I have tried several ways of learning French: Self-study, a language school, on-line work and one-to-one classes. The ideal would be a mix of all four, but because of time or money we might be limited in our choices. I chose a mix of self-study and one-to-one classes. It has worked for me so far and I will explain why.
Private Language Tuition
For me, there are significant advantages to private language classes. You get maximum time with your teacher and there are no distractions from other classmates vying for their attention. You can choose to concentrate on areas of the language that you want to look at or that your teacher believes are right for you. This is of course difficult in a big class.
People mention to me that a big disadvantage is that I cannot interact with people of my language level. I think that this is hardly a disadvantage because speaking with somebody of a higher level pushes me to work harder.
Learning at Home
Self-study is more difficult and I rely on my teacher to give me homework and targets to complete. I think if you had no targets with self-study then you would have little direction. I know some people who are able to do it, but for me it is quite difficult withput having set goals.
The start of a new year means that people make resolutions, and many people resolve to learn a foreign language. Exactly how many people stick with this resolution is not known, but I imagine that it is a small percentage.
I have been quite successful in staying the course, partly because of the support of my wonderful French teacher Amandine but also because of these bits of advice which I would like to share with you.
HAVE SEVERAL SMALL TARGETS AND ONE MAIN TARGET
Your main goal might be to speak enough Portuguese to Brazil or to pass a language exam in English as a Second Language, but you need to set markers along the way to know that you are achieving. When I first started learning French, I set goals such as being able to order three courses in a French restaurant (a great reward too!) and being able to understand a small newspaper article.
IMMERSE YOURSELF FULLY IN THE LANGUAGE
In London, we have different pockets of the city where different languages can be heard all the time. In London, it is South Kensington. I spend time at the French bookshop and French cafes just listening to and speaking the language.
GET A PERSONAL LANGUAGE TEACHER
If you wish to progress quickly, you will need to get a language teacher. The best teacher:student relationship is a partnership. You set your training goals and your teacher provides direction and instruction. A great language teacher can help you with pronunciation, vocabulary, understanding and speaking. They can also help you to understand the culture of the country that you are learning about.
My goal for this year is to continue learning and improving my French. My last piece of advice to you is to not . procrastinate any longer: just go for it. Learn the language of your choice and stay the course. It is incredibly worthwhile.
Would you like to learn a second language? Unique Language Training Solutions can help you with structured, focused classes at your home or office. Contact us on 020 3566 0145, by e-mail or by filling out the form on this page.
Sally Eom works in HR for Unique Language Training Solutions. She has also been learning French with us for the past few months. We asked her to give her tips for staying motivated as a language learner.