Learning Another Language: An Investment Worth Making

When it comes to learning another language, there is a tired old joke that goes something like this: “What do you call a person who speaks three or more languages? A polyglot. What about someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. And one language? An Englishman.”

Now, there are a few caveats to that joke. The first is that, on the whole, Americans, Australians and other speakers of English as a first language are just as bad (or worse) than the English, only 40% of whom could hold a decent conversation in a second language.

The second is that all of these Anglo-Saxon nations have relatively large – and growing – populations of immigrants and foreign residents, so people are often exposed to other languages even if they don’t speak them. We know that big cities are different from the country at large, but around a quarter of Londoners do not have English as their mother tongue, the same as Melbourne, while in New York it’s almost 50%!

Third and most importantly, native speakers of English do not need to speak another language. It may sound arrogant to say so, but being born a native speaker of English is a truly exceptional piece of good luck. Although there are fewer than 400 million native speakers of English in the world, placing it behind Mandarin and Spanish, over 1.5 billion people are actively studying it as a second language. Look at any multinational organisation and you will see that their internal correspondence, meetings, transactions and negotiations are carried out in English.

E2Language offers skill-building English lessons like this one on our E2 Core Skills YouTube channel. These lessons are perfect for individuals with functional English who need to master the complexities of pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.

Learning another Language Opens Doors For Everyone.

The lack of linguistic diversity of English speakers is to be lamented, but it does leave the non-native speaking professional at a serious disadvantage. It is therefore worth spelling out some positive reasons for investing your time, money and effort into language learning, even though your English-speaking colleagues are too comfortable/lazy/incompetent to do the same themselves! Keep in mind, these reasons are also geared toward native English speakers. English monolinguals should seriously consider investing the time to learn a language, both for personal and professional gains. Here are three positive reasons why you should start learning another language today:

Learning another language makes you a more interesting person.

The more foreign languages you know, the broader your personal horizons. Reading, speaking, writing and listening in other languages can help you gain different perspectives on international events, maintain meaningful correspondence with people across the globe and exchange ideas with people from other countries and cultures.

Learning another Language

Learning another language helps to exercise your memory and stimulates your powers of reasoning and concentration.

Many English speakers live in a homogenous language bubble, while those who speak multiple languages are able to bypass the slapdash simplifications offered up by translation software.

Recruiters actively prefer to take on polyglots.

Learning a language means you become a highly valued professional on the job market and enables you to apply for a wider range of jobs and achieve higher positions when you get there. Surprisingly, recent research by Google showed that the number of non-English speaking 18 to 34 year-olds enrolled in language schools is relatively low. This would suggest that there will soon be a spike in demand on the job market for polyglots.

There you have it, there are some real advantages that come with learning a language, no matter who you are! In the words of Ludwig Wittgenstein, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” So get out there and start learning; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Do you want to improve your English language abilities for professional or personal purposes? We’re here to help!

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Ricardo Hilgenberg – National Director, E2Language Brazil

Colin David – Director of Business Development, E2Language

10 Tips to Make the Most of Online English Courses

Our in-house specialist gives his top tips for students taking distance-learning online English courses to avoid the most common pitfalls and achieve results faster by betting on the modality.

Year after year, the number of online courses offered by providers has been increasing exponentially, and established educational institutions are now muscling in on the market. The options are many: extension courses, undergraduate, MBAs, post-graduate specializations, corporate training and, of course, online English courses.

“It’s the future. Whoever’s not on board will be left behind,” says Ricardo Hilgenberg, Brazil’s National Director of E2Language, an online language school. He adds that, since it is a relatively new form of teaching and learning, the challenge is getting the students accustomed to this type of course. Students must adopt a new approach to online learning to achieve results, and Hilgenberg has identified ten important ways to do just that.

How to Optimize Your Learning With Online English Courses:

1. Remember, you will be in charge of your success

The profile of the average online course taker is very different from that of a traditional, classroom pupil. “In distance learning, it is easy to become a passive agent, so a change of mentality is needed,” Ricardo says.

When it comes to traditional, face-to-face corporate English courses, the student is used to receiving all of the content from the teacher. With the online version, a change of posture is required. All of the content is already there, so you need to be proactive and go out in search of the information you need.

