So why are language schools so bad? The first thing you should remember –
1. THE BIGGER THE SCHOOL IS, THE LESS IT CARES ABOUT CLIENTS’ SATISFACTION
and more about its financial state. We could compare a language school to a big shop. Who cares that you do not like long queues at cash desks? Anyway you go there, because it is the only cheap shop near your house and you think everyone goes there.
2. SCHOOLS DESIGN THEIR PROGRAMMES TO MAKE THEM LONG
They say that you need more time to move to intermediate level. And you believe it is better safe than sorry. There are many ways they make believe you it takes at least five years to learn a language.
The school I went to when I was a child had more than 10 different levels. The table with levels was longer than my mother’s shopping list. Flyers, Movers, Lizards, Lions and ten others levels created a ladder. It would take ages to climb it to the top. Today you are a turtle, but in six months you will be proud of becoming a lizard and maybe in several years you will be called a lion if you have enough money to pay for all those unnecessary titles. Those titles feed your ego.
Basing on my experience with the most “trustworthy” language schools, I now know you need just several months to get to the heights your colleagues reach after several years. Remember that your progress depends on you, not on schools.
3. YOU SHOULD NOT ATTEND AN EXPENSIVE SCHOOL, BECAUSE EVERYONE THINKS IT IS COOL
I remember I went to one of the best international language schools, because I knew my friends had gone there. For a 14-year-old girl the school was posh, cool, prestigious and all that staff. How foolish I was! I did not know that time anything about marketing strategies and about human psychology. But now I realize you should not buy the stuff, because it is expensive. Things will be sold at high prices as long as people want to buy them. High price is not a guarantee for a high quality. If I looked for language school, I would check the reviews about the school that students have written on forums and later make a decision.
4. CERTIFICATE WON’T GIVE THE GREEN LIGHT TO PROMOTION
If I were to work in HR department at a big corpo, I would not pay attention to certificates that candidates attach to their CV. It is always better to check real knowledge. I’d ask: “Let’s switch to English, French, German!”
Another problem with certificates is their price. It is simple not affordable for some people. No matter who you are – a diligent and conscientious nerd or a lazy ass, you have to pay a lot for the certificate that is valid only for few years.
Have you started thinking of paying for expensive exams that will prove your language proficiency? Do you really need them? In my opinion, the best function it can perform is to be a substitute for the toilet paper in case you run out of it.
5. INTENSIVE COURSES ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE EFFECTIVE
Sitting in a classroom for four hours every day with short breaks will not help you learn quicker. Watching films for an hour is not a good strategy. Nevertheless, teacher stick to it, because they are lazy to talk or are so tired that they prefer to shut up and watch several series of House of Cards with students. I would not pay for such courses. Watching original film in foreign languages is very beneficial, but I can do it at home. If I pay for the course I expect teachers to show me something I can not learn on my own. Even though I criticize intensive courses here, I prefer to make intensive sessions when I learn languages. I think if the programme is well-designed, you can get a lot out of it. If not, an intensive programme where students talk and write on too broad topics and read things they will never apply in life is not worth money, time and effort.
The best way to measure your level is to feel confident while talking, having no mistakes while writing and getting the most pleasure out of your learning process. You actually need a little money to achieve all those things. You also need motivation that you can not buy. It is simple – you desire to become fluent should come out from inside.