How can I assess my level?
Discens Language Learning provides Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese lessons in six learning levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2), adhering to the structure of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). If you are an absolute beginner, your level is A1, and if you are almost as fluent as a native speaker, you have achieved the level C2. The trial lesson with your tutor will allow you both to assess your level and to establish which didactic strategies are in line with your learning profile, so you can make the most of your time and effort whilst you are working together, and the constant feedback you are giving and receiving in the one-to-one lessons will make you aware of your progress and confident with the results of your commitment.
How many lessons do I need to take in order to achieve my linguistic goals?
Although each of the levels of linguistic competence is typically completed in 25 hours of private lessons, each student is unique, and there are many factors that affect the learning process, such as the motivation of the student, how much contact does he or she has with the language, the work he or she does after the lessons to consolidate the skills he or she has acquired with the tutor, or even the intrinsic complexity of the language. This is why Discens Language Learning cannot guarantee that in a certain number of lessons you will be, for instance, capable of managing certain day-to-day situations in the language you are learning, or speaking it almost like a native: a language is not an exact science, after all. Nevertheless, we can honestly assure you that each lesson is designed by the tutor to respond to the expectations of the student and to meet his or her goals, to make the best of the time and dedication he or she is investing on the learning process. We are so convinced of the effectiveness of our method and the competence of our tutors, that we want you to see it for yourself: book now a 45-minute free trial lesson and get to know them both.
When can I have lessons with Discens Language Learning?
Flexibility is one of the most essential aspects of our system, which is why we schedule lessons from Monday to Friday from 08:00 until 20:00 (Central European Time) but, on a case by case basis, we could even provide lessons on Saturdays and Sundays.
In consonance with our flexibility philosophy, we offer lessons of 60 and 90 minutes, and the students can take as many consecutive lessons as they wish: if you want a to plan with us a whole morning or afternoon of lessons to benefit from an immersion-style learning environment, we can schedule this sequence of lessons for you.
What technical equipment and software do I need for the internet lessons?
You need a desktop computer, a laptop or a tablet with a webcam and a microphone; headphones are not mandatory but recommended. Furthermore, you need a good broadband internet connection that is strong and fast enough to make a video chat (minimum 5Mb, but the ideal would be 10Mb or higher). Our tutors work with cable connection (Ethernet) and avoid wi-fi, and we advise you to do the same. You also need to have a Skype® account, which you can create easily and for free https://www.Skype®.com/en/. If you have not used Skype® before, we recommend that you test it and have first a Skype® video conference with a friend.
In case Skype® is not working properly, and a trial lesson or paid lesson is about to take place, the tutor offers, as last-minute solution, to work with a similar video chat program, Zoom® https://zoom.us/ , which can be downloaded also easily and for free, even without having to create an account. Therefore, in case the tutor will host a Zoom®-meeting, the tutor invites you via e-mail to join and you must accept this invitation to be connected with your tutor
What can I do if I encounter technical difficulties?
We recommend you to test your technical equipment by having first a Skype® video chat with a friend. If this does work, there is normally no problem during the free trial lesson or our regular (paid) lessons. In case you are having technical difficulties, it is always advisable to switch off your computer or tablet and your router, wait a few seconds with the devices turned off, and restart them: it is a simple trick that works in many cases! If it looks like Skype® is the problem, its online troubleshooting is proven to be helpful
In case you are having technical difficulties at the scheduled time of your trial lesson or a regular lesson, we ask you to contact via WhatsApp® your tutor, who will try their best to help you solving these problems.
The tutors are equipped with all technical means needed for the online lessons, so the probability of them experiencing such difficulties is low, but in the unlikely case it happens, the tutor will also use WhatsApp® to communicate with you and will try to find a provisional solution to avoid having to cancel the lesson on such short notice, such as – if you agree – having a videocall with WhatsApp®.
Which personal information do I need to provide?
For the trial lesson, you are required to inform us of your name, your working e-mail and your Skype®-username. Even though it is not mandatory, we recommend you to provide us your mobile phone number for last-minute communications with WhatsApp®, for instance in the case there are technical difficulties that make impossible to use Skype® or e-mail.
