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What to consider when choosing a language school...

Choosing a language school or course can be a tricky business, and there are lots of factors to consider.

Firstly: why do you want to study the language? Is it a new hobby, do you need it for work, would you like to get a qualification? Or are you hoping to meet new people or do you just want to use the language skills you already have?

If you need the language for work or you want to get a qualification, you'll need to go to a language school that prepares you for language exams such as GCSE, A level or the diplomas awarded by the French, Spanish or German Ministries of Education. These qualifications all follow a specification and have a final exam. The Ministry of Education exams are very useful as they have lots of different levels, are internationally recognised and are not as culture-based as GCSEs and A levels.

Many adult education centres will provide language courses either in the daytime or evening, usually from beginner level up to A level. These courses run term-time only and are payable per term upfront. The courses may be run face to face or online and there may be resources or books to buy too.

Languages for Fun and LivelyLanguages both run language courses for people who are looking to learn or practice a skill, meet new people in a sociable setting and to have fun whilst learning. Both provide materials, online and face to face sessions, and have an emphasis on speaking. LivelyLanguages offers separate grammar sessions whereas Languages for Fun combines both in one lesson. LivelyLanguages is also very happy to prepare people for the French or Spanish Ministry of Education Exams.

And for those who want to learn solo, there's Duolingo, which has proved to be an effective way to learn a language, particularly if it is practised alongside speaking sessions. There is both a free and a paying version. However, an alternative if you want individual attention is to employ a personal tutor who will tailor the lessons to your needs and can prepare you for exams.

So there you are; lots of choice and there should be something for everyone! Do get back to me if you have any question on any of the above. I've been involved to some degree in practically all of the options at one point or another!

Amicalement, bis bald, hasta pronto, Angela

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