Which is better for learning languages?
Well, one thing for sure is that the majority of professional teachers teach by the books. Learning the book way (grammar) by itself can be a challenge for the average learner. Just think about it. Learning is something that you have to do yourself. A structured book is teaching the grammar of a language and is not necessarily teaching "how to learn."
Being that I am learning my 5th Language now, I have mastered "how I learn languages." It is very important that you find a method that works for you. Everyone usually knows how they learn best! But when it comes to languages, you may have to experiment with how you learn best. I know for a fact that most language learners learn better without a book structure. It is completely natural the way that we learned our first language as children. We were not learning with a book right away. We were learning by speaking, body language and memorization. In other words, we were our own teacher. And of course our learning was very effective because we were immersed in the language daily.
There was never a day when we didn't hear the language. Everything from our cartoons and the adults around us was in our first language. Now does this mean that teachers and grammar are unnecessary? Absolutely NOT. We DO need teachers and we DO need grammar, eventually... But starting off with a language, it's just not necessary. Immersion is necessary. For the most part, tutors are here to guide and aid you. People call tutors when they need help. Some parents even hire tutors before the child starts school. Tutors focus on your weak area and help strengthen your skills in that area. I've been working as a online tutor for 4 years now and it is no secret that students learn more with their tutors than teachers. This is just how it is. A famous polyglot that I look up to by the name of Lydia Machova said "I cannot teach you what you must learn" and I love this quote from her because it is true especially when it comes to language learning. Languages have to be learned by the individual. Teachers teach and tutors help you to learn. This is why whenever people are trying to get good at something, they hire a tutor.
With my language students, I focus on the areas where they are weak in. Some students are not good at comprehending Spanish. So I will do more speaking and they will do more listening and responding. If my student is bad at speaking with confidence, then we will only focus on conversation in our sessions. Tutors are here to help you get better at whatever you are failing. Now knowing the role of a tutor, I will now explain why the teacher is still an important factor in language learning!
Why do you still need a teacher? Why is a language teacher even necessary?
Let's say that you are a teen/adult and a new language learner. You probably will not know where to even start or what to even learn. Therefore, having a online teacher or traditional classroom teacher is a good way to get your feet wet in the language learning process. Because of the fact that you know little to nothing in this new language, having someone teaching you the basics will give you an idea of the language in general. This way you will have something to work on with the tutor. The tutor is unable to help you master an area, if you don't even know what you need help with. Make sense? Now of course most teachers are teaching from a grammar book which is fine as long as you are not getting so wrapped up in grammar rules etc... You should be more focused on speaking the language and learning what you can apply starting today. I recommend that if you are learning a new language to have both a language teacher and definitely a language tutor. They both are equally important to a new language learner.
Now once you get on your 3rd or 4th language, then you should have mastered "How you yourself learn languages." For example, no one can tell me how I learn languages because I have already learned multiple so only I am familiar with the way that I learn. You will eventually get your own method and rhythm of how you learn. And once you are aware of how you learn, the easier it will become to be your OWN teacher. And on that note, I want you to know that it is always good to have a tutor in this process. Teachers are definitley needed for the beginners, grammar and the basics but after you get the spin of things, a tutor is more than enough. Thank you for reading this post on "Language teachers vs Language Tutors" I hope that you enjoyed this read! - Ambie Method