Chances are, if you are trying to learn a language like English, you have thought about taking formal lessons from a language school, or maybe you already have done so! Choosing a language school or a teacher can be a daunting task, because there are so many types of schools out there that all offer different teaching methods—and prices!
In order to choose the right language lessons, the first thing you need to do is: identify your needs!
Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to acquire a second language. Here are the most common reasons that people take English lessons. Which one do you identify with? :
For work: At your job you are (or will be) required to speak and understand English in meetings, give presentations and write emails in Engish or perhaps speak on the telephone; you need to know professional protocol and business language and expressions.
For personal reasons: You have family members or you are in a relationship with somone who speaks English, and you would like to communicate with them better. Or, perhaps you simply enjoy anglophone culture such as books and film.
For daily survival: You have moved (or will move) to live in an English-speaking country and you want to be fluent in the everyday language, which is heavy on vocabulary, pronunciation, common expressions and some cultural knowledge.
For holiday travel: You are a globetrotter who enjoys traveling, and you would benefit from knowing English to plan your trips and communicate with foreigners all over the world. This would include practical language, friendly expressions, much vocabulary and culture.
For your studies: You are in a high level academic program which requires you to have a certain level of English competence in a certain subject, such as engineering, medical, science, etc. You may need to pass a specific exam such as the TOEFL or the TOEIC, which are very heavy on grammar.
For children: You are a parent who wants your child(ren) to learn some basic English, or be tutored for their English class at school.
As you can see, these needs are quite varied, and each require different aspect of English. While some people need a lot of intensive grammar practice to pass an exam, other people just want to have friendly conversations, or improve their presentation skills. When you shop for a language teacher or school, you should always keep your personal needs in mind, and see if they correspond with what the teacher or school is offering. The prices of lessons often depend on the type of lessons you need!
Now that you have assessed your English lesson needs, lets look at some of the kinds of lessons that exist, and the different types of schools or teachers that you may have to choose from, and how much they might typically charge students for their services.
Which one do you think is best suited to your needs and your budget? :
Private individual or group lessons from an adult native speaker: Native speakers are the best people to learn a language from because they speak naturally and pronounce correctly, and many expats offer private lessons all over the world. These types of private lessons, whether as an individual or in a group, can be customized to suit your needs, based on the teacher’s abilities. For this reason you should choose your private teacher based on recommendations from others: anyone can provide private lessons, but the quality can vary, as each teacher may have his or her own level of knowledge and experience. Private lessons from native speakers usually cost between €20 and €40 / hour. Group rates may be less.
An English language school with different options and programs: There are businesses all over the world offering English lessons tailored to your needs. Most of them hire native speakers, and will offer a program that is based on your personal level, which is usually tested in advance. It is possible to have individual lessons or group lessons that focus on different aspects of English. These schools often specialize in training for academic English exams. In this type of school, you may pay a higher rate, but you are more likely to have an experienced English teacher who can really help you improve. If your work is paying for some of your lessons, many schools negotiate group rates with companies.
A business English school: In recent years, business English has been in high demand, and some places now offer specific business-focused English training. For example, coaching on giving presentations or speaking during conference calls could be a big part of the program. These schools are often more expensive than others, but if you have a specific business need for English, you are not likely to be disappointed with your training.
A language exchange group: In cities all over the world, language exchange groups exist for people who want to practice a language like English. This is often a free weekly activity that is done with a partner or a series of partners while sharing a coffee or tea. This can be a fun, economic way to learn conversation and improve your listening comprehension, pronunciation, and even pick up some cultural knowledge.
Children’s Day Camps: For children during school holidays, an English-language “immersion” day camp is a great way to learn or maintain English while having fun and making friends. Learning is more natural when it is done within a fun context, and this type of environment is great for that.
E-learning: If you are a very busy person or you are too shy to try speaking English to other people, an e-learning platform could be one solution for you. From the comfort of your home, you can use your computer you do English exercises, listening and speaking. The computer program can hear your mistakes and adjust your lesson’s difficulty based on your level. This could be a convenient and affordable option for many busy travelers who have a hard time attending weekly lessons, or for people who live in a place where English schools aren’t common.
Self teaching: It is always possible to learn English without taking lessons! Immersion, films, music, conversation, books, and going on holiday to another country are all great ways that we can pick up another language naturally. Yes you can!
Of course no matter how many lessons you pay for, the only way you will acheive results is by practicing English as much as possible—and that means every day! Ultimately, only the student is responsible for his or her improvement, but a great teacher can provide that student with relevant, useful material and exercises to help them along the way. Good luck!
Have you taken English lessons at a language school?
Did the lessons suit your needs? Were you happy with the results?
Which type of English lessons do you think is the most effective?
We love to read your comments!