Calling all future Squarko tutors!

Please watch this training video outlining common mistakes made when teaching online, Squarko techniques to avoid these errors and ways to constantly improve as a tutor.

Interested in becoming a Squarko tutor? Then watch this video!


Have a look at this guide to getting started. If you’ve got any questions get in touch with the team by email (info@squarko.com) or skype (jossie.examfox)

1)    What is Squarko?

Squarko is an upcoming and innovative company with a difference! We provide one-on-one and group language tuition lessons via the internet. Through a web-cam, headset/speakers and a microphone tutor and student can be anywhere in the world and still talk as if they were in the same room.

2)    What do I need to do to start teaching?

Complete a full profile (see question below) and click on send for approval. The Squarko team will then view your profile and get in touch about getting your profile live.

3)    How do I complete my profile?

Your profile is important!! This is the impression you will make to first time students. Think good profile = more students! Here are some videos to show you how:

a)   Editing your profile

b)    Setting availability

c)     Upload or record a video

d)    Lots of great advice about recording a successful video from here, here and here

e)    5 tips for a successful profile (pdf) and 8 Top tips to get the BEST video profile pdf(pdf)

4)   Can I change my video/profile later?

Yes you will be able to change details including your videos, lessons fee and profile picture at any time.

5) What is the online classroom?

An online classroom connects you and your student. Using webcams and headsets you can teach wherever you are based. You can share documents, pictures and videos as if you were in the same room. Have a look at our video of a class in action.

6)    How do I upload a lesson or a course?

Ideally lessons and courses should be on PowerPoint or a PDF. You will be able to load these up as a file into the lesson

(video example coming soon).

To work out how to prepare a high quality of lesson please see the questions below.

7)    Should I offer a free lesson?

It’s up to you; tutors will usually offer a free lesson as it is a great way to meet new students. Typically a free lesson is about 30-60 minutes long

8)    What happens when a student books a lesson?

When a student books in for a lesson you’ll receive an email notification of the time they have selected. When it’s time for your lesson log in to Squarko and click on the lesson booking, you can access the classroom 30m before the lesson is due to start so that you have plenty of time to prepare any materials you need for your class (video coming soon)

9)    How do I use the classroom?

Basic use (video coming soon), Other classroom functions (video coming soon)

10) What to do when starting your class

Starting a class(video coming soon)

11) How do I get paid?

In order to teach on Squarko your need to have a Paypal or Moneybookers account, Squarko collects payments from students and once a month remits the funds net of 19% commission to your Paypal/Moneybookers account. Just put the email address associated with your Paypal or Moneybookers account into your profile under the payment section.

12) How do I prepare for a class?

We have divided this up into different areas of how to get the right teaching style, what are the commonly made mistakes, the important ingredients of every lesson, lesson content, how to ensure a high quality lesson and how to use other lessons.  Also please see a video example of how a lesson might look

13) What is the right teaching methodology?

Every tutor should teach to suit their own style however there are four key aspects of what we consider good teaching practice.

a)    Adopting a question-led approach

b)    Mistakes are good

c)     Maximising the take-out

d)    At least  50% rule

14) What  is a question led approach?

Ask the student a question, if they can’t give you answer, ask them a series of simpler questions leading them to the answer. If the student gives you an answer that is partially correct, ask another question to the student asking them how to improve the answer. This is what is known as a ‘question led approach’.

The biggest mistake that tutors make (especially in a virtual classroom) is explaining too much. A tutor often thinks they are not ‘doing their job unless they are  explaining every detail to the student. However this can be ineffective learning because all the student needs to say is ‘okay’ before the student and the tutor moveonto explaining the next point.

If you adopt a question-led approach you can ask them for the same info and reveal the gaps in their knowledge . If you must explain anything to them, test this by saying, “okay explain this all back to me”.

Don’t be afraid to revisit the concept again and again. Socrates once said that repetition is learning. A tutor should only move onto the next topic when the student has a rock solid understanding of the topic and would be able to talk their answer through any potential exam questions.

15) Mistakes are good?

Students should be encouraged to look upon mistakes as positive signals of how to do better in future. Because mistakes are signals, they are helpful, therefore mistakes are good. They are great indicators of where to improve and this should be constantly emphasised to the student.

Equally important is the emotional context of the delivery. It’s not just about the quality of your feedback but the energy with which it’s delivered. Deliver feedback like you are telling them some great news.

Don’t say:

•     “this is wrong… now let’s move on” (without saying why)

Do say:

•     “Making mistakes is an important part of the learning process as they will give you an indication on what to work on in the future.”

