Whilst living in Nigeria, except you are a genie or a bot, getting skilled in the use of the Arabic language will require that you enroll for an Arabic tuition. Trust me, you don’t want to self-study by just binge-reading books on Arabic lessons. The first step to having a good Arabic learning journey is finding the right Arabic teacher.

Learning Arabic has many good returns. For fun, it is a beautiful language with rhythm and an uncommon cadence. In academics, it offers you a university education in the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and several other Arabic-speaking countries. Career-wise, it affords you several job opportunities and options, and if you are a Muslim, it helps you understand the Qur’an and Islam better.

However, like many modern World languages, learning Arabic isn’t like drinking pap with suya. The Arabic language is uniquely different from the English language in many respects, and that is exactly why you need a good and fitting tutor.

Arabic calligraphy
Do you know that the Arabic language is written from right to left and it has no vowel alphabets? Source: Visual Hunt

Not every good teacher is fitting. You must consider certain factors — including your desired learning mode — before opting for a tutor.

The right Arabic teacher is one who, coupled with his/her deep expertise and rich years of experience, recognises your proficiency level, understands your learning style, and helps you find learning fun.

Your Arabic education will suffer a major blow if you do not choose the right teacher. Perhaps, we can summarise this by saying that the right Arabic tutor loves learning Arabic, loves his/her students, and loves to help his/her students love learning Arabic.

Here are valuable tips that can help you choose the right private Arabic teacher:

Be Honest with Your Competency Level and Your Targets

The first rule of learning right is to be unashamed. The best help you can give to yourself is identifying your level and learning goals. Are you new to the language? Or you possess a level of experience? Do you need Arabic lessons equivalent to a university study? Your answers will help you decide if a student currently studying Arabic at the university is the right choice or a private Arabic teacher, who perhaps has a university degree in Arabic and years of teaching experience.

If you are a new student, the university undergraduate may suffice. If you opt for the other tutor with many years of experience and a university degree, you may not be able to afford him/her. However, if instead you are an intermediate speaker and wants to become, perhaps, a professional translator, the tutor with the deep expertise is your best option.

Your learning goal is also an important consideration. If you want to learn the language just for the fun of it or with no serious need, why spend so much? On the other side of it, if your goal is to attain enough proficiency to study or commerce in an Arabic-speaking country or take a job as a translator or a primary school Arabic teacher yourself, then, the best tutor will be the one with the most experience and expertise — often more expensive.

Let’s consider some categories of Arabic students based on their levels and goals.

  • Students who want to go on an international study and need to learn the Arabic language.
  • Students who study Arabic to be able to read the Quran and understand Islamic issues.
  • I have little experience of the language and can only identify the alphabets.

    The City of Dubai
    Taking Arabic lessons can make your study, work, or trade easier in Dubai and other Arabic-speaking cities. Source: Unsplash
  • I want to take up a job or commerce in Dubai, Cairo, Doha, or other Arabic-speaking cities and will need Arabic to communicate.
  • I just love Arabic and love to learn it.
  • I am an intermediate speaker and want to grow better.

There are several other categories of people. Some parents need Arabic tutors for their kids or young teenagers who offer Arabic as an elective in secondary school. Like earlier said, this first stage of identification of level and need will help you choose the Arabic teacher that best suits you.

Match Profiles of Arabic Tutors

Just like Arabic students are of different levels, Arabic tutors are also of different ranks. Having identified your level and goal(s), you should proceed to compare the descriptions of these tutors and filter according to your need. Don’t hire a non-native private Arabic tutor when what you need is a native teacher. Don’t hire an undergraduate for your Arabic study when you need a certified tutor. Don’t hire a freelance tutor when you need a teacher who teaches in a school. Remember that making the wrong choice can affect your Arabic lesson and undermine your growth.

Unlike an Arabic language university student would, if you need to hire a tutor for your kid or teenager who takes Arabic as an elective subject in secondary school, no doubts, you do not need an Arabic don. Likewise, if you are interested in a particular dialect, hiring a native teacher is the right option. But if you want to learn how to read the Quran, some Islamic books, and other concerns in Islam, you only need to hire an Arabic teacher who knows standard Arabic.