One of the most important things for the online student is to understand that the person behind your success (or failure) and overall positive (or negative) outcomes is the learner himself. “The learner is the protagonist and has to take hold of the teaching reins,” says Hilgenberg.

2. Get to know the platform

A common mistake that hinders many distance learning students, leading to low rates of retention, is the lack of familiarity with the study platform. “Sometimes the person logs in and wants to start studying, but does not watch the video tutorial to understand how the tool works,” laments Ricardo.

Before you start your studies, invest some time and effort in exploring the platform. Understand all of the features it offers, watch the videos provided exactly for this purpose and learn how to navigate through all of its learning channels.

3. Organize an adequate study space

It is not worth lying in bed with a laptop to do you course just because you can. It would be equally inappropriate to think you could study well on the bus or in a busy café. Preparing a suitable learning environment to study for online English courses is absolutely key. This environment must be free of excessive noise and interruptions, including colleagues, spouses, children and pets. “Any kind of study deserves your full attention and concentration, so it’s important to set up a proper work space,” says Hilgenberg.

Online English Courses
Make sure you set aside time in a quiet environment with little or no distractions for your study!

4. Set achievable goals

As the central player in your distance learning course, you are responsible for dictating the pace of study. However, that does not mean you can speed things up to the point where you can finish six modules in a single month. Tempting though this may be, it is a trap to be avoided, especially in more automated online English courses.

“You end up associating the fact that you have the platform available at any time to the thought that the more you do, the faster it will end,” explains Hilgenberg.

Fair enough, you may finish the course early, but will you have absorbed all of the content? “Miracles rarely happen, and it is a mistake to assume they do. In the case of language learning, nobody achieves fluency in six months by gaming the system, “he says.

5. Maintain a routine

Organize your schedule to fit in a few hours of study per week. Make a schedule and stick to it. Time flexibility is a huge benefit of distance learning, but it can turn into a headache for the ill-disciplined student. “Just because it is online, that doesn’t mean you can leave it all to chance,” says Ricardo.

6. Keep in touch with the teacher / tutor

A human interface with the online platform is essential. Having ongoing, close contact with the teacher or tutor of the course means you will get the most appropriate guidance for your studies. Take advantage of this connection to ensure the best possible outcome from your online learning experience.

Online English Class
Just because it’s an online course, doesn’t mean you can’t have a great student-teacher relationship!

7. Clarify any doubts, ask any questions

Do not let the distance between you and the school make you shy. If you are in doubt about any aspect of your course, let the course provider know about it. “The mantra is that there is ‘no such thing as a stupid question’, so you have got nothing to lose by getting in touch,” says Ricardo. If the course provider seems less than happy to help, or makes it difficult to contact them, perhaps it is time to think about a new course provider.

8. Do not leave the side content aside

In addition to their main offerings, most online English courses allow you to access complementary activities and material. According to Ricardo, you should seize these opportunities and make time in your study routine to work on these resources. “This means that the student can maximize their results and increase their chance of achieving a positive outcome,” he says.

Speaking of complementary activities, E2Language provides free grammar, vocabulary & pronunciation videos like this one on our “Core English Skills” Youtube channel!

9. Avoid building a backlog

The unexpected can and will happen, and no student is immune from falling behind in their study schedule from time to time. Nevertheless, the quicker you deal with these ‘hiccups’ the better. “If the student keeps leaving work for later, he ends up with a mountain of work that either gets done in a desperate rush or never gets dealt with. Either way, these are not sound, pedagogical outcomes,” explains Ricardo.

Online English Courses
Don’t let the work pile up!

10. Do not limit yourself to the skills you favour

As much as you may want to, you cannot survive on meat alone: eventually you have to eat some fruit and veg. Your study schedule is a balanced diet for your learning skills, and you cannot leave anything aside. “There are four, equal strands to language learning: reading, writing, speaking and listening comprehension. All of them need to be developed properly or you risk the overall result,” warns Hilgenberg.

As is the case with any self-directed study, if you want to get the most out of your online English course, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to see results!

Do you have any tips for making the most of online English courses? Feel free to comment and let us know!

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Ricardo Hilgenberg – National Director, E2Language Brazil

Colin David – Director of Business Development, E2Language

IELTS and PTE Online Training: Why 1:1 tuition is the way to go

Have you heard about IELTS and PTE online training?

