One of the most common comments from our students is that they want to talk more to the teacher, they do not seem to value time spent talking to other students in the same way – ‘how can I learn by talking to someone the same level as me?’ This is one of the perceptions that leads students to believe that small classes or one to one classes are the best options for their learning. However, whether you are learning English online or in a classroom working with other students is a really important aspect for developing your language skills – here are three reasons why:
1 – Learning a language is not like learning maths or history, knowledge (linguistic competence) is not enough. To be able to use a language you also need communicative competence, and this only comes with practice; practice in lots of different contexts with lots of different conversation partners – after all, you will not be speaking to only one person for the rest of your life.
2 – Language teachers are used to listening and interacting with students from all over the world. We are so used to interpreting what our students are saying that we often do it without thinking – when my student from West Java told me he was ‘going to piss in a fool’ – I knew without thinking he was going fishing – at the pool. Other students do not have the same experience and understanding of different accents and syntax. This means you have to work harder to understand and be understood – helping you to hone your communication skills.
3 – Unless you are planning to move to an English speaking country, the vast majority of conversations you will have In the real world will be with other people using English as a second language. The experience of learning to communicate with your classmates provides you invaluable experience for your future.
How can EC Virtual help you?
On EC Virtual, our online English course, we use structured collaboration tasks (carefully structured activities where you communicate with a partner) to provide you with the practice you need. Every lesson is followed by some time spent with a partner. The objective of this session and what success looks like is very clear.
You can choose what you want to focus on and you will learn to assess your own progress and give feedback to your partner.
In other words, not only will you get meaningful conversation practice, but you will also learn to be a better learner!
Our international classes also give you the opportunity to speak to people from other countries and languages – after all the people you are least likely you speak English with, are those that speak the same language as you!
So, the next time your teacher asks you to speak to a partner – remember, this is a valuable part of the learning process!