When you’re starting to learn a language, you’re probably wondering whether to sign up for a language course or classes. And these things cost money so it’s an important decision to make.
One of the most common problems with language learning is forgetting. You spend months or years building some knowledge of a language, only to find a few years later that you’re unable to speak it very well. There’s a few ways you can deal with this. One is to simply accept that forgetting is a price paid as part of learning, with the silver lining that relearning tends to be faster. If you forget the language, you can brush up again with a shorter period of practice than originally.
Are language courses worth your money?
Language learners often jump at the idea of joining a language course because it seems like the ultimate solution to their language learning problems. But often, they don’t ask themselves whether the language course is actually worth their money. Or what it is exactly that they’re paying for. Or why they’re paying for that specific thing.
So, if you’re wondering whether a language course is worth it, I would encourage you to first ask yourself what you actually need.
Identifying your language learning needs:
Don’t start by browsing courses to see which one you like most. Start with your own needs. What is it that you’d like help with? What is it that you’d be willing to pay for? What is it that you wouldn’t be able to do on your own, or you’d find it hard to do on your own?
Exploring these questions will help you pin down your needs and then find the best tool to meet those needs. And that tool might indeed be a language course or class. But it might be something completely different (see my post about how to choose language learning resources).
Focusing on your needs will force you to think outside the box. And it might turn out that a course is not actually the right way to go. Or, if it is, you might find it easier to select the type of course that matches your specific needs.
So, start with your needs and then look for the right tool.
Your language needs: examples. Let me give you some examples of what I mean by language learning needs.You may decide, for example, that all you need is some speaking practice. If you’re really good at organizing and planning your learning, you know exactly how to learn grammar and vocabulary by yourself, then you might decide that speaking is the only thing you’re willing to pay for.
Well, in this case, a course would probably not be right for you. Instead, you may choose to pay a conversation partner or find a free language exchange partner. 1-1 tuition with a teacher could also be a good idea, as long as you focus specifically on speaking.
Compare it with this example:
You’re about to start learning a new language and you’ve never done it before. You have no idea how to learn a language or what resources to use. You don’t know how to learn grammar, where to start, and how to memorise things. You don’t know how to stay motivated or what type of activities you will enjoy.
In this case, you will probably need some kind of direction and a course could be a good solution for you.
One thing language classes can be really good for is getting real-time feedback. When you study by yourself, it can be difficult to know when you’re making mistakes.
So, for example, if you’re trying to practice your writing, you might be making mistakes that you don’t realize you’re making. When you’re in a class, though, you’ll be corrected there and then.
There are, of course, ways around it. You can find an exchange partner and share your writing with them, and get feedback that way. So, if feedback is important to you, I would encourage you to consider what types of things you’d like to get feedback on and then try to decide whether you’d rather get it from a course teacher or in another way. To Make this learning fun, you can contact Multhibhashi.