but I didn’t know it. It took a teacher who told me I was better than I thought to give me some self-confidence.

My insecurities and my perfectionism have often hindered my learning process.


And of course, if you have a native speaker for a partner you get more chances to practice. Unless they’re a teacher, though, they might not be the best person to clarify confusing grammar or the nuances of a word.


When it comes to online language learning, there are still fears and myths that may stop you from trying.
Sure, it’s getting common, but it’s still relatively recent and it encounters some resistance.

After all, every revolution met obstacles on its way.


As I said, before trying it for myself and realising how magical it is, I had lots of doubts, too.

So, I understand if you think this is not for you.

Sometimes it’s about the money, sometimes we’re too proud to ask for help. Often, we’re just scared to try and accomplish our goals for real. Because what if we try as hard as we can, and then we fail?

Have you been wondering “Is getting an online tutor right for me?” and always postponed your decision?
Then let’s look into some common fears about online language learning and let’s see why there isn’t much to be feared.

myths online tutor


Can’t I learn on my own?

Of course, you can. A consistent and balanced study routine will definitely make you progress.

There are also times when you feel stuck, or you need to work towards a deadline. Sometimes you want to find your weak spots and work on them, and it can be tricky to identify them on your own.
These are some of the situations when a tutor can make a difference.


The best tutors don’t “teach” you, they make you better at learning on your own.

They add some grammar-nerdy explanations you won’t find in your textbook or a witty tip to remember a tricky rule. They recommend you a resource that fits your learning style and they introduce some new vocabulary while chatting about your favourite hobby.

When you learn with a teacher, you still do most of the work by yourself and you’ll have a compass to guide you through your learning journey.


Doesn’t online learning lack human contact?

Well yes… and no.

You won’t meet your teacher in person. You won’t have to leave the house or to have someone visit you. If you ask an introvert, this is pure bliss.


Instead, you’ll meet virtually while you’re in the safe environment of your house, with the protection of a screen between you. This is one of the things that make online learning particularly comfortable for shy and anxious students.

And while feeling more comfortable, you’ll likely open more and be yourself without making an effort. Often, connecting to others through a screen reduces the distance between people and helps them bond faster.


You get the best of both worlds.


I’m not good with computers and technology.

Don’t worry, online language learning doesn’t mean big technological fireworks and fancy complicated software. Most of the time, all you need is Skype or a similar video chat.

Google Drive is another common resource for online lessons. If you ask me, it’s such a brilliant and useful one, you should be using it for your language learning already!


Whatever tool your teacher uses for the lessons, they’ll make sure you are comfortable with it. Online teachers are used to showing students how to use their resources, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.


Will I make progress?

At least 90% of this depends on you.

The biggest myth to debunk is that you learn the language during your 1:1 sessions.

The bad news is, you’ll almost surely fail your goals if you plan on studying only one hour a week during the lesson.

The good news is you’ll learn lots if you complete your assignments and study a bit every day.

You can ask your teacher for advice on how to create a study plan and then stick to it.

To progress faster, try doing extra homework. For example, you can expand on the exercises you got from your teacher or study a couple more pages on your own.

If you don’t want to dedicate time to your assignments in between lessons, but only want to speak during the 1:1 time, then consider looking for a conversation partner instead of a teacher.


Why should I pay for it?

Money is the most common objection to online learning. The internet has taught us that we can get most stuff for free, one way or another. Then, why should you pay?

Well, maybe you shouldn’t.

When you really want something, then you’re ready to spend money on it. It might be a trip abroad, a Netflix subscription, a yoga course – anything you love and makes you feel good.

Language learning isn’t different. When getting past a study obstacle, daring to open your mouth, or passing a written test will become a priority, then you’ll feel like it’s worth the investment.

Until that time, keep staying consistent in your daily practice and enjoying language learning on your own.


Are you curious to try, but worried that it might not be for you?

I understand you! At first, the thought of buying an expensive package of lessons was terrifying.

This is why I created the Learn to Learn taster: the essence of my online learning program into a 1-week appetizer.

The taster includes:

  • 1x 15-minute warm-up session to discuss one struggle you have when you learn;
  • 1 assignment with writing and speaking prompts + vocabulary list;
  • 1x 50-minute strengthening session to put into practice what you learnt by yourself and answer questions and doubts;
  • 10% discount on the purchase of one of my programs.

Your investment to find out if online learning is for you is 30€.


Who is it for?

The Taster is for beginner learners of Japanese and beginner to upper-intermediate learners of Italian.


You can apply by filling this questionnaire. Any questions? Contact me and let’s chat.


What is your number 1 reason why you aren’t sure about online learning? What is stopping you from trying it?


I’m Elena Gabrielli, introvert, grammar geek & proud Ravenclaw :)
I’m on a journey to help introverts and other quiet learners make language learning into a tool for self-care (and keep anxiety out of it).