Is it just you, or your learning environment? Here's why you're struggling with your language sessions
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Despite all these factors essential for successful learning of a second language, do you still struggle to achieve mastery? Individual lessons work well for many reasons, such as better flexibility in lesson timings, an allowance for more in-depth focus on choice topics, and more, but for many, studying in groups is actually better.
Think about the last time you faced a creative block or lost motivation at work – did it get better after consulting your fellow colleagues (trustworthy and sensible ones of course)? The point is: Working together in groups better facilitates learning, knowledge-gaining, communicative skills, and collaborative abilities. Students learn more when working in groups than they would working by themselves.
So, if you’ve been enrolled in a private language course for some time now, but are not seeing any substantial improvements in your language skills, that might be because you’re better suited to group learning.
Here are other reasons to keep in mind:
#1: You’re not helping yourself stay accountable by studying alone
It’s much easier to skip the gym if you go by yourself. In a similar vein, unless you’re highly motivated, the chances of you studying your second language is much lower.
Here’s where a buddy system or group setting helps. If you’ve made a pact with a friend or fellow student to study a language together, you are there to hold one another accountable.
Trust us – you don’t want to be that fella in the group who slows everyone down due to your negligence.
#2: You don’t get to celebrate accomplishments with peers
Your language-learning pals aren’t there to just force you to study – one of the most motivating effects of learning in a class is having peers who truly understand how hard you’re working.
There’s no better feeling than sharing major accomplishments like your first real conversation, that time you finally understand when and how to use a difficult verb, or when you write your first letter with no grammar mistakes!
#3: You’re not putting your language to use or learning to speak rapidly enough
Even if you’re extra enthusiastic about learning and don’t need to be held accountable or get a pat on the back every time you say ‘the cat chases the mouse’, learning on your own doesn’t give you much opportunity at all to speak a language.
Knowing how to write on paper is entirely different from speaking.
Speaking isn’t just about perfecting your pronunciation; it will help you get comfortable using the language at a more rapid speed, which is a crucial skill for talking to native speakers.
And what better place to learn than in a comfortable environment, where you can speak with terrible grammar and make ridiculous mistakes in pronunciation without fear of judgement?
#4: You’re not fueled by healthy, friendly competition
Another benefit to learning with peers is good ol’ friendly competition. While this can be demotivating for some and nerve-wrecking for others, the FOMO (fear of missing out) is a powerful and strong emotion - You wouldn’t want to be the one out of the group who gives up on the language, only to see how far ahead your friends have all progressed without you.
Of course, language learning certainly shouldn’t be a meaningless race. We should use the fire of health competition as the fire and gumption to improve ourselves, not get ahead of our friends.
#5: You can’t share the experience - It’s really a better one together
One of the most wholesome benefits of learning languages with others is that you’ll have peers to share the challenging and rewarding experience with. Watching a foreign language film by yourself? Not bad. Engaging in a debate with the language of choice? Now you’re talking.
What if you’re already in a group but still aren’t benefiting from your language lessons?
A study found that medical students who learned together in smaller groups were more likely to have better experiences during their clinical rotations than those in larger groups.
Obviously learning a new language is nothing compared to clinical rotations, but the fact remains that minimising classroom sizes means hiring and spending more on teachers. This is not something that every language school can afford to do – at Lingo, we have over 20 dedicated teachers who ensure all your needs are met.
If you find yourself in too large a group, you might want to consider enrolling yourself in a language session that does not comprise more than a small group of students, for the following reasons:
Students in small groups:
- Receive more individualised attention, encouragement, and overseeing
- Wait less to receive guidance, or have their work checked
- Have more opportunities to participate during group lessons
- Are more attentive to their classwork
Teachers of small groups:
- Are able to complete their lessons, and develop them more deeply
- Move through curricula faster, and provide additional enrichment activities
- Can manage their classes better
- Spend less time on discipline and more on learning
We are an MOE-registered school with highly qualified, native teachers.
Lingo School of Knowledge remains firm in our standards: Provide top-notch programs to our customers, set a consistently high standard of education, and help Singapore become a leading education hub in our part of the world.
- Hammar Chiriac E. (2014). Group work as an incentive for learning - students' experiences of group work. Frontiers in psychology, 5, 558. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00558
- Ofei-Dodoo, S., Goerl, K., & Moser, S. (2018). Exploring the Impact of Group Size on Medical Students' Perception of Learning and Professional Development During Clinical Rotations. Kansas journal of medicine, 11(3), 70–75.