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September 2017

Tips for Fine-Tuning Your Studies

Personalise your path for more effective learning

Language learning can be a very personal experience, especially if one wants to learn effectively. We all each learn with different preferences. What works best for one student may not work at all for another. Discovering your learning personality is therefore important in personalising your language learning path. Some of these choices may not be known to new students, so it's a good idea to review them as early as possible.

Classroom vs. Private

Are you a student who learns better in a classroom environment, or do you prefer to study on your own with a private teacher? Both have their pluses and minuses. Classroom study offers the social element absent from private study. When other students ask questions, you'll learn from their curiosity. Of course, this might also hinder your learning process, because if you’re the type who learns faster than others, moving with a class might slow you down. To progress at your own pace, private instruction is the best. The downside to private instruction is the lack of a greater social element and the higher cost of having a private tutor.

Textbook vs. Immersion

Do you prefer to stick to the traditional methods of learning grammar rules from a textbook, or do you prefer the method of acquisition through immersion? Many students like to understand the rules of the language while learning it. Many less traditional methods, like Rosetta Stone and Duolingo, use a more natural approach to learning, arguing that memorising grammar rules can hinder learning progress, at least in the beginning. Those who prefer the latter choose to pick up grammar rules via usage and familiarity, much as a child knows how to use grammar without knowing what the specific rules entail. Which method you choose ultimately comes down to how much you value understanding the specific rules of grammar beyond just knowing how to use them. Of course, you could use both methods as well, however they are each designed to stand on their own.

Fact vs. Fiction

Reading novels is a wonderful way to learn a new language, however many authors use prose that may be too difficult or confusing for some students. Opting for non-fiction books may be a good solution. For example, history books are generally written in a straightforward manner, making them easier for some readers to consume. The added benefit of reading non-fiction is that you can learn more about your target language’s culture. Non-fiction may also facilitate rereads as well, as going over the info can help you memorise the facts. With novels, sometimes reading them again can be quite boring after the plot is known.

Day vs. Night

It's important to determine early on when is the best time for your daily studies. If you find your mind is freshest in the morning, it may be best to study then. Perhaps you have a lunch break at work that you’d like to fill with a bit of learning, or maybe the quiet of night, when all your other tasks are done, is the best time for you to engage with a clear mind. Determining your ideal time of study can help alleviate potentially frustrating study sessions that could arise if you had studied at an inconvenient moment.

What are your tips for personalising your studies? Let us know on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles on language learning.

Picture: (c) Fotolia, kasto