Having a teaching session with an italki teacher can be a really great educational experience. However, how do you make sure you don't forget what you've just learned? We have a few tips to help you get the most from your sessions.
During the lesson, write new vocabulary and grammar structures that you've learned. With written notes, you have a record that you can review before your next session. You can take notes on paper in a notebook, or if you are using software with a chat client such as Skype, you first write into the chat during your lesson, then copy it to another file to review later. Collaborative tools like Google Docs are also a great alternative, and your teacher can edit them, too!
Another even more powerful way of doing this is recording your session with your teacher so you can review it later and practice your listening.
If you choose to do this, please respect your teacher's privacy and first obtain written permission for recording either audio or video. We recommend asking for and receiving written permission through italki session messages to be sure that both teacher and student understands and agrees to being recorded. When you ask for permission, please be clear and honest about how you intend to use the recording and whether it will be only for your personal use or if you plan to share it with others; it will make everyone feel better to know ahead of time. italki considers it a violation of privacy to publicly post a recording of another person without that person's permission.
If you use Skype to hold your sessions, there are many Skype add-ons (http://shop.skype.com/apps/) that you can use to record your sessions. Many operating systems also come with a built-in audio or screen recorder, so you probably already have one. Lastly, some of the best advice we've seen is from an italki student:
italki Article: My 10-Point Method For Getting The Most From Mandarin Chinese Classes On italki - some great advice for using Audacity (http://web.audacityteam.org/) to record, edit, and review language lessons.
In your sessions, you'll run into many new vocabulary words and grammar structures. We recommend using flashcard systems that take advantage of Spaced Repetition Systems (SRS) to help you memorize them. One of our favorite programs is the free open-source program called Anki (http://www.ankisrs.net/).
This is another great way to review what you've learned is to write a notebook entry. This will help you chart your progress on the website. You'll also get the benefit of corrections from community members in case you made a mistake.
If you have the time, assigning yourself homework is a very important way to make sure you don't forget what you learn. If you only take lessons once a week, you may find that you're forgetting a great deal. Asking your teacher to assign some simple exercises can help you progress over the week, even if it's just a very small assignment each day.
If you know that you want to dedicate yourself to mastering a certain topic or accomplishing a certain goal, ask your teacher to estimate how much time and practice it might take you to reach this goal. You can work together to set a plan for improvement.
Of course, the best thing you can do is to spend time in the italki community, interacting with native speakers, using the new words and concepts you just learned!