Academic Resources: Making the most of your language course

Learning a language is great, and the fact that you have started a course is for many people a breakthrough. To make it easier on yourself think about incorporating the following 10 steps into your routine, and you’ll be surprised how easy it all becomes.

1. Buy a notebook specifically for your class notes, and try to organize it so that you can see information easily, and can review the content of each class.

2. Try to attend every class. If you can’t attend a class, ask your teacher to send you some information about the class you missed by e-mail, including the homework, and do your best to complete it!

3. Speak to your teacher if you don’t understand something that’s going on. Once you get lost you mentally ‘give up’. Teachers are nice people, and will be happy to recap, either during the class or for 5 minutes before or after.

4. Reinforce your language learning as much as possible. Try to find a website which will give you extra practice. The BBC site is good for many of the mainstream languages. Newspapers often have listening parts, and even though you won’t understand everything it’ll really help you get you ‘ear’ for the language. Find a club or group which meets regularly, and join them so that you speak and listen to the target language in different situations.

5. Don’t get disheartened if you find your new language hard. Learning anything new is always hard when you start, but time and practice will work wonders.

6. Speak as much as possible in the target language while in class (and ask your fellow students and teacher to do the same). Repetition of words and expressions really helps them to become entrenched in the mind, and you’ll progress more quickly.

7. Review the grammar of your Mother Tongue. Knowing how your own language works will help you to find similarities in the target language, and this will speed up your progress.

8. Participate as much as possible during class. Even if you make mistakes it’s the perfect opportunity to practice what you have learnt, and the teacher will be able to correct you so that when you get out into the real world you will be able to use the language confidently and effectively.

9. Do your homework!! 2 hours of class time each week isn’t really enough to progress at a good pace, and each time you look at material in the target language you will absorb more. Homework is set to help you progress and practice areas that are important for you to progress. Usually teachers won’t set too much, and will go through it in class so that you can be sure that you are getting it all right. If you aren’t given enough homework by your teacher then ask for more, or try to find additional practice on the web, in magazines etc.

10. And finally – have fun! Language learning is an enjoyable experience, and in class you’ll do a variety of activities to ensure that not only are you learning new grammar and vocabulary, but you’re also having fun with language. Ask your teacher to teach expressions that you use in your own language, and use them when possible outside the class.

Cactus Language Training is one of the world’s leading providers of tailor-made language training, providing high quality training to companies, organisations and private individuals. We believe that the best way to learn a language is the way that best fits around you, and so we offer all forms of language training including 1:1, in-company, public group courses, full-immersion courses abroad, online courses, and language teacher training programmes; all of this is available in over 50 languages and 30 languages.

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