Tips from a teacher on how to make the most of your part time English course
Have you signed up for an evening or weekend English course and want to know how to maximase your learning?
When you’ve made a commitment you certainly want to make ensure you make maximum progress in English. Here are some tips from an English language teacher on how to make the most of a part time English course.
Attend all lessons
and reasons why it is a good idea
My top tip for making the most of your part-time English course is simple: Attend all the lessons. It may be tempting to skip a lesson if you’re tired or if you have a lot on, but keep in mind that your course may only last for two or three months, while resting and socialising will always be possible later. It may also be tempting to miss a lesson if you are already familiar with the grammar or topic vocabulary that is coming up. But this is not a good reason to skip, because grammar and vocabulary are only part of what learning a language involves. The rest is skill-building. That is, most of what you do on an English course will involve improving your skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing.
Make friends with your class mates
Another good reason to turn up is that doing so makes it more likely that you will to get to know your classmates – which is another very effective way to get the most out of your course. Striking up an acquaintance with fellow learners may allow you to create a support system for learning English, not only helping each other to complete the course but also continuing to practice your English outside the classroom.
Do the homework
Teachers don’t care if you do your homework on the Tube or if you spill coffee on it. They probably won’t even notice. Nor does it matter if you can’t answer all the questions or if you think you got something wrong. If anything, the homework that you get wrong is probably the most important to your development. If, on the other hand, you want to extend the homework beyond just completing the exercises, it is worth thinking of questions about it that you can ask your teacher the following lesson. And in general, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. The more teachers know about your needs and interests, the more they can do to personalize the course.
Be an active participant in class
The biggest mistake students make is to assume that by signing up to an English course, they will necessarily improve their English. Students who don’t turn up, don’t do the homework and don’t participate in class generally don’t improve very much. By registering for an English course, you are not merely signing up for lessons in which you passively, automatically learn English. The course is not just the lessons, and the lessons themselves won’t be very effective unless you actively participate. It might be hard to get yourself to speak up at first, but the more you put your ideas forward in class, the easier it will get. Either way, teachers will be supportive and try to help you express yourself.
Try to speak English outside of class
Make an effort to chat to your flatmates, colleagues and other English-speaking acquaintances. This will particularly useful while the lessons are still fresh in your mind, as you’ll be more likely to practice whatever you learned in class.
Keep a record of new vocabulary
Some students keep a record of new vocabulary. A better idea is to keep a list of new expressions and collocations – that is, pairs of groups of words that are frequently used together. It is also worth getting a folder or binder for homework and any supplementary materials that you receive in class. This will help you keep track of your progress and return to anything that you later want to revise.
Do more than just the course work
Finally, when registering for a course and arranging your schedule, bare in mind that the few hours you spend in lessons each week do not comprise the whole course. Everything you do outside of class has the potential to contribute to your progress. Think of learning opportunities such as reading graded readers, watching films in English, listening to BBC Radio, finding online information in English and more.
Do you have more ideas on how to make the most of a part time English course? Please share with us your best methods! Write your comments below.
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