You might have surfed the web to find what an average Russian tutor charges and then concluded to learn on your own. While it’s common to find umpteen independent foreign language learners, learning off of Russian textbooks isn’t the most productive option for you. As an L2 speaker of English, imagine the stress you’d have undergone had you learned English on your own without having a language teacher. If you’ve tried both the cost-effective option (independent learning) and the more expensive one (tutoring), you would discover that hiring a Russian teacher is more effective.

❝One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.❞

learning russian
Learning Russian is easier than you think. Photo Credit: Unsplash.

Why Employ the Services of a Russian Teacher?

Being the third most spoken language in Nigeria, Russian has gained nationwide acceptance and there’s an increasing number of learners. If Russian piques your interest, here are reasons to take Russian lessons with a native tutor rather than using only language apps, textbooks, and visual and audio aids.

Besides receiving constructive criticism from your tutor, have you discovered that assimilation differs based on the tutor’s teaching style? Russian has simple aspects that every beginner can read up, but complex areas often require an expert’s help. Also, tutors provide self-directed and self-paced learning, thereby reducing the learning curve and enhancing your study habit.

Here are some complex areas you would need an experienced tutor for:

  • Morphology: word-formation or structure is what every beginner should know and it includes learning the Cyrillic alphabet, roots, stems, suffixes, prefixes, letter combinations, intonation, stress, context, and word classes (parts of speech). Stress, for instance, is tricky in Russian because the language has an irregular stress pattern. Also, differentiating between the root and stem of words is complex. Thus, having a tutor explain this topic is highly advised.
  • Pronunciation: although the language is largely phonetic – its orthography aligns with its phonetic representation, some sounds are pronounced differently from their spelling. The phoneme “P” is pronounced as /r/. Furthermore, when pronouncing Russian bi-syllabic or poly-syllabic words, primary stress must be assigned to the prominent syllable; in complete sentences, primary stress must be assigned to the tonic syllable. You need a native speaker by your side to correct you whenever you pronounce sounds or words wrongly or stress syllables inappropriately. The sound /bi/ remains one of the hardest sounds to pronounce.
  • Grammar (Verb conjugation and tenses): L2 English speakers will find it difficult switching from the multiple English tenses to just three tenses and two aspects in Russian. Memorizing the correct usage of the perfective and imperfective aspects can be draining if you’re learning from a textbook.
  • Six Russian cases: there are six cases in the language and they all perform unique functions; nominative, dative, accusative, genitive, instrumental, and prepositional. Many non-native learners use up to a year to have a basic understanding of the six cases. Because the cases are determined by the subject’s number and gender, there are multiple possible endings an expression can take.
  • Motivation & seriousness: free knowledge is often taken for granted. Paid knowledge, however, pushes you to get serious and motivated even when you don’t feel like it. We all cherish whatever we pay for with our hard-earned money.
  • Revision exercises: even though revision exercises and assignments exist in language tutorial videos and apps, it’s common for students to left-click the “SKIP” button. A teacher, however, will revise with you or give you assignments that would trigger you to revise past lessons. Additionally, no student takes assignments seriously until there’s a teacher present.

Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.
‒Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

learning russian online
Online Russian lessons are available on Superprof. Photo Credit: Unsplash.

Learning Russian with a Private Tutor

We’ve discussed taking physical group classes, as this is the commonest way to learn Russian in Nigeria. Thanks to technological advancement, students can take one-on-one and/or online classes whenever they want. You need not surf the web in search of certified tutoring platforms you can patronize; Superprof is all you need. We’ve got over a thousand tutors available to help you gain fluency and even achieve native competence. Based on preference, these classes can take place via Skype or in your home.

The advantages of Taking Private Russian Classes

Private tuition isn’t as expensive as you think. An average Nigerian-based Russian tutor charges ₦2000 an hour. Below are some advantages of hiring a private tutor for basic, intermediate, or advanced Russian classes.

  • Specialized learning: group sessions are usually less effective than one-on-one sessions because of group classes. Group classes often have twenty-five or more students, thus eliminating the luxury of individualized attention. Learning alone gives your tutor ample time to answer all your questions and go over difficult topics until you fully understand them.
  • Going beyond the lesson plan: institutions only focus on what they want you to know while private tutors take their time to actually teach what you need to know. There’s no standard lesson plan, however, you and the tutor can draw up a plan based on your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Flexibility: having a busy work schedule doesn’t stop you from learning Russian during your free time. You can always schedule and reschedule sessions provided your tutor agrees, that way, you don’t miss any class by falling behind on coursework.
  • Self-paced learning: many Russian learners have expressed difficulty learning the six cases and the lengthy period it took to grasp some of the cases. This is where the service of a private tutor is needed. S/he would spend more time strengthening your weak areas. Also, for someone with dyslexia (reading disorder) or dysgraphia (writing disorder), learning a foreign language would require additional learning.

"Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things."

‒ Flora Lewis

Russian language
Russian has simple and complex areas. You need a tutor for complex topics. Photo Credit: Unsplash.

Private Tutor Traits to Look Out For

For any foreign language, you intend learning, it’s advisable to employ a native tutor. Besides the benefit of charging less, native speakers always supersede non-native tutors in phonetics - pronunciation, rhythm, intonation, and stress placement. However, many of them lack the theoretical knowledge, grammatical rules, and syntactic structures of the language.

In your search for a pro tutor, find out the tutor’s past teaching records. Don’t be swayed by a compelling qualification, there’s more to teaching than that. Evaluate his human interaction level, teaching style, interpersonal relationship level, commitment, and tolerance.

In addition to learning from a professional tutor, it's always advisable to have additional learning aid such as a grammar application, translating dictionary (English-Russian and vice-versa). Russian is not as difficult as you think it is. You can learn to speak Russian too. It’s possible.

Learn the Russian language in Nigerian Schools

The official study of the Russian language in Nigeria began in 1960 when it was introduced as a minor course at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Due to its success, the University of Ibadan (1962) and the Obafemi Awolowo University (1970) introduced it as a full course.

Whether you want to learn Russian online, offline (private tuition), or as a degree, there’s an array of Russian lessons you can choose from in Nigeria. Below are a few of such institutes:

  • The University of Ibadan offers Russian as a 4-year full-time programme under the department of European Studies. You can take Russian as a single honour’s or double honour’s course. Some of the courses include “Contemporary Russia – ESR 106, Oral & Aural Comprehension I & II – ESR 104 & 105, Russian Phonetics – ESR 307”.
  • The University of Nigeria, Nsukka offers Russian as a full course under the Department of Languages & Literatures. Here, you’ll learn both the theoretical and practical aspects of the language; you’ll read tons of Russian literary texts that would hone your literary skills. You can study Russian as a single honour’s course or alongside German as a double honour’s course. In your third year (for UTME students) or second year (for direct-entry students), you would have the option to travel to a Russian-speaking country partly or fully.
  • Smarter Languages Academy is an Abuja-based certified language centre which offers tutorial sessions, interpretation, and translation of German, Spanish, English, and Russian.
  • Graceville School of Languages offers foreign and indigenous language classes to students. These language classes include Russian, Portuguese, Yoruba, Dutch, Igbo, Arabic, and French.
  • The Language Hub is a Lagos-based language training centre whose focus is to provide foreign tutorial sessions to kids and adults.

"Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow."

‒ Oliver Wendell Holmes

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