1. You get more resources and results for your money.
That’s right, despite the myth it’s actually more financially efficient to have a teacher than study on your own. There are flexible rates and times (they know you’re busy) for both one-to-one and group classes. Many teachers will give you free resources or tell you where the best free ones are, cutting costs already.Many packages you buy are almost as expensive as a teacher but not half as effective. The teacher can explain, answer questions and make sure you’re getting it right and progressing. She’s also more qualified to teach you, than you are (sorry!).
2. Don’t waste your own time! She’s already made the mistakes you’re going to.
Presumably your teacher speaks at least two languages. She’s been through the process before and can give you lots of tips on learning efficiently and what resources are out there. She knows what works and what doesn’t and even better than that, a qualified teacher can tailor the course to your individual learning style. Teachers can correct your mistakes; a friend learning with you cannot (or may be too polite!)
3. Motivation is the Key to Success
You know those days after work when you just want to collapse and couldn’t be bothered with grammar of verbs? Or you just “take a break for a while” (more like a month). Basically, if you really want to succeed in your studies, classes or homework from a teacher is a great way to make sure you don’t slack off. Revision is vital and a teacher makes sure this is covered. Classes have a social aspect too, so you meet new people and languages are made fun, not like doing chores. If you’re committed, you’re already headed for success!
4. Language is to communicate with others. Not a screen!
You can lie to yourself all you like, but I’m sure you know that if you’re studying a foreign language the best way to perfect your skills is through conversation and interaction (just like your first language). When it comes to pronunciation, voice recognition or text-to-speech software (a poor fake of the real thing) definitely won’t make your accent sound authentic (or even human!)
5. Because you’ve learnt the word for “photo frame” but not how to say “I’m from Dublin.”
Books, CDs and many online courses have a one-fit-all approach that is very frustrating. Tell your teacher what is relevant to your needs (most people don’t need to be fluent) so you can finally start speaking to people in your target language, whether it’s for business, travel or your relationship.
6. Don’t mortify yourself by using pop culture slang with someone you want to impress!
I’m all for “at-home immersion” with T.V, radio and magazines but your teacher is the best dictionary and judge of what is culturally correct in different circumstances. It’s great to be able to understand colloquial language, but this is not appropriate for many things in everyday life. In brief: you need a teacher to go with your immersion strategy.
Just don’t take this article as a condemnation of self-study – of course you can learn a lot by yourself and certainly you should try to do so in your free time. It is just a different perspective on the idea that a teacher is never necessary on the road to success. Language is not a solitary thing, it is about people and history and cultures. So why should we ignore this when learning a new one?
If you’d like more information on foreign language learning, translation services or language classes for you or your company please visit http://www.sandfordlanguages.ie
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