•     “You are making lots of mistakes today, well done. We can improve really quickly this way. This is really good news/a great opportunity.”

16) What is maximising the takeout?

The most important issue in every lesson is how much the student learns. Clearly this will be affected by the type and quantity of questions the tutor asks them.

‘How does a tutor maximise the efficiency of learning for a student?’

The brain is just like the body; the more varied the demands put on it, the stronger it gets. Mental demands are typically questions.

The ‘takeout’ means helping students to take some information about the language and use it in clear, spoken sentences. E.g. the tutor may present some information then ask the student to construct a sentence. Maximizing the takeout means putting as many demands as possible on the student. Think of it as mental push up. The more push ups the brain can do the quicker they will learn the language.

17) What is the ‘At least 50%’ rule?

This simply means that the student should do at least 50% of the talking. The most effective way for a student to learn is by listening and then by talking. Not enough talking will result in ineffective learning.

18) What are some commonly made mistakes when teaching online?

a)    Monologues from the tutors, not allowing the student to talk! You should give them the ingredients and let them cook. Instead of spending a long time explaining stuff to them, explain it to them simply and quickly and then get them to explain it back to you. If they understand it they will be able to explain it. That is the best way people learn.

b) Not enough questions throughout! The best way to maximise learning is to get them to answer as many questions as possible. (question led approach). If a teacher is talking, even if it is a great lesson, you run the risk of not going at the student’s pace. The more the student is speaking the language the better.

c) Using lesson material that has not been prepared!Please see PPPPP

d)    Not enough fun! Put in a song, or a joke or something that will make them smile and remember it so they can tell their friends.

e)    Tutor moves on without checking the student has understood: Don’t assume anything. Always ask questions to check they have learnt it before you move on. When a teacher moves on without asking the student if they have any questions, the student may feel neglected.

f)      Not asking how that lesson could be improved: Every lesson will have strengths and weaknesses. the only way to continuously improve is to ask your student at the end what they enjoyed and what could be done better. Sometimes you will need demand this question from the student. Remember to tell yourself as you tell your students ‘mistakes are good’

g)    Not being yourself! To be your best you need to be yourself. Teach the lesson in your style.

h)    Teaching the wrong material: Always check what the student wants to learn. Sometimes tutors start with the basics, e.g. pronunciation or lengthy introductions to the country, which slow the pace of a lesson.

19) What are the important ingredients in every lesson?

There is no single way to make a great lesson but here are some ideas.

i)      Include a memorable song with a catchy chorus in that language

ii)     Adopt a question-led approach, encourage mistakes and maximise the take out

iii)   Make it fast and effective learning

iv)   Clearly define their language goals and how you can get there.

v)     Make sure the lesson is fun and varied. Remember what you enjoy – learning is part of that. Be If a student has fun during a lesson, they will remember it. Keep asking the student if the lesson is going at the right pace for them.Begin the lesson with a silly phrase or expression For example, in a Chinese lesson the phrase was ‘Try, try and never say die’ this was written in English and in Chinese.

vi)   Try and do something that they will be able to remember a month from now.

vii) At various points, remind the student that if they are ever confused they should stop and ask you to explain.

viii)          Try to get the student to do at least 50% of the talking even in the first lesson.

20) How can I get my student motivated in learning a language?

Students typically feel more motivated to learn when they have worked out:

a)    Their clearly defined learning goals. E.g. ‘to learn enough Italian to order food in a restaurant in Tuscany’ keeps the student motivated on why they wanted to learn the language in the first place

b)    What steps they must take to achieve their goals. E.g. Lesson 1: Italian food vocab, lesson 2:  sentence construction etc.

c)     How well they can work with their current tutor (see commonly made mistakes and teaching methodology)

21) How do I ensure my lessons are high quality?

If you are inexperienced in creating lessons it is always a good idea to practice with someone you know. The secret to teaching a good lesson is practice, practice and more practice.

You will also benefit from looking at other video examples of lessons and what other tutors are doing.

22) What should I do for a trial lesson?

Think of this a marketing pitch. A trial lesson gives you and your student a chance to meet and get to know each other. You should discuss why the student wants to learn your language, their motivation and current level. Students also like it if you teach them something in the lesson so they can get a feel for your teaching style. The more practiced this lesson is the more likely you are going have students buying lessons.

23) Do I use my own resources for teaching?

Yes- you can use whatever your want to prepare and teach your online class. If you are using third party videos please make sure you have permission., However feel free to upload things such as YouTube videos to the class as that is already granted.


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