The present economic climate has caused a great deal of uncertainty in many different sectors or markets, and this in turn has lead people to become worried about job security and their future prospects. The English Language Course sector is no exception.
In order to have the greatest job security, or to have the best opportunities if you are looking for work, it is useful if you are able to speak English. English language courses are therefore suffering as a result of the recession and the fact that people have less spending power, or have priorities that take precedence over language courses, but at the same time they are enjoying the benefits of serving forward-looking people who are investing in their futures by signing up to English lessons and English Courses in order to increase their job prospects. It seems that every cloud does indeed have its silver lining.
What sort of English language course should you choose? This will depend on many factors, not least the current level of your English language skills. If you are a complete beginner there is little point in signing up for an intensive week-long immersion course because you will be completely lost and although you will benefit from the English lessons, you may not speak English outside of class and hence not benfit from your English language course as much as you should. On the other hand, if you already have a high standard of English language skills and simply want a ‘refresher’ English Course, then a week long immersion in the English language is probably the best thing, because one thing is learning a language. It is quite another thing to put your knowledge into practice in an English speaking country and continue to maintain the level that you have already attained.
Many people sign up for organised English language courses in which the student is provided with lessons and accommodation, but little else. An example could be staying with a family, but going to class every morning. This is fine if you are lucky enough to be housed with a family that will contribute towards your English learning experience by paying attention to you and speaking to you in English during your free time with them. I make a point of saying speaking to you in English because some families have been know to take advantage to learn your language and not worry about your progress in the English language. Fortunately, some families will also go out of their way to make the students’ stay with them as enjoyable as possible and will take them out on excursions, etc. However, this is not always the case, and all too often a student can find him or herself attending English classes in the morning and then having nothing to do for the rest of the day. In other words you do not continue practicing your English language skills. Another danger is that the students from one particular country will join forces and end up speaking in their own language, rather then speaking in English. Even if the students are conscientious enough to carry on speaking in English (after all the point of the exercise is to learn English and put it into practice), they may find that as they are only speaking English with their fellow students they are making mistakes and there is nobody on hand to correct them. This is when a native English speaker is vital and preferably an English teacher.
The ideal solution is to sign up to an intensive course in which you will be given the right number of classes with native-English speakers, in small groups and with other students that have the same level of English as yourself. After class, the students should not be abandoned or left to their own devices, but should be entertained or informed by means of activities or excursions, using their English language skills, in which the English teachers will continue to take part. This method will ensure that the students continue to learn English, even though they are not in a classroom situation. The teachers can be on hand to resolve any doubts and answer any queries, but also to correct any mistakes and, most importantly, to ensure that the students do not lapse into their own language and waste the time that they should be dedicating to studying the English language. Real-life situations with native speakers are an invaluable aid to both comprehension of the language (listening to different accents, for example) and to expression (speaking to the locals and putting your English language skills into practice). Ireland and the United Kingdom have a wide variety of accents and some do not even fully understand the English spoken in other parts of the country! It is very gratifying for students when they speak to a local person in English and find that that person not only understands the student’s spoken English, but responds in a positive manner. That is what it is all about, because at the end of the day, languages are for communication, and if you can communicate with someone in a language other than your own, you have a valuable asset that employers are always seeking, be they your current employers or potential employers. Given that English is the language of communication in the business world it is obviously the first choice of many language learners.
Job security is always going to be enhanced if the employee is equipped with the right technical skills for the job. A language and the ability to communicate are technical skills in themselves. A high level in the English language is one more technical skill that you can add to those that you have already acquired or, as we say in English “another string to your bow”.
By andyballard from Pixabay