Language Schools – What Makes Them Good?

20 May

Learning a language in a school can be done in many different ways. Here I argue that personal attention is the most important aspect of any language schools ability to teach effectively.

What makes a good language school? The answer will shift from person to person and also vary between different languages, but there is one point that is most likely shared by almost every student of every language. That point is personalization. I will expand on why a personal approach is so important for a person trying to learn a new language, but first I want to quickly discuss how this statement fits in with what education really is. All things that we can sell pretty much falls into two categories: goods and services. The hallmark of excellence in both these categories is attention to details. How they differ is that attention to details in the manufacturing of goods means that everything produced is identical, where as for services, the category where education clearly belongs, attention to detail means that every experience is unique.

The importance of a personal approach is derived from the fact that people are individuals. Everyone has his or her own reasons for studying a language. The reasons range from every type of hobby to every type of job. But regardless of why you want to learn a new language there is always at least one reason that can be focused on. Even a person that does it “just for fun” anticipates a situation in which using the language will be most fun, that situation is that person’s reason, which too can be focused on. The reason that this type of focus is helpful is three fold.

The first reason to focus on personal topics is that relevance is the golden key to learning. A topic that a person finds interesting before even reading about it is always going to be much much much much much easier to commit to memory than a topic that is of no interest. Trying to turn on that light switch which makes a brain pay attention is the most important part of any teaching job, if you don’t succeed in this, you will never teach anyone anything. If a student is learning about a topic that is of special attention to them from the start, this hurdle is already circumvented and the learning experience is set on a rocket like trajectory from the second a student steps into the classroom.

The second reason is linked to the first reason. Relevance makes the process of learning a language much quicker, and when results are gained at a fast rate, it is much easier to stay motivated than if they come slowly. When they also come with less effort than through another way, keeping going on the same track is a walk in the park. Motivation does matter as learning a language takes a long time, there is no better aid than a fast results through personal content to keep motivated through the entire race.

The third reason is also linked to the first and second reasons. The first reason is that learning a language through personal content is quicker than learning it in another way (i.e. speed). The second reason links this fact with motivation (i.e. maintaining the speed in the long run). The third reason that focusing on personal content is by far the best way deals with the distance between your starting point and the finish line. If you are focused, and don’t go off into topics that matter zilch to your objectives you will be on the shortest route possible. Not only does personal content offer speed, it also offers the ability to make that speed work for you even after you get tired, and it makes your journey physically shorter to boot.

I can’t think of a better way to learn a language. When learning Mandarin, which is the language that I am most familiar with from a teachers point of view. The motivation issue is even greater than other languages. The road to proficiency can be rocky and people do falter at times. If you don’t have a reason to keep going, such as a clearly visible improvement, you are unlikely to get up and reach your destination.

Rui Ming works for a Mandarin Language School in China that is a great option for those that want to learn mandarin. See the program overview page for more information about learning Mandarin in China.


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