11 things to look for when choosing an English course
Choosing an English course can be overwhelming.
Most of the free English material available online is of poor quality. Most of the time, it actually makes you even more confused and overwhelmed than before. This is very harmful for your learning process.
And so many English courses teach English the wrong way. You end up wasting time and money on useless language exercises that don’t bring results. Ultimately, you end up feeling more confused and lacking in confidence.
So how do you know which courses will provide you with the best value?
In this article, we will share 11 most important things to look for when choosing an English course. So without further ado, let’s start…
1. Qualified and experienced teachers
The quality of teachers is a VERY important component in any course! Bad teachers can be confusing. They lack the knowledge and skills needed to teach English in an effective way. This results in students losing confidence and motivation. In fact, the number one reason for students quitting English courses is because they don’t like their teacher. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we put teacher quality and credentials so high on the list.
Teaching a language is a specialised skill. Just because someone can speak a language does not mean they can teach it well! And just because a teacher is a native speaker doesn’t mean that they are a good teacher. Teaching a language requires knowledge of grammar and linguistics as well as communication strategies. After all, we learn a language for the purpose of communicating. And we need to learn the different modes of communication, encompassing writing, speaking, pronunciation, intonation and even body language.
Therefore, it is important that English teachers have a strong background in teaching with years of experience as well as a valid teaching qualification such as TESOL (Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages).
2. Student testimonials
Another good way to evaluate the quality of a language school is by checking out student reviews. After all, these reviews are given by students themselves who may offer important insights about a particular course which are not apparent on the course’s website or social media. And one of the best places to check for reviews is on Google. Just Google “course reviews….” and add the name of the course you are researching. Google asks reviewers to give 1-5 stars (5 stars being the best) and add a comment if they like. When looking at Google reviews, make sure to look at the average number of stars as well as the number of testimonials given. The higher the number of testimonials given, the more reliable the data is. Also pay attention to how a course responds to reviews. This can give you an insight into how interactive the course is.
3. Learning environment and facilities
Research has shown that a positive learning environment makes a huge difference to the learning outcome. The best learning takes place through interaction and collaboration. As such, a positive dynamic learning environment makes students feel welcome and encourages them to express themselves with confidence. Student centred classrooms reflect a student-centred approach to language teaching. It is important to pay attention to acoustics and natural light. In the right surroundings, students enjoy their lessons more. And when students enjoy their lessons, they learn better.
The same goes for learning online. It is crucial to create a positive learning environment online and this can be done by using the latest technology and interactive learning materials. We compared all of the different online learning platforms including Microsoft Teams, Google Meets and Zoom. And we discovered that Zoom has the best user interface, the clearest picture and the best internet connection. It is also important for teachers to have good lighting and a clear background, as well as the ability to present student-friendly material.
Finally, teachers play a crucial role in bringing about a positive learning environment. When you look back to your school days, no doubt you will remember being bored to death by boring teachers! But you also remember being inspired by great teachers. It is the great teachers that can create a positive learning environment. They know how to engage students and help them achieve their full potential. After all, engaged students are happy students.
4. Good customer service
Often your first experience with a course will be with the customer service. Your customer service experience is often a good indicator of the type of learning experience you will have. Good customer service staff will be responsive, engaged and accessible. They should also be knowledgeable about the type of courses on offer. After all, it is their job to help find a solution for your problems. Often the customer service gives you a picture about the whole organisation. If it is helpful, you will certainly get help to any problems you face in the future with your course.
5. Quality of materials
Student materials are an integral part of the learning experience. Student materials can include student books, exercise books, audio-visual content and technology-integrated materials. Well-written materials guide us along the right paths and making learning easy. Badly written materials guide us further into darkness and confusion. When looking for a good course, make sure that the materials used are from reputable publishers like Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Macmillan, and Pearson and Longman. Don’t choose courses that simply hand out sheets. This shows that the course is often disconnected and doesn’t follow a clear curriculum.
The methodology used by a school also has a big impact on the learning outcome of the student. When choosing a language course, make sure to choose a course that uses a communicative and interactive teaching methodology. The whole purpose of learning a language is to communicate with other people. So you want to make sure that the teaching methodology used in your lessons teaches you to communicate with confidence and fluency.
Good courses focus on activating your skills. Actually, many students already have very good passive English. Their reading is good because they had lots of practice reading English at school. Their listening is also good because they have listened to songs in English and watched films in English. It is activating their English that is difficult. A communicative methodology focuses on these weaknesses and gives you the practice you need to communicate in English with fluency and confidence.
Probably the first thing you will come across when searching for an English course is their website. The website shows you the culture of an organisation.
Design: Is the website well designed? Just by looking at the design, you can tell whether the course is focused on quality or not. What kind of people do you see on the website. These are the people you will be working with.