Do you remember Nancy (or maybe it was Ned)? That kid in the classroom who constantly distracted you from getting work done? Well, unfortunately even as a grown-up you might still find a nagging Nancy sitting in your classroom! She might be chatting or hogging the teacher’s attention while you are trying to do your work. Imagine you have your PTE or IELTS test in a few weeks and you NEED to prepare, but how on earth can you learn anything in such an environment? HOW you ask? Easy, 1:1 tuition and online learning!

What is 1:1 IELTS and PTE Online Tuition?

1:1 tuition is where a teacher gives a pupil intensive individual support. At E2Language.com, we offer 1:1 tuition when you sign up as a paid user. A tutorial is 40 minutes long. If you are having trouble with a concept, the tutor can spend more time explaining the concept in a way that you can understand.

PTE online
Our teachers give you their undivided attention and support!

Self-study – where do you learn best?

Some people can learn on a construction site, the sound doesn’t bother them, others need the silence of a library. Everyone is different. But one thing is for sure, having someone to guide and help you improve in your areas of weakness is going to help you get better results.

1:1 tuition allows you to break down material into discrete components, study systematically, manage your time, and develop the capacity for sound reasoning.

How is 1:1 IELTS and PTE online tuition better than being taught in a classroom?

In a classroom, one teacher may be faced with around thirty pupils, each with different abilities, different rates of learning, and individual strengths and weaknesses; yet despite this, for the majority of the lesson the teacher will be forced to treat his/her class as if it contained just one student, possibly called Nancy or Ned!

NOTE: An important thing to remember is that you are preparing for an English exam, which is not the same as learning general English.

Learning a language in a classroom definitely has its advantages, and is very effective, BUT you are technically preparing for a test. Sure, you will learn new language related content, but it is more about preparing for the test and becoming familiar with its structure as well as being confident in answering the questions correctly.

What is a study plan consultation?

Here at E2Language.com, we offer study plan consultations. Your tutor can develop a study plan to overcome your weaknesses. The tutor also helps to build an infrastructure for studying at home that best suits your own preferences for learning. During your study plan consultation, you will chat to your teacher for 15 minutes, and during this time you can also discuss past test results or your concerns and they will give you advice on how to achieve your goals.

The importance of feedback:

Feedback on performance, when effective, is widely considered to be integral to learning. People learn faster and more deeply if they know what the strengths and weaknesses of their performance are and most importantly, how to improve future performance.

“One of the most valuable contributions anyone can make to another person’s learning is constructive feedback. Whether as a student or as a teacher, each one of us has the capacity to provide useful information to other people, which will help them to learn more effectively” (Boud, 1991, p. 19).

PTE online
We provide expert detailed and personalised feedback to each of our students.

KEY benefits of 1:1 IELTS and PTE online tuition:

  • I know this may seem like a sales pitch, but in all honesty the difference between booking two verses five 1:1 tutorials could end up being the difference between getting a score of 70 versus 80. Is it really worth taking the test again? Or would it be better to invest now and avoid the disappointment of not achieving your needed score by a few points?
  • 1:1 tutoring keeps you focused and engaged in the lesson, allowing you to use your time more efficiently.
  • You will have the advantage of having your own personal teacher, with their lesson plans and strategies of teaching designed just for you!

Evidence that it works:

Tutoring works. Evidence from various continents down through the millennia confirms this fact. While tutoring Plato and other leading thinkers of his time, Socrates perfected the classical Greek model. In theory and in practice, tutoring has always played a central role in European and Asian education at primary, secondary, and university levels. In the UK, three recent evaluations of 1:1 tuition interventions found average impacts of between three and five months’ additional progress, suggesting that positive impacts can be successfully replicated in English schools. In addition, an intensive coaching program that involved 1:1 tuition had an average impact of five additional months’ progress.

Who will get you the results you need?

At the end of the day, it is up to you and how much effort you put into preparing for your exam. But with the additional support of your own private tutor, the chances of you achieving your goals are much higher. Remember, if it were not for the private tuition of Aristotle, Alexander the Great may have only become Alexander the Average.

 

Written by: Michelle Anderson