What makes an English language lesson truly outstanding? Perhaps you have recently arrived in the United States and you are struggling with your English communication skills. Maybe you are in a large city like Boston and you rarely have a chance to practice your English and get feedback. Perhaps you have found an English class or private tutor to work with but you aren't sure about the quality of the lesson. How do you know if your English tutor is really giving you the highest quality instruction? In today's article, you will learn about 9 things to look for in your English lesson to find out if it is the right class for you.
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9 Elements of an Outstanding English Language Lesson:
1. Clear goals and objectives for each class: You are taking these lessons for a reason. You need results! The focus of your lesson should be on results. That means that the teacher should let you know at the beginning of each class, what result he or she wants to achieve during the class. If your class isn't focused on results, where will you end up?
2. A fun and motivating atmosphere: Is the class held in a location where you feel comfortable or does it remind you of your days in grade school? Are the lessons held at a time when you are able to put all of your energy into your learning? All of these aspects can contribute to or reduce your motivation.
3. A focus on student talking time: A good English language lesson allows for about 80% student talking time. The teacher should only be speaking 20% of the time or less. Your teacher should set up your conversation so that he or she elicits information and talking from you. You should be exhausted at the end of each lesson!
4. A clear link between the lesson and everyday life: Your lesson must be centered on everyday situations in your workplace and in your community. Your teacher should use customized role plays to make the language come alive and to center the learning on your needs. There should be a clear demonstration of how and when you can use your new skills outside of the classroom. This will help you stay motivated and excited about learning.
5. Immediate error correction: If you are taking private English language lessons, your errors should be corrected immediately. It is important not to make the same mistakes again and again.
6. Accountability and high expectations: While your English lesson doesn't have to include a written test, your progress should be measured in some way and you should be held accountable for the new material that you learn. Your English teacher might suggest documenting your English learning journey through video as a way to state your goals to reach a certain level by a certain time. This gives you the responsibility to practice and get better. Your teacher should expect a lot from you and you should expect a lot from yourself!
7. Integration of cultural knowledge and skills: Learning English is not about grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation unless you only plan to use your skills to write academic papers. You are learning English to be able to communicate. To really be successful with your English skills, you need to have a clear understanding of the cultural context. A more in-depth cross-cultural training may be helpful if you are interviewing in American culture or doing business in the US but your English teacher should at least introduce some aspects of US culture and how they are embedded in the language.
8. Inspiring and well-traveled teacher: How much do you think that you will progress if your teacher doesn't inspire you? Your teacher should have a dynamic style, an engaging personality and a positive tone. Your teacher should also have experience teaching and living abroad. Without having lived abroad and learned a new language, your teacher probably won't understand you and your situation on the most profound level.
9. Guidance and coaching for your language learning journey: Many classes give you the minimum. They teach you the grammar, the vocabulary and the phrases that you need to communicate. But do they guide you through the language learning process as well? Does the teacher offer advice on the best way to learn languages? Does he check in with you about your progress and your fears about English learning? Does he encourage you to take risks? Does he take a genuine interest in your progress?
Now that you know the nine elements of an outstanding English language lesson, you can evaluate the lessons you are currently taking. Are your lessons outstanding? Is something missing from your lessons? You are investing significant time, money and energy into learning the English language. You deserve the best possible instruction! Should you make a change?
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