Clear information: Is the website easy to follow with clear information? Websites that are confusing can indicate that the whole organisation is disorganised. Are the courses easy to find? Is the information you are looking for clear?
About Us: Check out the About Us page to find out the history of the course and see who the people behind the organisation are. After all, these are the people you will be dealing with.
Authentic photos: Watch out for websites that use stock photos! After all, how do you know what they are really like? A website that uses authentic photos gives you a clear view into the organisation. You get to see the people, the place and the culture of the course you are looking at. These organisations are usually more trust-worthy.
Money-back guarantee: If a course is willing to give you a money-back guarantee, they must be very confident about their services! This is always a good sign!
8. Social media
Just like the website, the social media of a course can give you a view into the culture of an organisation. You can see whether they are fun, engaged, interactive or serious. You can tell whether they are focused on quality and student learning or just focused on advertising. This can be your window into the type of experience you will have if you sign up for a course.
Is it authentic? These days, many companies simply outsource their social media to advertising agents. It is always must better to choose courses that are authentic. They are usually much more trust-worthy. After all, you want to have a positive learning experience and it’s good to know the people you will be learning from.
9. Level assessment and progress tracking
Let’s get real here – how do you know you’re actually getting better at English if you can’t see your progress? This is where the real magic of level assessment and progress tracking comes into play. Imagine walking into a language course and they have no clue about your current English skills. That’s like shooting in the dark, right? Well, not with a solid assessment system!
First things first, a good English course should kick off with a thorough level assessment. It’s not just about figuring out if you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced. It’s about understanding the nitty-gritty of your language skills. Are you a wizard in grammar but shy away when it comes to speaking? Do you read like a pro but struggle to write even a simple email? A detailed assessment sorts all of this out from day one.
But wait, it gets better. Progress tracking is the secret sauce. You don’t want to be stuck in a learning loop, repeating the same level over and over. Effective courses use regular check-ins, tests, maybe even portfolios of your work to show you how far you’ve come. It’s like having a GPS for your learning journey – you always know where you are and how far you have to go to reach your English proficiency destination!
10. Flexibility and accessibility
Let’s face it, we’re not all living the same life, and our schedules are as unique as our fingerprints. That’s exactly why flexibility and accessibility in an English course aren’t just nice-to-haves; they’re absolute must-haves! We’re talking about real-world, practical learning that fits into your life, not the other way around.
You’ve got work, family, maybe even a side hustle. A rigid class schedule? That’s a no-go. The solution? Options, options, and more options. Evening classes, weekend workshops, or even lunchtime learning sessions – the best courses bend over backward to fit into your hectic life!
And let’s not forget the digital revolution – online learning. It’s not just a buzzword; it’s your ticket to learning English from literally anywhere!
So, don’t just settle for the run-of-the-mill. Look for that flexibility and accessibility that caters to your lifestyle, your needs, and your learning style. Because in this day and age, learning English should not be a one-size-fits-all deal. It should be as dynamic and adaptable as you are!
11. Recognition and accreditation
When you’re hunting for the right English course, you don’t just want any old program. You want the best of the best, right? That’s where accreditation comes in!
Look none other than our course! We have been given the thumbs-up by none other than Badan Akreditasi Nasional. That’s not just a pat on the back. It’s a seal of approval that says, “Hey, this course meets some seriously high standards.” It’s like choosing a restaurant that’s been Michelin-starred – you just know it’s going to be good!
Accreditation by a body like Badan Akreditasi Nasional isn’t handed out like free samples at a grocery store. It means the course has been put under a microscope, scrutinized for everything from the curriculum, teaching methods, to the qualifications of the faculty. So, rest assured that you’re going to get the best learning experience!
But why does this matter to you? Well, think of it as a safety net. It ensures you’re investing your time and money in a course that’s recognized, respected, and, most importantly, effective. In the world of English language learning, where options are as vast as the ocean, accreditation is your lighthouse, guiding you to a course that shines in quality and effectiveness.
We have discussed the main things you should look up for when looking for an English course!
Due your research before deciding on a course, look at their website, social media and be sure to check out Google reviews.
You can also ask your friends or relatives for advice on some of the good (or bad) courses they have attended.
The time you spend choosing the right course can definitely help you save time and money and guarantee a successful learning outcome.
At IELC, we teach English the right way
Our goal is to get you speaking in English with fluency and confidence as fast as possible. We want to give you the skills you need to fulfil your potential!
Our experienced teachers will guide you along every step of the learning process to ensure that you are not wasting your time, money, and energy on useless language exercises & wrong methods.
With our modern campus and technology, we are equipped to provide the best possible courses for children, teens, and adults, including:
We offer our classes in group classes or private classes.
No matter what your goals are, our team will help you achieve these goals by providing you with Indonesia’s best English courses!
Talk to our team today to get your FREE consultation and take your first step towards success.
IELC Academic Director