English courses are a great way to improve your language skills. In order to get the best results you need to choose the right company that offers such services. Today we will try to find out how to find a really good language school and professional teachers.
Purpose of study
First of all, you should decide what you want to learn English for. Depending on this the choice of course type is made. Let us look at the most popular choices, which are offered by most organizations:
Classic courses. This type of classes allows you to gradually improve your knowledge and pay attention to every aspect of the foreign language. The teacher does not focus on the vocabulary, grammar or phonetics, and tries to equally develop students’ skills.
Conversational English Courses. Suitable for people who want to learn how to communicate fluently with the other party either live or on the phone. During the training the teacher focuses on the development of communication skills. A lot of time is spent on creating typical situations for students and listening to audio recordings. A good school will certainly offer you to speak to a native English speaker.
Specialized courses to prepare you for international exams. If you want to continue studying in another country or if you are thinking of moving, you absolutely have to take one of the tests: IELTS, TOEFL, CAE, GMAT, GRE, etc. Many language schools offer courses aimed at preparing students for a specific type of exam.
Business English courses. During the training the teacher introduces the rules of business etiquette, helps to enrich your vocabulary with appropriate terms, and teaches how to write correctly. Following a high-quality course you will be able to communicate fluently with foreign partners and maximize the success of your business.
Intensive English courses. These courses are intended for those who want to learn English in a short period of time. Lessons are 5-7 times a week. Also schools offer their students longer lessons.
Technical courses are for specific professions. Such classes allow students to learn terminology, which is used in medicine, journalism, law, etc.
English courses: teaching methods
The modern market of English language courses offers both traditional and alternative teaching methods. Let’s consider the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.
1. The classical or level method. Teaching is based on the principle of dividing the material into six levels (from Beginner to Advanced). This approach is considered the most effective, because a student can devote a sufficient amount of time to all aspects of the language. He would learn to express his thoughts fluently, speak without a significant accent, write correctly, and perceive the speech of interlocutor. As a rule, to pass one level requires from 3 to 9 months of hard work. Consequently, you can learn English practically from scratch in 2 to 2.5 years.
The length of time it takes to learn. Not suitable for people who want to learn the language in a short time.
Lack of a lot of language practice. As a rule you can start to speak English fluently only from the 3rd level (“Below average” – Pre-Intermediate), i.e. after some months.
Higher expenses. The longer the course is, the more you have to pay for studying.
2. the Unlevel method. This variant is worth to stop in the case if you do not have time for comprehensive study of English. Such methods are often called communicative. In the process of learning, your teacher will focus on developing your communication skills. At first, you will learn how to form sentences without errors, how to carry on a conversation with other course participants, and then you can even think in English. Another advantage of these classes is that they are much more interesting than traditional lessons.
It is simply impossible to learn the language thoroughly in a few months. You only learn how to support oral communication with foreigners.
Poor knowledge of grammar. For such a short period of time you can get acquainted only with the basic rules of English. This is not enough in order, for example, to pass international exams.
Limited vocabulary. Much depends on the level of English you come to the language school. Beginners will learn to communicate in English from the first lessons, but their vocabulary will be quite different from that of more advanced students.
How to choose the right English courses?
Once you have decided on the purpose and methods of training, you can start looking for a suitable language school. Once you have chosen several options, ask whether the organization offers free classes. Pay attention! A trial lesson is a lesson with a group of students who are already enrolled in the school of their choice. An open class is held exclusively for new students. You should give preference to the first option, which will help you reliably assess the quality of teaching and learning methods.
Requirements for Teachers
1. Availability of specialized higher education. Be sure to ask prospective teachers to show you a college degree in English. Many schools offer students the services of teachers who have not yet received a degree. Try to avoid such courses.
2. Having your own teaching methods. A good teacher devotes a fair amount of time to scholarly activities. A concerned teacher is sure to be the author of several books or manuals for learning English.
Use a variety of teaching methods. Find out which textbooks are used by a particular teacher. A competent professional gives preference to books written by foreign authors. One-sidedness in learning is not welcome: a wise teacher tries to take advantage of different methods and knows how to properly combine classical and modern approaches.
4. Availability of a lot of experience. Find out how many years the teacher has worked at the chosen school, what he did before. Parallel work at a good university is a big plus, which indicates the professional experience of the teacher.
5. The ability to properly present the material. After attending a free class, you will immediately understand whether this teacher is right for you. Pay attention to how he explains the rules, makes work on mistakes. It is important that he does it all competently and, at the same time, as simply and understandable as possible.
6. Friendly attitude towards the students. Only a pleasant atmosphere disposes to effective group lessons. A wise instructor will make you feel as free as possible in the new team.
Number of people in the group.
Optimal number of students who attend classes is from 4 to 8 people. In a small group you can perfectly develop your social skills. Also, many students note the emergence of additional motivation: they want to achieve results faster than others do.
If you are going to take an international exam, give preference to a mini group of up to 4 people. That way the teacher can devote enough time to each student.
What English courses should not be like
How not to make a mistake when choosing a language school and not to become a victim of fraud?
1. The first sign of a bad school is the lack of state registration of the organization.
2. The contract is alarming. You should be as careful as possible when signing the contract. Find out if you have the right to get your money back in case you have to stop classes unexpectedly.
3. After talking to people you know, you find out that they have never heard of this school. The Internet also has no information about this organization. It is not worth the risk: give preference to well-known schools that have existed for at least several years.
4. The teacher does not offer you to make a diagnosis of the level of knowledge. From the very beginning the teacher should understand what gaps in knowledge you have. It is unacceptable that in one group studied with people with completely different levels of proficiency. This can lead to problems and misunderstandings later on.
5. Fraudulent English courses will force you to pay for the whole time of your studies at once. Remember: good schools offer pay by the week or by the month. If you don’t like something, you will be able to finish your studies without a financial loss.
6. If you decide to study at a language school long enough, find out in advance if you might get a nasty surprise in the form of a teacher change in the next semester. The whole course should be taught by the same teacher you are used to. After all, it is quite possible that after a qualified specialist, an illiterate person without a diploma will come to your class.
It is easy enough to find a good English course. The main thing is to trust only verified recommendations and be very careful when signing an agreement. We wish you success!