As a teacher, I have met hundreds of students who all seem to be saying the same thing: “I understand grammar well, can read and write...my listening is ok...but I can’t speak English!”
What this really means is that they have had more exposure to theory than practice. Getting the balance right between theory and practice is important and taking regular English conversation classes online with a native teacher can dramatically improve your fluency.
The vast majority of students around the world study English with a native speaker of their own language in a group environment at a school or university. As a rule, non-native English teachers prefer textbook based lessons in which conversation practice tends to take a backseat. Lessons like this are great for establishing a theoretical base – what we might call the foundation for your “English language house”. However, they are unlikely to provide the speech practice you need to break the language barrier and converse in a fluent and natural manner in English. Once you have learnt rudimentary vocabulary and grammar, it is time to start speaking – and the sooner, the better.
When you study in a group, the teacher’s attention is divided between all the members of the class. To cope with the high student-to-teacher ratio, conversation practice is often conducted in pairs or mini groups while the teacher moves around the classroom observing. This model means that even if the teacher is a British or American native speaker, the students spend most of the time conversing amongst themselves with minimal error correction or input from the tutor. In contrast, individual conversation classes provide more intense one-to-one interaction, in which the student receives 100% of the teacher’s attention. A great deal more can be accomplished in a shorter time when the teacher is focused entirely on the needs of just one student. Imagine learning to play tennis in a group and then opting to have your own personal trainer – see the difference?
Having your own “personal English trainer” might sound expensive but you can greatly reduce the cost of studying by taking an English speaking course online instead of face-to-face lessons. In large urban centres, native English teachers charge higher rates for individual classes because travel time is often involved. One-to-one lessons with a British or American teacher at a private language school will be even more expensive than going directly to the source because the price is marked up. Studying English online is 50-60% cheaper than both of these options and offers you greater flexibility and freedom of choice. Try it for yourself today by requesting a free trial lesson on our homepage!