A Number of Choices
In the last few years the number of private language schools in Belgrade has grown rapidly. These schools advertise courses of English, German, Italian and other foreign languages. In this sea of various institutions it is often very difficult to choose a school which integrates serious work, working atmosphere and acceptable price within itself. You will agree that the best thing to do is to follow a friend’s recommendation and enroll on a language course in a reliable, tried-out school. However, what can you do if there is no one who might make the recommendation? Language school is not difficult to find. We are surrounded by different advertisements, streets are full of leaflets, street posts are packed with glued posters…
In that situation the best thing is not to rush and get well informed before you reach your final decision. Here are a few useful tips.
Don’t be taken in by ads which promise you a miracle. Slogans like: „Learn English in two weeks“ is always suspicious. If you think it through, you will see learning like that is impossible. Language is a specific matter – you can learn it all your life and even then you cannot say you have learned it completely. It is unlikely that you will master one level of language in 2-3 weeks even if you study 10 hours a day.
Make sure the company offering language courses is registered for that kind of business. According to the new Serbian law registered companies usually have the name Studio for teaching foreign languages (in Serbian: „skola stranih jezika“, „studio za ucenje stranih jezika“).
It is very important which course books are used in language teaching. In our environment (Beograd, Serbia) the best results for learning and teaching English language occurred with New Headway, New English File (Oxford), Cutting Edge, Language to go (Longman) and some other programs. Of course, course books are constantly improving and, therefore, it is possible that, in time, other titles will earn their place in teaching English language.
Free Trial Classes
A potential school should provide you with at least one free test class. This way you can check the quality of teaching on the spot and the ability of the teacher to stimulate you to learn a foreign language.
The Atmosphere WILL Make a Difference
It appears that a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere enables students to learn a foreign language better and faster. Try to avoid schools which use private, cramped apartments as classrooms. A serious language school must have at least 5 genuine classrooms equipped with a big white/blackboard, CD player, TV and other teaching sources. Good idea for language schools is renting classrooms in elementary and high schools or other institutions of that kind. This will enable the school to get excellently equipped space for less money so that they can adjust their prices to the needs of future students. It is desirable to have a maximum of 10 students in classes because in that case all students get the necessary attention.
The cost of the course is relevant but not crucial. Many people think that the high price means good quality. However, it is often not the case. Today, among language schools, there is great competition so smaller schools are often forced to keep the prices low to attract potential clients. The quality of teaching is the same in small schools, if not even better than in some bigger ones. Basically, monthly cost should not be under 2,000 dinars and there is often no reason for it to be higher than 2,500 din. because well organized schools can do business successfully even with such low cost. You should check if the course book or a copy of teacher’s notes as well as a CD are included in the offer because the price of teaching material is not to be underestimated.
All things considered, choice is not at all easy. You can never truly say which language school is the best but there is always a school that is best for you in particular. Amongst all criteria mentioned above, a trivial thing, such as location, course hours or discounts for attending different language courses at the same time, can influence your decision.
There is always a good chance to make a bad choice. However, bare in mind that it is never too late to change your mind and try some other school. After all, private language schools are there for YOU.