Skip to main content

To class (or not to class?)

Photo by Stephen Paris from Pexels

Taking a language class is an obvious decision when you are learning or improving your skills. For some it’s a social occasion - a great opportunity to chat with friends and acquaintances and have a bit of a laugh. For many with a busy schedule, it’s a guaranteed time slot where you can put everything else out of your mind and focus on studying. Let’s face it, only the very motivated and disciplined among us will dedicate free time to home study. Folding a basket of washing or reorganising a kitchen drawer suddenly become very appealing when the alternative is time with a language book! That hour of class each week may be the only time you dedicate to study, despite your very best intentions.

But attending a language class won’t make you learn, you need to participate effectively. Here are 3 tips to help you get the most out of your English class.

1. Speak (in the new language!)

Here’s something I’ve learnt: no one is waiting for you to fail. We’re interested in your contribution, not the number of mistakes you’ve made in a sentence. I know it can be scary, but nobody in the class is expecting your English to be perfect (otherwise, why are you there? Go spend your money on something else!). If this is the only hour in the whole week that you have a chance to practise speaking English, shouldn’t you use it?

2. Don’t wait for the teacher to give you something else to do

You had an extra hour this week and did some study at home. As a result, you finish an activity before the other members of class and shout, “Finished!” before crossing your arms and sitting back in your chair.

Instead of broadcasting your speed to the class, take a look over the activity. How do you know your answers are right? What are the grammar rules or clues in the text? Are there any words you didn’t understand? How many adjectives/adverbs can you find? Which words have the same pronunciation? These are all mini activities you can do to reinforce what you’ve learnt and help you identify what you don’t know.

3. Look beyond the English book

Some students treat the course book like a language god and focus more of their attention on its contents than anything else in class. (I have some news for you: the book was written by people and probably even contains errors. Gasp!) If you want to get even more from your lesson, focus on the language you hear between course book activities. If your teacher only speaks English in class, put the book aside and listen closely. What words and phrases are they using? Write down a couple of the useful ones or try repeating them in your head, and as always, ask when you don’t understand.

Article aid

  acquaintances = people you know, but who are not really friends (e.g. classmates)
  have a bit of a laugh = have a good time/enjoy yourself
  time slot = a specific time when something is scheduled to happen
  put something out of your mind = stop thinking about something (e.g. a worry)
  let’s face it = let’s be honest
  get the most out of = take advantage of/use something as much as possible
  take a look over = look at a text, but not read it in great detail
  gasp = the sound you make when you breathe in suddenly because you are shocked


Popular posts from this blog

How do you cook it?

It was some kind of radish. I knew one type of radish prior to that day. The radish I knew was a small, round or cylindrical, red vegetable cultivated by newbie gardeners everywhere because it's so easy to grow (apparently). This was not that kind of radish. This one was huge. Giant! I had no idea what I was going to do with it.  So, naturally, I bought it. But I was sure to get some how-to-use instructions first. No need to cook it at all it turns out (despite its ginormous size). Great with salads, I was told. And it was, but it lasted for weeks and there's only so many salads a person can eat. I do this often, I must point out. The buying unfamiliar veggies bit, though the salads bit, too, if I'm honest. It's one of the great things of moving country - finding 'weird' fruit and vegetables you haven't seen before. Weird really isn't the right word. There's nothing strange about them; I had simply never crossed paths with them during my (obviously s

A case for cartoons

"Willst du die suchen gehen, Leo?" I called out to the kitchen walls. Two seconds later a disembodied voice from the tablet echoed my question. "I'm getting good at this," I thought with a smug smile. While I was up to my elbows in greasy suds , my 15-month-old sat enjoying his cartoon at the kitchen table. Having seen, or at least heard, each episode three times, I wasn't surprised I could anticipate the next line. This screen time is completely justifiable , by the way. I play the German version, so, thanks to Covid-19, it is currently one of the only sources of German my son is exposed to regularly. Also it, you know, provides some much needed quiet time.  But there's more to cartoons than meets the eye . They've turned out to be a helpful little study aid for me . In fact, I believe cartoons aimed at very small children can be great learning tools for adult learners. Here's why: the sentences are short and uncomplicated, the meaning is gener

Damned if you do

I rang the bell and waited. Nothing. I was reminded of a similar situation about 2 years back when I'd arrived at an office and rung a small black bell which was connected to the company logo with a giant arrow. I rang it twice and eventually a woman appeared and told me there was no need to ring the bell, I should have just walked straight in ('someone should do something about that giant arrow then,' I remembered thinking at the time).  So here I was again. Waiting in front of another small black doorbell. 'Once bitten, twice shy', I thought to myself and I pushed the door open. Another door stood in front of me and a man was exiting. He held the door and I thanked him and walked in. It was a small office, barely enough room to swing a cat with two chairs in front of me and two more to my right beside a hatstand. On a table to the left stood the ubiquitous bottle of disinfectant. Covid. A woman appeared in front of me and I knew she worked there that way that you