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March 2019

Tips for Studying with Other Students

The benefits and pitfalls

Group study is an integral part of studying a new language when you’re enrolled in a course. It’s simply easier to find a language study partner when you’re already studying with other students.

There are, however, some issues involved. We’ll identity some today, while also examining how you can avoid the pitfalls.

Blind Leading the Blind

Perhaps the most obvious and most notable pitfall when it comes to studying with other students is that everyone is still learning. It’s sort of like the blind leading the blind, in that no one is really an expert.

Usually, one student will have a better grasp on some material than others, and this person can take the lead in guiding study sessions. But when it comes to grammatical questions and concerns no one can answer, students must be careful while seeking the solutions.

Establishing a good research routine is key when studying with other students. If there’s something you don’t know, look it up together and learn together. The best part about studying with other students is that you benefit from the answers to questions you didn’t even know you had, questions asked by others.

The trouble can come when students reach an incorrect conclusion about an issue, thereby teaching one another the wrong thing. This pitfall can become a great opportunity by simply declaring, “we don’t know”. Write down the issue so that you can ask a teacher or a knowledgeable native speaker in the future. Be sure to share the answer with everyone else after.

Reinforcing Bad Speech

Non-native speakers tend to speak with non-native accents, so students of a language speaking together will expose one another to non-native speech. This can be an issue if improper pronunciation is enforced.

Students studying together would need to really focus on proper pronunciation. Taking the time to work on details will work wonders further down the line, serving as a solid foundation for future study.

Comprehension Is Compromised

Listening to non-native speakers is often easier than listening to native speakers. Non-native speakers, especially language students, tend to speak more slowly while articulating each part of each word. Contrastingly, native speakers tend to speak relatively quickly and can often seemingly blend words together.

To improve comprehension, students studying together should include a listening resource to their study sessions. For example, an audio recording of a conversation between native speakers can be wonderful study material for students to work through and discuss. Students can listen to the audio together and talk about what is being said, while helping struggling students pick apart the dialogue.

Benefits of Group Study

Group study ultimately has more benefits than pitfalls, if only for the fact that it encourages studying. It’s far more fun to study with a group, and the support of others can motivate us into studying harder. And asking another student about issues is still better than having no one to ask. It all comes down to finding the right study partners, people who are as passionate about learning as you, students who are as willing to help as you can be.

Do you often study in a group? What are your experiences like and what are your tips? Let us know your results on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” telc English for more articles on language learning!