Our top 5 tips for ultimate success on your evening language course
1. Use a Vocab/Grammar Notebook (online or an old-fashioned paper one)
Get yourself a decent notebook in which you can list all new vocabulary, collocations and grammar structures. It’s important you have somewhere to record all the new information, where it can be easily accessed and where it is saved logically. Rather than recording new language alphabetically like a dictionary it’s much easier to recall words and expressions and find what you are looking for if you record the language by context or situation. Eg meeting new people, going to the cinema, describing a film etc
2. Listen in the language
Understanding what people are saying in the new language can often be more difficult than speaking it. In order to get those listening skills up to speed you need to listen to the new language as much as possible. Music, television, radio, films, podcasts, youtube, in the language all count as listening practise. So continue doing whatever it is you usually do – just do it in the language you are learning. A good tip to remember here is to try to listen without the subtitles. Just because you’ve read it and understood doesn’t mean you’ve listened to it and understood. Reading is easier than listening so forget the subtitles and concentrate on the ears. It’s also important to remember that often you will not understand every word, even when you have achieved a high level of proficiency there will be words you don’t know or just miss. A lot of understanding comes from ‘guessing the words from the context’ and being able to catch the key words and phrases that carry the meaning and message of the communication.
3. Go to all your lessons
It’s very normal to be very busy and sometimes there are events which cause people to miss a class. Sometimes the fear of being left behind means missing two classes which then turns into not finishing the course. Don’t let this be you! If you do have to miss a class your teacher can send you the activities for the lessons missed and also any homework. The teacher will also do a short recap at the beginning of the next class. If you know you have to miss a class then tell your teacher and find out what you need to do to catch up. In order to get the most out of your lessons and to make effective progress it’s extremely important you go to all your classes, every week.
4. Make friends with your classmates
You probably have enough friends already but these particular friends can be very useful – and you already have something in common, you are learning the same language. Making friends with the people in your class means that you can practise with them, even outside of the classroom. Cactus has a number of ‘cultural partners’ throughout the UK that give special discounts to our students. These include bars, restaurants, cinemas, wine tasting events, dancing events etc all related to a specific language. If you’re learning German then why not have a beer in a German bierkeller after class and invite your teacher? This is a great way to practise what you have learnt and talk about any questions you have. Your new friends might even be able to help you with that grammar query you’ve been thinking about.
5. Don’t worry about making mistakes
The key to language learning is making mistakes. You make a mistake, you learn from it. A truth spoken between language teachers is the following “if your students are not making mistakes then they are not learning anything new”. As adults we are programmed to try and not make mistakes. This can be particularly stressful in a classroom situation if you put pressure on yourself to always get the answer right, or not speak up in case you get it wrong. Don’t worry about any of that and just speak. This is the key to learning and progressing. You will not only learn from your errors but your classmates will also learn from your errors too.
Cactus language offers the following types of language courses:
Evening language courses: 19 different languages in 15 UK locations
Language holidays: worldwide immersion courses in the country of the language
Private tuition: tailor-made and corporate language training solutions throughout the world
TEFL: teacher training courses for both English and other languages all over the world
Online courses: for teacher training, English and French