What to consider before starting your English course
09 November, 2017 Education Erin O'Neill
English is the third most spoken language in the world as well as the default language for business, so choosing to learn it is a great idea.
However, before you decide on which course to take, there are some things you should consider to make sure you’re making the best choice.
ONLINE OR ON-CAMPUS?
There are now lots of different apps and websites which offer help with language learning, often for free. Unfortunately, the reason that these services are free is usually because you are expected to motivate and learn by yourself – without a teacher to guide you.
For those who have a casual interest in learning another language, this could be enough; but if you need to use English every day (especially for work) then you will need extra help to become fully fluent.
Some online courses use tools like Skype and webinars to put you in touch with teachers who are native English speakers. This will help you practise your speaking skills, but you may find it difficult to get the face-to-face support you need.
If you need to learn English from scratch, an on-campus course is the best choice: having a teacher who can explain in-person and answer your questions is important for your learning.
GROUP LEARNING OR INDIVIDUAL TUITION?
Think about how you learn best: do you benefit more from personal attention, or do you prefer to interact with others and share your ideas with multiple people?
Choosing a one-to-one class is usually more expensive, but you are likely to learn faster as you will have the teacher’s undivided attention and they will be able to focus on your specific strengths and weaknesses.
On the other hand, learning in a group could give you a lot more speaking practise, as well as meeting other people who will be encountering the same problems and offering their advice on how to overcome them.
EVERYDAY ENGLISH OR EXAM PRACTICE?
If you want to learn English so that you can work and/or live in an English-speaking country, you will need to demonstrate your proficiency with a certificate. Some courses are tailored specifically to help you pass these exams – such as the TOEFL exam – so these are a good choice if you need English for work.
However, if you simply need a fluent conversational level of English, a course which focuses on general listening, speaking, reading, and writing will be more suitable for you.
Remember – always think carefully about what your goals are before making a decision on a language course!