Paying for Classes

General discussion about learning languages
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kimchizzle
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Languages: English (N), French
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Re: Paying for Classes

Postby kimchizzle » Sun Aug 16, 2015 5:48 pm

I think paying for classes really depends on the teacher how well a student will suceed.

A lot of my French instruction was with paid classes in a college setting and the first year and a half I learned very little because the teacher would speak mostly in English and the students were able to ask questions in English. After that, I had teachers that taught mostly in French and students were asks to attempt asking questions in French the best they could, but it wasn't a strict requirement. I learned much more in those classes than the ones in English.

I learned the most though in intensive classes in France by teachers that were experienced specifically in working with students learning French as a foreign language. Every student had to take a placement test covering speaking, listening, reading and writing to match them in classes with other students of a similar level. Only French was allowed in the classroom, anc it was a firm requirement. All questions or things the student misubderstood had to be asked in French even if the student struggled to find the right words. Student participation was a big part of the class, with the teachers often asking students at random to explain a grammar concept or vocabulary word to the rest of the class to the best of their capabilities and the teacher correcting the student if needed.

Some things I took away about learning in a class or even with an online teacher.
A. A person learns much more when taught in the target language and required to use the target language to ask questions to the teacher.

B. A teacher trained and experienced in teaching students learning the target language as a second language can teach a student much more effectively than a teacher who is very knowledgable about the foreign language but not about teaching it.

C. A placement test that covers all areas of your target language capabilities is very helpful so that a teacher can assess where the student's difficulties are and create lessons to improve in those areas.
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vonPeterhof
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Re: Paying for Classes

Postby vonPeterhof » Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:02 am

Right now I'm taking Japanese classes in Japan, after having studied the language on my own for about five years without ever having visited the country. This is far from the first time I've taken language classes, but it's the first time I'm doing it entirely on my own dime, while Japanese was my first and by far the most successful attempt at self-learning (a year ago I passed the highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test). If all I needed out of Japanese was enjoying Japanese-language media and interacting with people who share my interests my current level would have been more or less enough for me. However, for quite some time I've wanted to apply my Japanese skills professionally. All my attempts in this direction have so far been unsuccessful. The first job interview I had almost entirely in Japanese showed me just how inadequate my active command of the business language actually was, while at another interview (entirely in English) I was told directly that, while my skills and work experience made for an attractive résumé, the fact that I had never lived in Japan made them wary of hiring me for a job requiring a good understanding of Japanese business culture.

So after I lost my job earlier this year I saw it as an opportunity both to do some serious study of business Japanese and to actually visit the country for a period much longer than a standard paid holiday would have allowed. I'm about halfway through the three month course and so far I think it's been great. Studying business terminology and standard expressions has worked much better with immediate feedback and challenging assignments. It also helps that I'm studying the main (non-elective) course with the most advanced group in the school, so some of the common problems of classroom language learning aren't as prominent - there are only five other students, three of them speak considerably better than I do, so there's little concern about mutually reinforced mistakes, and the teachers generally don't feel the need to simplify their speech. The elective courses are a bit more inclusive, but they do teach very important specific aspects of business Japanese. The complete lack of other Russian speakers at this school is also a major plus (native speakers of English and other European languages are also few and far between). I've obviously yet to see whether or not this course will really do anything for my employability, but so far I do feel like I'm making progress, while the opportunity to explore Japan is a pretty good bonus.
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