The best study method for you
If you missed the first post in this series about the do's and don'ts of learning English, be sure to go and read it before you continue reading! Today's post is on the various study methods and their pros and cons. Thanks to technology, the Internet mostly, nowadays there are many different ways to study a language, and there's a perfect fit for everyone, no matter how much time you do or don't have.
Method 1: self study
The Internet is so full of information that it's often very tempting to decide to study alone, using all the free resources that can be found online, not to mention all the language learning Apps that are available as well! In my personal opinion, this is the slowest way to learn a language (for most people), mainly because you are missing the most important part - real communication. But this method does have its advantages as well, so check out the chart to see if this is the right method for you.
It can be as cheap or expensive as your wallet is comfortable with - you can rely on free resources or buy a self study course.
Even though some apps and courses allow for some "speaking", you probably won't be getting in much actual communication practice.
It's as flexible as you are - you can study when you have time.
It can be difficult to decide what materials are beneficial for your learning level.
You can study at your own rhythm - if you want to spend 1 month studying only the present simple, nobody can tell you not to.
You may lose motivation and focus because you have nobody to hold you accountable.
Method 2: group lessons
Group lessons are a fabulous way to learn English, particularly if you don't have extremely specific objectives and perhaps would rather not break the bank with your studies just yet. Group lessons are generally dynamic and fun, giving you the chance to meet and interact with new people, as well as being able to count on the support and help of a qualified teacher. Group lessons aren't for everyone though, so take a look at the list to see if they're right for you!
Whether you study with a private group or at a language school, group lessons are generally very affordable.
The more students in the group, the less actual speaking you will be able to do during the lesson.
You will meet new people and be able to practice your communication skills with your teacher and classmates.
If you don't understand a specific topic, you may have to do some extra work to keep up with the group's level.
You will be provided with materials more or less adapt to your level, saving you a lot of time and energy.
The topics will be more general, perhaps not specific to your language needs (for example, for your job).
Method 3: individual lessons
Individual lessons are of course the most expensive type of lessons, but this is because they offer many benefits that perhaps you wouldn't receive if you chose one of the first two methods. They don't have to drain your pocketbook though, thanks to the Internet, there are many ways to take advantage of some one on one attention, such as simple conversation with native language speakers (usually the most economic type of 1-1 lesson), self study courses with occasional 1-1 meetings with a tutor, and of course, for those willing to spend a bit extra, 1-1 lessons with a qualified language teacher. Take a look at the chart to see some extra benefits, as well as some downsides to this type of learning method.
If you have very specific objectives (for work, exams, etc.) this type of lesson will allow you to improve in less time than methods 1 and 2.
Individual lessons can be very pricy, so you must be sure that you are ready to commit to getting the most out of them that you possibly can.
You can study at your own rhythm, but with a personal tutor to answer all your questions and explain things as many times as you need, as well as hold you accountable!
Since you are your teacher's only student, you will need to stay focused for the entire length of the lesson - no falling asleep in class!
You will essentially be practicing your communication skills the entire time, allowing you to improve faster.
It can be very tiring speaking in a new language for an hour or more, so keep this in mind if you have a very busy or tiring lifestyle.
So there you go, a very reduced list of PROS and CONS on the three major study methods. If you have any doubts or questions, feel free to get in touch and I'll do my best to help you identify which method is for you! Everyone has a different way of learning, so a method which works great for one person might not be the best option for someone else. You have to find the method that works best for you, and stick with it!
pros and cons: advantages and disadvantages
tempting: adjective - something appealing or attractive (often used for things that are not good for you)
hold [someone] accountable: to motivate or help someone to reach their goals
break the bank: idiom for something that is very expensive
count on: phrasal verb - be able to trust or rely on someone/thing
affordable: adjective - something you can pay for without difficulty
drain [one's] pocketbook: idiom for something that is very expensive
downside: synonym for disadvantage
pricy: synonym for expensive
getting the most out of [something]: to take full advantage of something
stick with it: idiom to say - continue, don't quit