Learning English is complicated. There are thousands of schools, online programs, apps and teachers. With so many choices for online English learning, how can you decide where to invest your time? This article will contain several tips for choosing the best way and the right coach for you to excel in English as quickly as possible.
First, you must define a realistic goal. I strongly encourage taking an exam to determine your level according to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). There are several free options available and only take about 30 minutes. Once determined, your search will be much easier.
Additionally, any school or teacher should offer an evaluation. I personally offer free verbal evaluations during a consultation because my courses focus on communication. Talking to me evaluates you more effectively than any written test. If required however, I might ask you to complete an additional written assessment depending on your goals.
Next, find your learning style. How do you learn best? Do you like homework? Do you prefer hands-on? Some learn best in groups, some in private classes. There are so many options and only you truly know what is best for you. I have found that most clients actually need a combination of classes in different styles. My focus is on “real life” English so I write nearly all my own material. I play games and include culture into all of our lessons because you won’t learn unless you are enjoying the lessons and learning useful, relevant information. My style is not ideal for learning to pass a test though, so I recommend online supplements and possibly specialized teachers if that’s your goal.
Once you’ve decided the types of classes you want, start interviewing teachers. A good teacher will listen more than they speak. They will ask you questions about your level and your goals. They will explain the program they suggest and why. They will not force you into contracts because they know the value will be clear once the sessions begin. Alternatively, if the value isn’t there, they will be happy to help you find a coach that better fits your needs. I know I will. I keep partners all over the world so that my clients always have the best chances at meeting their goals.
After you’ve chosen a teacher, decide together the best course of action for your success. Keep in mind that, like anything else, you will only get out of learning what you put into it. Be honest with yourself and your coach about how much time you are willing to invest because it may affect the design of your program. Not all programs are willing to customize, but some will. For example, I often offer a combination of private and group classes to save the clients both money and time.
In conclusion, know your starting point and your ending point; know yourself and your learning style; and know your time commitment. No matter the answers to these questions, you will meet your goals with the right team on your side. If you have questions or would like some help getting started, please feel free to contact me. If I am not the right fit, I will find someone who is.