Once you become a student at Discens Language Learning, we will issue the invoice, for which we will require also your address and national identity number (for example, the German Personalausweisnummer.
Discens Language Learning will contact students only regarding the scheduling and realization of lessons. You will not receive any advertising or newsletter. Your data will not be shared with any third parties and will only be used by your tutor, our administration and our accountant. Discens Language Learning asks students only for the data that are needed for addressing the students and for scheduling the students’ lessons.
How do I request a free trial lesson?
Just fill out our form and you will receive within one working day an e-mail from Discens Language Learning with the confirmation of your lesson. If the dates and times you have requested are no longer available, we will offer you alternative dates.
If you are not able to attend to the agreed and scheduled trial lesson, we kindly ask you to inform us as soon as possible, via e-mail or WhatsApp®. We will do our best to arrange another trial lesson at another date and time that is convenient for you.
Please notice that the duration of the trial lesson is 45 minutes, but we recommend you to plan some extra minutes for it, also in case you have further questions you wish to ask your tutor.
What is a trial lesson like?
One working day after sending the form requiring your trial lesson, you will receive an e-mail that either states one of the times and dates proposed by you in the form, or suggests alternative times and dates in case none of your proposed times is available. A date that is convenient for you will be fixed and you do not need any preparation for the trial lesson: it will suffice to check that your electronic device and internet connection are working properly.
Approximately 15 minutes before the trial lesson, you will receive a reminder e-mail. By the scheduled time, your computer should be running and you should be logged into your Skype®-account, ready to start the video chat.
Your tutor will be online at the agreed time and will initiate the trial lesson asking you about your experience, your motivation and your aims on learning Spanish or Portuguese and, if you are not an absolute beginner, will evaluate the knowledge you already have of the language you chose to learn. You will practice some light conversation in this language and, in the case it is your first contact with it, you will learn how to greet in Spanish or Portuguese. You will receive also a free sample of our learning materials.
During the trial lesson, our students often have questions about the practical aspects of our online lessons, such as how to book and pay for lessons, how a lesson is developed, and other logistical matters. Your tutor will be available to answer all such questions.
If, by the end of the trial lesson, you are convinced of learning with us, you can start planning straight away your learning schedule with your tutor.
In case that you are not convinced that you want to learn with us, you do not need to justify your reasons and, of course, you do not have to pay anything. In case you change your mind later, please do not hesitate to contact us.
What happens if I do not like the tutor I have been assigned?
If, for any reason, you are convinced by Discens Language Learning’s learning approach and business conditions but do not like the tutor who gave the free trial lesson – which happens very rarely -, Discens Language Learning can offer a different tutor, in the case that another tutor is available during your the preferred time periods.
Am I obliged to take the trial lesson?
No. If you want, you can skip the trial lesson and send Discens Language Learning an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the preferred schedule. However, during the trial lesson, the tutor can assess your language level to better prepare for your lessons and to understand and to better address your wants and needs.
Once I have decided that I want to be a student at Discens Language Learning, should I purchase single lessons or blocks of lessons?
Because flexibility is one of the keys in Discens Language Learning’s way of teaching and conducting business, we offer single lessons and blocks of 10 and 25 lessons. The students can decide freely what suits them best. Nevertheless, we shall remind our students that consistency and continuity are necessary to have success in learning a language and, therefore, we advise you to take blocks of lessons instead of single lessons. Moreover, because blocks of lessons are less work for our administration and accountant, Discens Language Learning offers for free the last lesson from the 10-lesson block, and the three last lessons from the 25-lesson block, so buying blocks will save you money.
Keep in mind that, if you not ready yet for committing to a block of lessons, you can go for single lessons: our new students can switch even later from single lessons to blocks without losing the financial advantages of blocks.
How often should I take lessons?
Discens Language Learning recommends scheduling lessons in some sort of regular intervals. Daily lesson would in most cases be the best, but unfortunately are very often not feasible for the students. Most of the students take lessons once or twice a week and this frequency is advised also by Discens Language Learning. Either way, the students decide on the duration and the frequency that they are most comfortable with and that serves them best.
