WHERE TO START
Learning a new language can be a daunting task particularly for adults. Usually an adult learner does not have as much time to learn and to practice the language as a child does. The many responsibilities they have also makes it difficult for many of the everyday learners to understand the language. This means that there is need for an innovate approach to be taken when the language is being learnt.
English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It plays a central part in careers, international diplomacy, and other international engagements. Instances of people studying English as a foreign language are on the rise all over the world.
Why Learn English?
There is a considerable number of countries in the world which offer language as a second language. This means that children in these countries study English as a part of the syllabus. As a result of this, English is the most commonly spoken language in the world.
A fifth of the entire world population can understand English. The beauty with this statistic is that these people are scattered all over the world, they are from all racial and ethnic persuasions in the world. This means that English is the easiest language to conduct business with. Wherever a person finds themselves in the world, they are likely to find somebody who understands the language. This makes English a very useful language to understand.
English as a language is the most common language used in international businesses such as aviation, tourism, computers etc. Having this in mind, it is important for a person engaged in these businesses in any place in the world to learn English. This is because studying the language expands their opportunities in their fields all over the world. Jobs such as freelancing continue to expand in scope. For the freelancers to take advantage of the opportunities available to them, they need to learn English since most of the jobs are in English. The language of communication with administrators is also English and it would be impossible to participate with them without having an understanding of the language.
Fifty-three countries in the world have English as their official language. This means that to transact any kind of business in these countries, a person needs to understand it. Travelling in these countries even for leisure is also much more fun if the traveler can understand the language. Due to its widespread adoption all over the world, more than 400 million people in the world have English as their first language. This is yet another pool of individuals who can unlock a world of opportunities to anyone who can understand and speak their language.
Why Learning English is Better than Learning Other Language
There are many languages that a person can learn all over the world. All these languages have varying levels of difficulty. English, as observed above is one of the more sought out languages. One of the advantages of learning English is that it based on a simple alphabet of 26 letters.
The letters are easy to remember and how the sounds form is also straight forward. When compared to other languages such as Mandarin, Arabic, Chinese and other delatinized languages, it is easier. It is even easier than other languages that are based on the same alphabet. This is because its system of nouns and verbs is different. For example, there is no male or female nouns for inanimate objects in English but these gender distinctions are there in French and Spanish which are the other most widespread languages that are based on the internet.
The other main reason why it is better to study English than to study other languages is because of availability of schools. As already mentioned, English is the official language in 53 countries in the world. This means that in these countries, a person can literally learn English anywhere. It could be in a formal school or in an informal setting.
In the informal setting, a person who wants to learn the language can get anyone who has been through formal education to teach them English. They may not learn the language as fast as they would have learnt if it was taught by a professional but they would learn it all the same. Even in countries where English is not the official language, it popularity means that there will always be opportunities to learn the language.
Language is an integral part of culture. Learning English means that the learner gets to learn more about the English culture. In learning this culture, the person gets an opportunity to have a deeper understanding of hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Understanding people is critical to doing business with them or engaging in any other activity with them. This is because when they have been understood, people tend to form bonds much more easily.
After a person, has made a decision to study English, the first step they must take is to identify the mode of study. English can be learned in an informal setting or in a formal setting. Informal setting is where a person looks for a teacher to teach them the language. The teacher may be trained or untrained. In both instances, the teacher is a private tutor.
Factor to Consider when Hiring a Private Tutor
A learner should make a point of ascertaining qualifications of a private tutor. Ideally, the tutor should have professional qualifications such as teacher training. If the tutor has these qualifications, they should be able to provide proof such as certificates. If on the other hand, the tutor is untrained, the student should ascertain their competence in the language. Owing the fact that they are just learning the language, ascertaining the tutor’s competence by themselves would be a challenge. They would need someone who is better versed with the language to evaluate the teacher on their behalf. It is noteworthy that evaluation for practical knowledge is important even when the teacher has all the necessary papers.
