Dec 19

Learning a Language for the New Year

There are many reasons why someone might decide to learn a language, and it is often to be found on the New Year’s resolution list. It could be that you love to travel and being able to speak the lingo would make the experience easier and more pleasurable. It might be that you’ve fallen in love with someone from another country and you want to be able to communicate with them in their native tongue as well as your own. You might be moving abroad yourself and don’t want to feel isolated and cut off from the rest of the community by your inability to communicate with the locals. Or it could simply be that learning a foreign language is on your bucket list and always something you have wanted to do.

Whatever your reasons, you might be wondering what the best way for you to get started is. There are many options out there for language learning – online courses, CDs for home or in the car, adult learning centres and private tutors – but finding what’s best for you is slightly trickier, as everyone learns differently.

Learn a Language with a Tutor

Learning with a private Spanish or French tutor, however, is often the preferred choice for busy adults wanting to learn a language. Many lack self-confidence and wouldn’t feel comfortable speaking the words and phrases they’ve learnt in front of a group of others who might judge them. With a private French tutor, however, there is no need to be embarrassed. What’s more, by learning in your own home, you’ll feel more at ease and relaxed. There should also be fewer distractions – provided you have organised your lesson at a suitable time – meaning that you can concentrate better, and hopefully learn at a faster speed.

Many students who decide to learn online or with audio CDs find that they struggle to know if they are making any progress. Learning a language involves the development of four skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Without a teacher there to correct you, your listening and reading skills may progress well, but you may find that you lack confidence when speaking or writing. For learners wanting the language for holidays or moving abroad, speaking is probably the most important skill to develop, but without the assistance of a qualified teacher, who knows what you could be saying!

Unlike children who all generally start off at the same point, adult learners come with mixed abilities and existing levels of learning. Even if you’ve never learnt formally, just by visiting the country or living with a foreigner, you will have picked up certain words and phrases and some adults will develop this knowledge quicker than others. This can make learning in a classroom situation frustrating, as the weaker students get left behind and the faster ones feel that they are wasting time. By learning one-to-one with a private tutor, it won’t matter what your level or ability is, the teacher will always adapt the lesson to your pace.