How do I schedule internet lessons with Discens Language Learning?
Immediately after the trial lesson and/or later by e-mail, you inform your tutor of your preferred dates and times (or time-slots) for your lessons, for instance “20th February, 17:00”, “Mondays at 15:30” or “Wednesdays and Fridays, each day 90 minutes, between 10:00 and 14:00”. In the case one or more of your dates are not available, your tutor will offer you also via e-mail alternative dates, until we can fix the learning schedule that most satisfies you. Discens Language Learning aims to always accommodate each student’s requests regarding the lesson’s timing and duration. The only limitations for scheduling new lessons are the tutor’s previously made commitments to other students.
Once your learning schedule is agreed and finalized to your satisfaction, we send it to you via e-mail together with our invoice. Within one working day of receiving your payment, we will send you the confirmation of it and the final schedule and you are ready to start your lessons. In order to take your lessons, you must pay for them in advance. Scheduled lessons that are not paid in advance will be cancelled by default.
How do I pay for online lessons?
Once you have established your learning schedule, we will send it to you per e-mail together with the invoice.
The invoice shall state the amount due, date, the reference number of the invoice, as well as Discens Language Learning’s NIF (Spanish tax identification number), address, telephone number, e-mail, website and IBAN bank account. Furthermore, the invoice shall state also the VAT amount of zero and that the services of Discens Language Learning are exempt from VAT in accordance with the Spanish law [Ley 37/1992 de 28 de Diciembre del Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido, Artículo 20 Uno 9º].
The Spanish law [Real Decreto 1616/2012 de 30 de Noviembre que Regula la Obligación de Facturación, Artículo 6, Apartado 5º] requires that Discens Language Learning’s invoices state also the student’s name, address and national identity number (for example, the German Personalausweisnummer).
You can pay by bank transfer (IBAN) to the bank account stated in the invoice. Bank transfers within the EU require between 2 to 3 bank working days. You can use also PayPal®: the payment is almost immediate. No cash payments will be accepted.
Please state on your IBAN bank transfers the number of our invoice. Please alert us in case someone else is making the payment on your behalf.
Do I have to purchase textbooks or other learning materials for my lessons with Discens Language Learning?
No. Discens Language Learning works with its exclusive learning materials that have been designed by the tutors, and its price is included in the cost of the lessons. All learning material is in digital format, so you can download and view on your computer, tablet or smartphone in order to get the most out of it – anywhere and anytime.
How is the communication with my tutor before and after a regular online lesson?
Between 5 and 10 minutes before each lesson, your tutor greets you on the Skype® chatroom. If you are online and available, the lesson will start at the scheduled time; if not, the tutor will contact you again (Skype® chat messages, e-mail, WhatsApp® messages) to remind you of the lesson. The tutor will wait for you for 15 minutes after the time the lesson was planned to start; if you do not show up, the tutor calls off the lesson due to non-attendance and will inform you via e-mail accordingly. This lesson missed by the student is non-refundable and will not be rescheduled free of charge. You can show up until 15 minutes late without having your lesson cancelled because of this delay, but we kindly ask you to be on time for your lessons. The minutes that you have lost by not being on time cannot be added as an extension to your lesson, that needs to finish on the agreed time, because it would be unjustifiable to make the next student wait because of your delay.
After each lesson, you will receive an e-mail with the confirmation that the lesson was taken, and an overview of the next lessons already scheduled.
How is an online lesson like?
Each lesson begins with some casual conversation in the language you are learning and, after this initial warm-up, your tutor will review with you the key points of the previous lesson to refresh your memory and to answer all questions that might have come up in the meantime. Thereafter, you will be working together with your tutor on new contents to practice your listening, speaking, writing and reading skills with Discens Language Learning’s special learning material. You decide if you want your tutor to require you to do homework, and in case you do, your tutor will give you instructions for the exercises to be done. Towards the end of the lesson, the tutor will revise the new subjects that you have learned and will make sure you have no further questions for the moment.
What are the contents of a regular lesson?
