5 Things to Do, Bring and Remember During Your Language Classes
When trying to learn a language, one of the greatest tools at your disposal is group or individual classes. Smaller group sizes mean more attention from the teacher, while the ever-increasing presence of online classes means that it’s one of the most convenient and comprehensive ways to learn languages. Sounds perfect, right?
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Classes can be an incredibly useful resource, but only if you allow it to be. Like everything else with learning a language, part of how much you get out of tutoring is directly dependent on how much time, effort, and preparation you put it.
So, you’ve booked a session and are meeting with your trainer soon. What now? Make the most of your limited time with your trainer by doing, bringing and remembering the following five things:
Plan out a basic itinerary
Depending on the type of classes you’re searching for, your trainer may plan out lessons, activities or discussions for you. But, it’s always a good idea to come prepared whenever possible. Your preparation doesn’t have to be too extensive – even taking 10 minutes beforehand to generate a list of questions, sample topics or discussion points can provide your sessions with some basic direction. Classes and trainers vary in structure and professionalism – some are very rigid, while others take cues from the students – so being prepared for either style will enhance your session.
Do a little background work
Provided this isn’t your first-ever encounter with the language, consider completing some language exercises, read an article or two or listen to a quick podcast prior to your session, so that the language is fresh in your mind. Your trainer will want to get a sense of your language level fairly early on, so be prepared to be asked to speak or write during the session. By doing a little bit of background work, you can oil the mental cogs so that you’re ready to jump into your class right away.
Bring a language translator booklet
It’s important to have access to translation throughout your sessions, particularly if your trainer has limited skills in your language. There are numerous translation apps and websites out there if you prefer to use a phone, tablet or computer, but you can also purchase a pocket-sized language dictionary very inexpensively. Regardless of your preference, be sure to bring some form of translator to your session, just in case.
Bring a notepad and pen
While it may sound simple, you’d be surprised how many people forget to bring a notepad and pen to their online or in-person class! You should bring these things with you, since you may want to take notes, jot down new vocabulary words that you hear along the way (particularly colloquialisms) and write down interesting points of conversation. This also shows your trainer that you’re ready and eager to learn.
Remember that it may be awkward or difficult at first
Any new student-teacher relationship may take some time to blossom, especially if you’re meeting online. Understand that this is a common feeling with classes where, unlike in a classroom, you’re working more directly with your ‘teacher.’ Try not to get too discouraged by the awkwardness or difficulty of the first few sessions – just stick it out, and over time it will become more familiar, enjoyable and effective for your language growth. And, after all, that’s why you sought language classes in the first place!
What do you do to prepare for your classes? Please share with us in the comments!