Let’s face it the best way to learn a new language is total emersion – I think we can all agree on that. The next best thing is an intensive language course, one where you spend maybe six to eight weeks learning in a small group with daily lessons from two to four hours. The next most effective learning method would be private 1:1 lessons, daily if possible (I found this to be extremely effective and had 1:1 lessons for 12 months).
Group lessons are a strong contender. Regular group lessons, the ones that group learners together according to their ability can be very effective. Exactly how effective depends heavily on how committed you are, but also how far along your language learning journey you are.
Beginner, improver or advanced learner?
Group learning tends to suit beginners and improvers as oppose to advanced learners. A group setting as a beginner is a great option – providing you chose the right course for you. Improvers are learners who have already learnt the basics, either independently or with a tutor, and are ready to go a bit deeper and develop their knowledge further. Learning in groups for this level is also a great option.
Advanced learners are probably more comfortable with independent tasks and 1:1 tutors as oppose to learning in a group. Seeking out specialized courses in a target language (like, ahem learning to scuba dive in their early twenties in Colombia) or taking an online Yoga course in Spanish) is a great way for advanced learners to continue their . The focus is still on Spanish, but developing your listening and comprehension skills more than learning verb conjugations 😉
So, how can you ensure you get the most out of your group learning experience?
Having clarity about what it is you want to achieve out of the group helps stay focused as does activities to put learnings into practice in between lessons. It’s not much use turning up for a 60 or 90 minute lesson each week then not looking at your notes until the following week – progress will be slow and you may feel as if you’re wasting your money.
The best way to get the most out of group learning is to use the lessons to practice what you are learning in between lessons. Prepare in advance and take good notes during the lesson.
Top Tip: Always focus on what you DO know as oppose to everything you don’t. It will help build your confidence and make learning more enjoyable 😉
If you’re interested in learning Spanish in a small group setting visit my website for details of the different courses I run throughout the year.
Love it or hate it? What’s your experience of learning a language in a group?