The contents of each lesson are selected and presented by the tutor according to the student’s goals and preferences. Discens Language Learning does not impose a standardized model of lessons that are repeated time after time with each student. Of course, if you are a beginner (A1/A2), the tutor will need to follow certain didactic sequences and will not be able to skip important aspects of grammar or basic vocabulary, because the foundation of the language needs to be explained, understood and practiced. But the fact that the tutors need to be systematic and meticulous to some extent does not mean that they will work with a rigid structure. Even the beginner student is in charge of setting the pace of the lessons and to prioritize some contents over others, for instance, if student wants to concentrate on speaking skills during the online lessons and prefers to leave writing skills for homework, if students wishes to do homework and, if so, which kind of exercises they prefer. Students have also the possibility to ask the tutor to put emphasis on vocabulary and communicative structures which are especially useful for travelling or for business, depending on their specific learning aims.
On intermediate (B1/B2) and advanced levels (C1/C2), the curriculum will be even more adapted to the demands and interests of the student and focused on consolidating and improving his or her knowledge. The tutor will encourage you to express yourself in an autonomous, spontaneous way, offering you the input that you wish to receive, such as vocabulary, idioms and communicative resources for specific situations. This means there will be even more flexibility on choosing contents and approaches for each lesson, and a broader spectrum of possibilities for unselfconscious interaction between student and tutor, which is one of the many advantages of one-to-one lessons: besides from being a customized and very time-effective type of lesson, in our individual online lessons the tutor is focused in this one and only student and can correct his or hers recurring mistakes and see what contents need to be intensively practiced.
That being said, in all levels and and with all students the tutor is compromised with planning a lesson that is dynamic, where there is a balance between doing different kinds of exercises and activities, between active (speaking and writing) and passive (listening and reading) linguistic skills. One of the tasks of the tutor is to make this process interesting and enjoyable, and Discens Language Learning will show you that even the aspects of a language that have a reputation of being “boring”, “difficult” or even “scary”, such as grammar, with the right approach can be easily learned.
What if I need to cancel a lesson?
You just inform your tutor per e-mail at least 48 hours in advance and propose an alternative date to recover this lesson. Your will receive a confirmation of this cancellation and rescheduling via e-mail.
What happens if I cancel a lesson less than 48 hours before it, or if I do not show up for a lesson on the agreed time?
In the case of short-notice cancellations and no-shows (remember that you can be up to 15 minutes late for a lesson because the tutor will wait for you online on Skype®, but this time will not be recovered as an extension of the lesson), Discens Language Learning’s policy is the same: the lesson is considered missed by the student. The student can catch up on the contents of this missed lesson at a later date, but the student will need to purchase this lesson and schedule it with the tutor, as usual, in an exchange of e-mails.
What if the tutor needs to cancel a lesson?
The tutor will inform you via e-mail (and/or via WhatsApp®) of the cancellation and will reschedule with you this canceled lesson.
What if there are technical difficulties that make it impossible to carry out a lesson?
Our tutors have fast internet cable connections, work with new computers and have a back-up computer for emergencies. Therefore, the risk of a technical problem that hinders the tutors to teach is rather low. But if by unfortunate circumstances there are technical problems that make it impossible for the tutor to start the Skype® video chat, the tutor will contact immediately the student via e-mail and/or WhatsApp® message and propose using Zoom® as an alternative for Skype® if this program is the one causing the inconvenience. If the problem persists, as an emergency solution to avoid the inconvenience of suspending the lesson on such short notice, and if the student agrees, the lesson can be exceptionally conducted via WhatsApp® videocall.
Can I get a certificate of attendance after I finish a sequence of lessons?
Yes, you can, and Discens Language Learning will issue it for you free of charge. It will state the level you have reached and the number of lessons taken. Please note, that these attendance certificates, as the attendance certificates from all other language schools, do not accredit the students’ competence level. In order to have a competence level certification, students must pass an official exam such as TELC, DELE, SIELE, CELPE-Bras, etc. Discens Language Learning’s tutors can prepare you to take these tests, if you have such academic goals.