On the Road

Language Schools

The hard truth is that the majority of language schools like to sell you the idea that they can teach you another tongue.  An entire industry and science revolves around the teaching of foreign languages and a thousand theories abound as to the easiest way to learn – but the truth is, it almost always comes down to time and effort.

People who join language schools con themselves by reasoning that if they part with the money then the lingual skills will follow. But attending a class twice a week, staring a whiteboard and hoping the teacher won’t ask you any hard questions won’t automatically make you learn another language. Unless you put the time in to actually trying to think, speak, listen and read in the language you won’t progress very far.

Language schools can be good for those who have little discipline and find it hard to organize themselves. It can be a good moral support to be with others who are also struggling with those damn prepositions, you can help each other out and, of course, language classes are a great place to get laid.

However, too many language schools exist on the basic that most students will pay to turn up and feel stupid for an hour a couple of times a week. Then they’ll scratch their heads, decide that they’re not cut out for this multilingual stuff anyway and buy themselves a Berlitz phrasebook to ask directions to the beach…

Private tutors are always an option, particularly if you’re at the level that you want to work on your spoken command of the language. A native speaker can help you with your accent, explain the questions that come up and give you the cool insights to the language usually lacking in the average dry textbook.

Just be warned that you can part with good cash to a private tutor once a week and yet still not learn if you don’t put the time in. Parting with money is never a substitute for sitting down and actually learning. Seems obvious, really but many people will do anything rather than face up to hard work.

But really, learning another language is a labour of love.