A Student’s Guide to Learning English: Part Two
In Part One of our Student’s Guide, we gave you four great reasons to learn English. So what’s next???
Just typing ‘Learn English’ on Google unleashes a flood of search results; ‘learn English grammar’, ‘learn English fast’, ‘learn real English’ and thousands of other combinations. There are countless schools screaming out for your attention with promises to deliver you to fluency in three months, or make you a pro at business English in seven days. Try YouTube and you’ll get everything from amateur actors having strange conversations to Japanese television shows from the 90’s teaching English phrases through aerobics!
As you read this, there are over 1 billion people learning English in many different ways. Whether it’s at school, at home, at university, or overseas – their aim is identical; to become confident speakers who can communicate with the global community.
In this part of our student’s guide, we look at the most popular approaches to language learning, so that you can choose the approach that feels right for you.
Your living room, your mother’s kitchen, or even a park bench can prove to be the ideal classroom. Feeling comfortable contributes to effective learning and the flexibility of online courses allows you to progress at your own pace. An online English course usually includes a combination of webpages and video lessons, with tests to complete at the end of each stage. Nowadays you’ll find even more sophisticated web-based courses which also include conversations with a native speaker via Skype.
So-called “virtual language schools” are increasing in popularity, but although online learning is convenient, it can be difficult to know if you’re getting quality training, especially if the course you’re doing is free. Also, not having other students to engage with may lower your motivation, and you might find yourself a bit too close to domestic distractions, including your pets, younger siblings and your favourite TV series!
2. A Local School
You can choose to learn English in your own homeland, and this means you will always be close to your family, friends and other personal responsibilities you might have.
Even in countries where the local language is not English, many native English-speaking teachers are employed by language schools. At a lower level, being taught by a person who speaks your language may be a bonus, but at a more advanced level it is advisable to attend lessons with a native speaker to experience the language as spoken in the real world.
The downside of a local school is that your fellow students will all speak your first language. It’s very easy to revert to speaking in your native tongue when you can’t find the words you need in English, and ultimately you will spend less time using English than you should be.
3. Private Tutor / Language Exchange
For a learning experience in which you are guaranteed individual focus, a private tutor is ideal. Perhaps you know that you need business English and telephone skills for your job at an international bank, or that you need to perfect your English skills for your career as a journalist. You can hire a qualified teacher to give you lessons at home, at your office, or a local café over a cappuccino.
Although this gives you the personal attention that can really speed up your performance and fluency, a private tutor can be quite expensive. An alternative would be a ‘language exchange’. If you’re willing to practise conversation with someone who is trying to learn your native language, while they help you with your English, you can start your journey to fluency for free!
4. Language Travel (Full Immersion)
Every year thousands of students pack their bags, wave goodbye to their loved ones, and enrol in a language school in an English-speaking destination. At our English schools, we help students from over 120 different countries learn English every year.
It’s very clear why full immersion is widely accepted as the most effective language learning method. The idea is that when you are thrown into the deep end, learning the language becomes a matter of survival. You learn the English of ‘real life’.
Teachers are fully qualified native speakers of English, with experience teaching all sorts of levels and nationalities. Your classmates will come from all over the world, meaning you will have no choice but to use English to communicate and make friends. In your life outside the classroom – when you go shopping, sightseeing, or dining out – you’ll also have exposure to aspects of the language such as intonation, pronunciation and ‘non-verbal’ body language. All these are much easier to pick up on the street, no matter how good your teachers are!
Another advantage of going to a school in an English-speaking country is the unique cultural knowledge you will gain. Integration within a different country to your own makes you more open-minded and acceptable of people’s lifestyles, eating habits, religions and tastes!
Language travel is by far the most effective path towards effective learning, and EC offers all you need for the full immersion experience: mixed nationality classrooms, fully qualified teachers who are native speakers, varied and exciting activity programmes, and fantastic city centre locations so that you can soak up the highlights of your chosen destination and use English as soon as you step off our doorstep!
Do you want to know more about studying English abroad? Our FREE guide explains all you need to know about choosing a language school. Just download it below and discover why, how and where you should learn English.