How can I Find a Good Language School?
Learning a second language is no longer considered a luxury. In today's world, being able to communicate with other cultures has become a much sought-after skill by employers. But not matter why you choose to learn a second language, your first step is to find a good language school.
To find a good language school, start by searching the ones available locally and making a list of what each one has to offer. Request brochures if available, and only sit down to compare once you have all basic information in hand.
Here are some details to help you find a good language school:
- Credentials of the staff. Are the teachers certified? Do they have international experience in the language they teach? Have they lived abroad or are native speakers of the language? How long have they been teaching?
- Class size. A large class may limit the amount of attention you receive from the teacher. Look for groups not larger than six or eight students, depending on the length of the lesson.
- Teaching Resources. Besides the books you need to buy for the class, what else is available to students? If you find a good language school, you'll probably have access to technological resources such DVDs, tapes, and CD-ROMs. Many schools also have a small library where students can find books and magazines.
- Location. Try to find a good language school that is easily accessible to you. If you have to travel two hours back and forth a few times a week, you're likely to get discouraged rather quickly.
- Prices. It's becoming harder to find a good language school that is also affordable. Because of the large numbers of uncertified options out there, real schools are upping their charges. When doing research, consider the pros and cons of paying a higher fee. What does the price include? What is the refund policy? Are there discounts available? Are there any hidden charges, such as exam fees?
When doing your homework to find a good language school, remember your priorities. Some larger schools can offer you cultural resources besides lessons, but smaller schools usually have a better ratio of teacher/student. Keep in mind your goals when making a choice and don't forget to have fun learning.
When you are choosing a language school it's also important to find out what the main language of instruction will be.
A native speaker teacher may use only the second language throughout the class, which I think is great for children and young learners. It may not be so suitable for older people though.
@Valencia - I totally agree with your opinion. I have horrific memories of studying language in school. Endless drilling and meaningless lists of vocabulary were the weekly fare. No wonder we all hated that subject.
The slightest mistake was ridiculed, and I developed an intense dislike of any form of language lesson.
When my current company announced that they would pay most of the cost of a language course as a perk I decided to give it another go. I have the choice between two Spanish language schools and I had no idea what to look for when making a decision.
This article and the comments are an invaluable guide, and have helped me make a list of questions to ask when I visit them both next week.
@anon69959 - The absolutely best way to improve your language skills is to use them a lot. That means attending an English school or class where the teacher is trained in modern teaching methods.
Of course you should also try to speak, read, write and listen outside of the class time. However, having taken several language courses in Spanish I know from first hand experience that you don't learn much from an old fashioned teacher.
I want to be able to speak fluent and good english language.
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