This section of the website covers study and training in the UK and online, but not study abroad.
For an overview of all our French courses - click here.
Advice on choosing courses
Language courses in England may be provided by schools, colleges, universities, adult education centres, private language schools, and other businesses. They vary considerably in quality and character. When selecting a language course ask about:
- language level (try to get a course that is just a little difficult for you)
- class size (6 to 12 is a size that seems to suit many people)
- hours per week
- total length of course
- facilties available e.g. satellite TV, listening lab', library ...
- qualifications of the teacher
- native speaker teacher or not
- percentage of time that the target language is used in class
- book or other materials used
- focus of the course e.g. travel, business, examination ...
Many modern courses use a communicative methodology, which means that you have ample time to use the language you have learned. You may be given authentic tasks and texts e.g. reading real timetables, listening to recorded train announcements, filling in real forms, buying train tickets & role-playing different situations... The focus during these courses is often on meaning, fluency and sucessfully performing tasks in the target language.
Traditional courses will focus more on grammar and give you more written exercises e.g. essays, summaries, translations and dictations, They may be of a more academic or literary character. The focus during these courses is often on pronunciation of particular sounds, manipulation of linguistic forms and accuracy. This type of course can sometimes build a suitable foundation for later communicative work.
Whatever the approach used during classes, it is important that you find a teacher that you can develop a good rapport with. In the end, this more or less comes down to trial and error. Try to sit in on a class, if you can (this is not always possible), before paying your registration fees for a long period. Everything may look fine on paper, but you might not like those aspects of the course that are not in the brochure: the atmosphere in class, the pace of the lessons, or the sense of humour of the teacher.
One additional idea:
Babbel - an online learning site with
11 languages to choose from, Babbel offers plenty of multimedia tools and different
learning methods to try. Its unique selling point is the way it tailors its
services to the individual user, saving your points and learning level between
each visit and collecting all the words and phrases you have learned in a personalised
user overview, allowing you to revise and revisit recent lessons as well as
measuring your progress.