The first foreign language I studied was French, in primary school, with a great teacher. Why was she great? Because she spoke to us in French throughout our lessons and insisted that we did too. She used French stories that were familiar to us in English, such as Les Trois Petit Cochons (Three Little Pigs). She read us fairy stories such as Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty from the wonderful Charles Perrault. Learning French was easy and fun.
Sadly, I was only at that school for a couple of years before my family moved to another part of the country and went to a new school. Those fun French lessons became very dull indeed. We used a grammar book that, as I recall, had no illustrations and concentrated on the parts of speech rather than learning to speak. For example, ‘What are the rules for the use pronouns ‘moi, toi, soi, lui, nous, vous, eux’. Yawn. My French went downhill after that and took many years to recover. If that was your experience then you might be surprised to learn that here at la Academia we make sure that all our language lessons are fun, interactive and relevant. We have some simple ‘rules’ for our students, because we believe that focusing on conversational, everyday language is crucial. I thought I should share a few with you:
Learn with other people. That means in and outside of the classroom. Look for opportunities to listen and speak your new language. You don’t need to go abroad. Get together with fellow students and hold a conversation evening. Join one of the many informal language MeetUp groups where you can eat, drink and speak with fellow language learners. Aim to spend at least some time of every day when you don’t speak anything other than your target language unless absolutely necessary. If you’re learning Mandarin you could take a trip to your local China Town’s supermarkets and cafes.
Put the effort in. Don’t rely only on your teacher. Our teachers are great – but don’t rely solely on them for your success. They can’t make you learn. You have to put in the time and effort to make it happen. We will help you, we will explain, we will encourage. But the rest is up to you.
Speak up. There’s no point waiting and hoping that one day you’ll suddenly be able to converse. Speak up, speak out in class and outside and don’t worry about not being fluent or if you’ve got the correct accent. We learn through doing – so get talking.
Ready to give it a go? Then quick – contact us now and let’s take those first steps to learning a language together.