A page of the Quran
You don't need a professor to learn how to read the Quran. You can take basic Arabic tuition to learn how to read and understand the Quran. Source: Visual Hunt.

If you use a knowledge-sharing site like Superprof, you will be able to easily assess the profiles of the tutor, check their experience level, reviews, location, teaching style, and price. All these make up a tutor’s profile.

How You Can Get the Right Tutor for Your Private Arabic Tuition

Whichever state you are in Nigeria, a platform like Superprof can help you make a better selection when choosing the right Arabic teacher. Of course, that is after you’ve done your part by identifying your level and highlighting your goals.

Foremost, Superprof provides you about 1706 Arabic teachers in Nigeria. So, mediocrity is ruled out. You can, then, start by checking the profiles of these Arabic tutors for the right tutor. When you go through the tutors’ profiles, you will be more informed about who to hire. The tutors would indicate if they provide online studies or not, if they provide private home coaching or not, and the scope of their pedagogy (If they can teach you to read the Quran, give you Islamic education and improve your knowledge of Islam or not).

Try to also read on the methodology of the tutor and his/her background. This will help you make a relevant comparison and tick your goals checklist.

Reviews are also important to give you the confidence you need. If a tutor’s past students left him/her bad reviews, then, you should know that irrespective of how sweet his profile sounds, he may not be the right tutor.

Then, check the subjects and the levels that the tutor can teach to know if he/she can serve your needs. And, hey, remember to check the price.

Match Prices of Arabic Courses with Your Budget

Finding the balance between price and value can be tricky. It is important to get the right value at the right price. In Nigeria, the price of Arabic tuition varies from one state to another. These variations, many a time, are as a result of the cost of living in each state. Another factor that could cause varying prices is the student’s chosen mode of learning.

Online Arabic classes, for instance, can be cheaper than private home lessons. Likewise, attending a language school can be costlier than hiring freelance tutors.

Importantly, compare the price of the courses with your budget. Negotiate well with your tutor and ask for a rebate. Some tutors will offer a discount if you agree to many classes in a month. Just try every option that will not haemorrhage your purse.

Get a Good Teacher for Your Arabic Classes

Like explained, there is no best tutor for all situations. The best tutor from Ade may not be the best for Chinedu or Abubakar. However, there are a few general guide rails to choosing the best teacher.

  • If you are a beginner or a kid, having a private home tutor is most times the best option. A private home teacher will offer you personalised teaching and free you from many headaches.
  • Ensure that your teacher knows more than you and is constantly updating his/her knowledge.
  • Choose Arabic tutors who offer their first lessons free.
  • Read tutors’ reviews and background.
  • Go to a verified knowledge-sharing site like Superprof to hire your Arabic private tutor.

Qualities of a Good Arabic Teacher

Here are some of the things you should look out for in your Arabic tutor.

  • Patience

Learning a new language can be difficult. However, teaching a new language can be difficult too. Especially if you are an inexperienced student, your tutor should have enough patience to answer your questions — silly or stupid.

  • Passionate about teaching

A good tutor doesn’t only teach to feed, he teaches because he loves to. Your tutor should be sufficiently energetic to sustain your interest and ensure that your study time isn’t always a boring time.

  • A good communicator

Your tutor should be able to communicate well and give clear explanations. If your medium of communication is English, his expressions must be correct to ensure that you understand whatever he teaches.

  • A fun buddy

Your tutor is your primary language buddy. He should be interesting and engaging. Many good tutors use games in their teaching to make studies easier and more interesting.

Learning an international language should not be a humdrum uphill task. With the right tutor by your side, taking Arabic lessons can become a fun exercise you’d always want to do.

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A Nigerian freelance SEO Writer-cum-Editor and 2019 Writing Fellow of ALWF who blends creativity with rich content to produce sterling copy — persuasive, informative, or expository. He loves nature and trains in Karate, and he loves to help others grow — individuals and brands.