Are you thinking about studying English?

It’s the international language. The language of business, and of the majority of the Internet. It’s the language you will need wherever you go in the world. But learning English is a real challenge, and you will need to commit time, money and determination to the task. If you do this, and are well taught by teachers who are as committed as you are, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t succeed.

A good teacher makes all the difference.

In the English-speaking world there are plenty of young men and women who speak the language well, and see an opportunity to use this asset to do some travelling, and to experience life abroad. They generally intend to return home after a while and start their “real” career. They are sometimes called “backpacker teachers”, and can be a menace,

You may think that, so long as your teachers are qualified to teach, they will be OK. You may be lucky. But good teachers don’t just know the language and how to teach it; they also know how to engage your interest in what they are teaching. They are prepared to put time and imagination into meeting your needs. They are committed to what they do. They should be as committed to teaching you as you are to learning.

Remember, motivation is the absolute key to successfully learning a foreign language. There is no trick or easy route to learning. Just hard work. And without real motivation you will not be able to keep up the hard work. It’s the same with teachers. If they are not truly motivated to help you learn, then you will not learn as well as you could.

Language schools in many countries have a problem. There are really not enough qualified, committed native English speakers to fill half the teaching positions open around the world. But there are lots of English-speaking men and women with teaching qualifications (some qualifications are better than others) travelling the world. So the schools use them. The schools also use lots of “local” teachers to supplement the scarce native English speakers. In fact these local teachers are often highly fluent, totally committed people who have actually gone through the process of learning English themselves are much more valuable than an uncommitted native speaker.

So how do you choose a school that will only use the best, committed people to teach you? Clearly their publicity and “image” are unreliable guides to how they will perform. This is the age of the Internet, and you are reading this on the Internet, so you probably rely on it as an aid to decision-making, but please don’t. There really is no other way to judge a school than by talking to one of its students. If you like the “look” of a school, ask around your friends for an opinion. If none of them know of it, then ask the school itself for a few names of students you can contact. Talk to the students about the enthusiasm, commitment and general empathy of their teachers. You’ll soon get a feel of how they operate. If the school won’t give you any contacts, then ask yourself why.

‘Aim for English’ will always give you contacts to call, and the chance of live on-line chat with their senior teachers, and will only ever employ teachers with genuine commitment.

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