Learning how to teach and teaching are two different things. A teacher, especially a private tutor, must have a considerable level of experience. This is because private tutoring is quite different from the school setting. School setting is different because all teachers have a support system where they get help if they encounter difficulties in the course of work. A private tutor is usually all alone with the student. They need to have enough experience to anticipate the challenges that might arise in the course of instructing their students and also to develop the capacity to overcome them.
In this kind of an arrangement, experience and qualifications alone are not enough. This is because the whole process of teaching is a dynamic one. There are many other factors that influence whether the student understand the language or not. References from former students on competence and attitude are important. Previous students should be requested to provide information on the tutor’s people skills. Is the tutor able to develop good positive relationships? What is the character of the said tutor? Many of the private tutoring sessions are undertaken in the learner’s home. A person who is invited into such a private setting should be able to assure the client that their private will be respected and that their families and property will be safe. The only way to get such an assurance is from references from their previous students.
A tutor may tick all the above boxes but be too busy to keep the agreed time. It is necessary for the tutor to commit to be available during the agreed time at all times. Their availability ensures that the student covers the correct amount of ground during an agreed period of time. Tutors normally receive payment according to the amount of time they teach. This means that if the tutor is not punctual, the student ends up paying for nothing. The time the student themselves spend waiting is wasted.
Some adult learners feel apprehensive about asking questions. This is especially the case when they seem to be taking too long to understand a particular aspect of the study. Such students may be afraid of being considered incapable. It is for this reason that a private English tutor should be as approachable as possible. It should be possible for student to openly express their observations concerning the teacher’s approach and even offer suggestions without feeling bad about it.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an English School
There are other students who prefer going to a formal school where English is taught as a second language. Such people prefer schools due to cost considerations and there are still others who prefer having the experience of being in a school. For a student of that persuasion, the following are some of the factors to consider when selecting a school.
I. Teachers Qualifications
One of the main determinants of the success of a student is the quality of the teachers that teach them. It is imperative for a potential student to find out whether tutors in the school in which they want to enroll are qualified. If the teachers have the right qualifications, then that is a good school.
II. Class Size
The class should be small enough to allow for the students to get personalized attention. A large class may show that the school is popular but then it also reduces the possibility of the student getting the most from their classes. Before joining a school the student should make a point of identifying the average size of classes and the biggest class in the center.
III. Range of Classes Available
English learners have different levels of ability. There are some who have absolutely no knowledge of the language while there are others who have some knowledge upon which they want to polish. A student can be enrolled in a class only to realize that their level of ability is either higher or lower than other students. Such a scenario means that the student would need to move to a higher or lower class respectively. If they are not able to move that way, they are likely to waste their time in classes that are unsuitable to them or drop out altogether. In some instances, the need to change classes is necessitated by natural progress after a student has qualified at a certain level and they need to move on to the next.
IV. The School’s Methodology
Different schools use different teaching methods and the student should know which method is used in the particular school to which they want to enroll. Some schools use the Callan Method. This method is repetitive and it lays most of its emphasis on speaking. While this method is good to develop English speaking schools, some students may prefer to have a course that focusses more on writing and reading. It is for this reason that the methodology should be investigated and the decision informed by student preferences.
This is particularly important if the student is learning the course with the intention of seeking employment or visiting certain English speaking countries. Britain, for example, requires that the English course taken be approved by the British Council or the UK Border Agency. In the United States, certain visa categories may require students to pass the Test of English as a Foreign language.
Over and above private tutoring and English learning centers, a student can learn English from the internet. These opportunities have been made available by the growth of technology and innovation.
In this case, the student should consider some of the factors listed in the other methodologies above. These include methodology and range of class available. Online classes eliminate the need to bring a stranger in the house to be taught. This is because the lessons are delivered right to the learner’s living room or library. The range of classes is also good to check in an online class because student need to progress when they finish each level.
Conclusion: Over and above preventing strangers from getting into a learner’s house, online classes have many advantages. Some of these advantages include the fact that students are able to learn at their own convenience. A person may take their lesson for the day early in the morning before they start the day or late at night before they go to sleep. These two times are not suitable for tutors for conventional training centers. Online courses and websites also allows students to learn their own pace.